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Discussion Starter #1
Can anybody help with my situation.

I have lived in France for almost 3 years now, originally from England. I have recently got engaged to a Ukrainian girl and we are looking at the best ways for her to move to France with me.

I have a French company and have thought a long term work visa may work well initially but it is not ideal. We are both happy to get married if needed for the visa but the red tape and research on the net seems to show that France is one of the most difficult places to obtain a visa to live.

If anyone can point me in the right direction or if by any chance someone has been in the same situation as me, it would be good to hear from you.

Thanks in advance, Mike
 
G

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Hi Mike - welcome to the forum.

There are a couple of threads (at least) on this topic... I'll dig them out later. One is from the point of view of a Brit wanting to bring his Thai girlfriend into France, but on the strength of his common law relationship that he feels should be recognised in France. The other is one I started, with details about my own situation (a Brit, married to a Thai national, living in France). The second one is more appropriate to your situation, although we married before bringing my wife to France. I don't know if you intend marrying in the Ukraine?

Anyway, if you can give a few details - how long together, when and where you intend marrying - then I'll come back with more...
 
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Ok here are three related threads to read:

Long stay visas non-EU applicants married to French resident non-French EU citizens

My situation - ie Brit married to non-EU citizen before coming to France

What does the entry visa state, For non EU spouse

A Brit poster arguing his right to have his common-law relationship with a Thai recognised by the French authorities on an equal basis with marriage (he's not PACS'd).

Long stay visa language tests

On the new French law being introduced (sporadically) around the globe, whereby non-EU citizens marrying a French national having to undergo a French test before getting a visa. I only mention this thread in passing to draw attention to the fact that your spouse does not have to undergo this procedure as it doesn't apply to spouses of non-French EU nationals living in France.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't know if you intend marrying in the Ukraine?

Anyway, if you can give a few details - how long together, when and where you intend marrying - then I'll come back with more...
Hi Pete,

I am happy to Marry anywhere? Ukraine, France, Seychelles has also been mentioned.

We have been engaged for 5 months. I am currently living in Kiev until 23rd December.

Thanks for the quick reply Pete, so you are now settled in France? It seems there is so much red tape from my initial research.

Cheers, Mike
 
G

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Ok well you've got those three threads to browse through (linked above). Without knowing the personal details of your situation, I'll just add a few thoughts...

The authorities are 'suspicious' of certain countries, the Ukraine and Thailand amongst them! But if you are married in the Ukraine, if you have a home and a business in France, if you have the income to support your non-EU wife, then the process is relatively straightforward (even if it doesn't seem so at the outset). By far the best solution is to already be married when you make your application. There really is very little the French can do to make things difficult for you once this has happened - in some respects even less so than for a French national, in fact.

We were married in Bangkok in September just before I returned to France. My wife followed on early November, once the paperwork had been sorted.

Once married in the Ukraine, the official documentation needs translating into English and French. Into English, because the British consulate needs sight of it in order to issue an official document saying that they recognise the marriage under British law (because you are a British national). Then the sworn French translation of the original marriage document, and the British consulate's letter of acceptance, together constitute evidence of an acceptable marriage under EU law and therefore the French must accept these. These form part of the documents you provide to the French embassy in the Ukraine for the visa application.

Other paperwork - off the top of my head - includes proof of your residence in France (deeds, rental contract, EDF bill, whatever). But there's nothing that should present a problem to someone already established in France. Oh yes, if you (or your spouse) are previously divorced, this needs documenting (and translating) too.

The key difference (other than the lack of language tests for your spouse in your case) is that whereas the spouse of a French national applies for a long stay visa that will serve as a residence permit (recently introduced law in June of this year), your wife will only apply for a short stay Schengen visa. This may sound worrying, but it is not. You simply have three months after her arrival to regularise the situation by applying at the prefecture (if it's nearby), or if not at the local Mairie, for a long stay residence permit. I've found the Prefecture very helpful over this aspect. It hasn't arrived yet, but over the phone at least we've been told it'll either be a 5 year or a 10 year residence permit.

