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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does the Carte de Séjour not exist anymore? I've been reading on the consulate website, and it seems that I, as the wife of a French citizen, need to get a long stay visa before showing up in France. Does anyone know anything about this? We're going to move there, leaving here on June 7, and I don't have this visa. Worrying...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I guess that sounds pretty silly. I've been researching on the Internet, and of course the Carte de Séjour still exists, but what I didn't know (and what changed in 2009 apparently) is that you have to have a visa long séjour before arriving in France. The only thing is that I'll have to go to the consulate in Chicago to apply for this visa, and I don't have all of the necessary documents. It's not so easy to talk to someone at the consulate. The website says it will take about 21 days to get this visa, but I'm leaving in 24 days... Does anyone have some advice?
 

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If you really can't manage to apply for your spouse visa before your departure, about the only thing you can do is to plan a trip back to the US before your 90 day Schengen visa runs out.

You absolutely need to have all the documents (especially the livret de famille - which can take some time to get through the consulate).

Though the requirements for the spouse visa have changed a bit in the last few years, it has always been required for the spouse of a French national to have a spouse visa (i.e. a long-term visa) to come to France and live. (How well I know - as that was the source of my immigration problems back in 1995!)

Start working on getting the livret de famille before you leave the US. That's really the key document you need. When you get it, you can then make a run back to the US to apply for the proper visa.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your reply. We have the livret de famille, and I would gladly make a run to Chicago this week to turn in my application for the visa, but there's a document that we need, that we don't have. We need our transcription de l'acte de mariage (my husband is French), and it has to be one that has been issued within the last two months. Also, I need a copy of my husband's birth certificate. Not a problem, but it has to have been issued within the last three months. The one we have was issued early February. i really wish I could manage to get this done before leaving, but I don't know if it's possible. Is it really not possible to do this from France, I mean if I show up without the proper visa?
 

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You have no choice but to apply for a spouse visa, which can only be done in your home country, they can't grant visas in France. The transcription d'acte de mariage is not a document in itself - if you got married in the US, it means that you had to 'transcribe' the marriage - after which you receive your Livret de Famille and French marriage certificate. Seeing that you have your Livret de Famille, your French marriage certificate must exist.

In order to be sent your French marriage certificate and your husband's birth certificate, you can order them online here:
https://pastel.diplomatie.gouv.fr/Dali/index2.html
They shouldn't take more than a month to arrive and it's free. We've used the system twice before and the documents arrived in 3 weeks.

A carte de sejour is just a residency permit that you need to remain legally in France after your first year there (the spouse visa will be 'validated' when you enter France - you go through a process at the OFII - and just before your visa is about to 'expire', you will apply for your first carte de sejour).
 

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Like Sarah says, you cannot get any sort of visa from within France. It is possible to change your status from one long-term carte de séjour to a spousal one - but only if you were originally in France on a long-stay visa (like for work or study).

The fact that you have the livret de famille means that your marriage has already been transcribed. I believe what you actually need is the birth certificate for your husband - where the fact of your marriage will be noted in the margin. This is the document they are looking for. It's only in the case of transactions having to do with marriage that you have to have a document dated within the last three months anymore. (Though some offices "haven't gotten the memo yet" and sometimes ask for a current document.) But a spouse visa pretty clearly involves marriage, so you're kind of stuck.

Be careful, too, because most French consulates these days require an appointment in order to apply for a visa, and in some places, appointments take a while to get.

What I'd do in your situation if you can swing it (financially, primarily) - is to go to France and request your husband's birth certificate as soon as you arrive. (It should only take a week or two to arrive within France.) Then, book yourself an appointment online at the Chicago consulate and book flights back to the US for a couple weeks of "vacation" so you can attend the appointment and get your visa in your passport. (That process should only take a few days to maybe a week or so.) Return to France, get your visa stamped, go through all the OFII stuff and you're all set.

Alternatively, you'll need to postpone your departure for France until you have the birth certificate noting the marriage. (Hadn't heard before of the French marriage certificate, but that should be no more difficult to obtain than the current birth certificate.) Your husband can go on ahead of you if need be, but the only way to avoid making a quickie trip back to the US is to wait until you have all the proper documents in hand.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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