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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Same question :), different circumstances :(.

Hi all

I've read quite a few posts with exactly the same title on this forum (and elsewhere) though still can't get to a conclusion on what to do in my situation. It's a little bit unusual, which makes it difficult fitting in common problem solutions.

I'm EU citizen (UK) and my wife not (Russian) and we are currently based in Paris, where my wife lives since 2001, first as student then, since last December, as my spouse. I worked in the UK and then Switzerland until last December when finally relocated fully to Paris. My wife, though permanently based in Paris was travelling to where I worked for short to long periods (2w to 6m). We are married for two years, in concubinage for 6-7 years (with a reference from Paris 10e arrondissement mairie) and live together for 17 years (as much as it possible, sometimes living between two countries). At the moment I'm on sort of sabbatical, trying to start my own business (in IT) and we live on our savings and partially my wife salary (she works only part-time in order to finish her PhD this year).

We have enough coal to run this way for few years, and we would, but recently she applied and got rejected her French citizenship application. The reason provided is that she is not fully integrated professionally as she works only part-time (and she can't otherwise as PhD is serious effort), but that's another story. We were very sure she gets French passport so didn't consider rejection seriously (all odds were in our favour) and now have to face the reality. And reality is that she needs to apply again for the 'titre de sejour' in December and we were told (by lawyer) that she may have problems with the application as I'm not formally working in France and on this basis it may be rejected. Now it's not very clear on how we can stay in France after December .

What do you think is best course of actions in this situation? What's the best visa to apply for? Or best focus with particular visa? We tried talking to lawyer (as I mentioned above) but that wasn't of much help, expensive and she can't even outline a simple plan on what to do. On a side note - do you know a good (and not too expensive, how contradictory it sounds) immigration lawyer in Paris who can help in this situation?

I've also found an EU rule Residence rights, non-EU spouses/children of EU nationals abroad on europe.eu site (well, can't post URLs here yet, as less than 4 posts) that after 5 years of staying lawfully in a EU country my spouse should automatically acquire the right of permanent residence, but it's not very clear on whether:
a) do we need to be married for 5 years?
b) if above 'yes' - is then concubinage treated as marriage in France or we need to be PACS'ed?
c) do I need to be a resident in France for 5 years?
d) do I need to work in France for 5 years?
e) do I need to work at all when applying, or I can live on my savings?

At some moment I'll anyway need to open a company here, in France, in order to formalize start-up and I can bring this forward and register it right now, if it helps in any way - being director of your own French company, though without real incoome yet.

Any thoughts and ideas are very welcomed
'Yury
 

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If your wife has been legally resident for 5 years in France, she should probably apply for a 5 year carte de séjour on her own merits, without reference to your citizenship or situation. In my experience, getting an attorney involved is taken as a red flag by some prefectures and can cause more problems than it resolves.

Carte de "résident de longue durée - CE" - Service-public.fr

Or she can simply ask at the prefecture what she would need to apply for the standard carte de séjour as the spouse of an EU national. Generally, you would have to prove your nationality and your resources, but that could be the easiest route of all. Just be sure to ask first to see what your particular prefecture wants to see for documents.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bev, many thanx for the quick answer! I quickly checked the link you provided and it seems like one has to be for 5 years on one of the visas from the list, and unfortunately my wife was 11 years on student visa and only last year on spouse visa. Not very clear whether one has to:
a) be lawfully 5 years on the "real" visa (worker, or dependent or else)
b) be lawfully 5 yeas on any visa (including student) but when apply for the next CDS posses the "real" visa (spouse one).

And if she applies as an EU spouse - then does it make any difference that I'm working on own business and don't have formal income yet (only savings)? For some reasons last December, when she got only 1y spouse visa (I thought she was entitled for 5y one, but anyway ...) she was told that next year they would reconsider the situation with my work here, in France and may end up with different decision (though they didn't mention which one).

the lawyer, like Pierre Soulages, painted really black picture, so my wife is really in panic now - if she doesn't get the visa that allows her to stay/work here it will be cutting off quite a chunk of her life flesh, at least at the moment. I don't really trust the attorney, but she's made the damage already. My wife can barely work on her PhD, mentally wandering around this issue.

`Yury
 

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Don't let the lawyer mess with your head. He's obviously lining up fees for himself.

I suspect you're right in that the student visa time "doesn't count" - but for the spouse of an EU national you technically just need to justify your "statut" in France and that she is your wife. If you are living from your savings, then you present it that way - prove your nationality, your residence in France, and your marriage to her, along with bank statements to show what you are living from. If you're in the process of setting up a business here in France, be ready to show whatever to have to document that. The requirements for the "spouse of an EU national" are considerably more relaxed than for a long-term carte de resident or nationality.

But go ask the question to the prefecture in all innocense well before you have a deadline staring you in the face.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bev, thank you very much for the answers and the support!

I suspect the lawyer is not very good and not very honest, just so difficult to convince my wife on that after she got poisoned already.

Have a great week-end
~Yury
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just a short note on the result of visiting prefecture, may be beneficial for someone later on - in short my wife got the 1y CDS, next year the story will be the same.

The guy over there was making a bit of a game like "well, there is a high risk your application will be rejected, blah-blah-blah", we said that's ok, we know our rights etc, he changed the tone a bit and said "oh well, you are not femme de ménage or plumber, so you would require us to provide a good reason for rejection. Then we give you 1y CDS". Literally. I was shocked a bit, wondering how many applications did they kill just like that.

Anyway, looks like there is no legitimate reason for them to reject the application, so if you are in the same situation - insist on your rights, making sure they see you know them well.

Bev, thanx a lot for your support, that was really helpful.
 
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