The prefecture application requires various sworn translations of the relevant stuff again (marriage document, birth certs, that sort of thing), plus evidence of residence, and some proof of income from the EU national. That's about it really...
 

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Frogblogger has given you all the relevant details. I can tell you from personal experience that going for the long-stay work visa does not fly. As her potential employer, you are expected to try to employ someone already in France legally and would have to justify hiring a foreigner over all the out of work French and EU nationals. They are currently cracking down on this aspect of immigration, so the chances of your getting hiring permission are pretty slim.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Frogblogger has given you all the relevant details. I can tell you from personal experience that going for the long-stay work visa does not fly. As her potential employer, you are expected to try to employ someone already in France legally and would have to justify hiring a foreigner over all the out of work French and EU nationals. They are currently cracking down on this aspect of immigration, so the chances of your getting hiring permission are pretty slim.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks Bev, I appreciate your help
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi again,

Just a quick update and question, wondering if anyone has any advice.

I am now married to my Ukrainian wife and we have Ukrainian marriage certificate and my wifes new international passport with new surname etc.

I have been speaking to the french embassy hear in Ukraine and they are insisting that I need an EU marriage cerificate from the UK to allow my wife to travel back with me.

I have spoken to the UK embassy hear in Ukraine and they say they do not give these documents, I even rang the register of marriages office in UK and they said that the french should know by now that we do not issue these documents for foriegn marriages....

SO... I am not sure which way to turn now.

Can anyone tell me what to do or say? UK say NO, France say NO without EU marriage certificate.

HELP!!!!
 
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I don't know about an EU marriage certificate, I think what they probably want is the following. In our case the French Embassy in Thailand required a document from the British Consulate (as I am a British citizen) that confirmed our marriage was recognised under British law. The Consulate knew all about this as it is a standard request, and they issued the document the same day (for an extortionate fee of course). It read as follows:

British Consulate
Chiang Mai

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Marriage in Thailand


I can confirm that a civil marriage that takes place in Thailand, and is valid under Thai law, would normally be recognised as valid under British Law.

I have seen the marriage certificate of Mr XXXX XXXX and Mrs XXXX XXXX, who were married in Chiang Mai on 11th September 2009. I am satisfied that if this marriage is valid under Thai Law (and I have no reason to suggest that it is not), that the marriage would also be recognised under UK Law.

Signed

Mrs Panita Inhasan
Vice Consul
And the French Embassy was perfectly happy with the above, the visa arrived shortly after this document had been lodged along with the other papers.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't know about an EU marriage certificate, I think what they probably want is the following. In our case the French Embassy in Thailand required a document from the British Consulate (as I am a British citizen) that confirmed our marriage was recognised under British law. The Consulate knew all about this as it is a standard request, and they issued the document the same day (for an extortionate fee of course). It read as follows:



And the French Embassy was perfectly happy with the above, the visa arrived shortly after this document had been lodged along with the other papers.
Thanks for the reply. That makes more sense to me.

The thing is, I have had numerous calls with the UK conulate here in Kiev and they say they don't supply anything like this? Would you recommend calling them again and asking for appoinment with consul as I am currently speaking with Ukrainian frontline telephone staff at the consulate.

If they continue to say we do not give these documents have you any idea who I should turn too next?

Thanks again, Mike
 
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Well I seriously doubt that the French would issue an 'EU marriage certificate', were you a French citizen wanting to move back to the UK with your Ukranian wife. Sounds to me that the staff are either being difficult, or haven't a clue, or both. Only an official letter as described is possible, as far as I know.

PM me your email, and I'll send you a pdf copy of the actual document the British Consulate in Chiang Mai issued for me, if you like. You could use it as an example. British consulates are supposed to operate under the same rules and regulations.

As the French Embassy in Bangkok explained it to me, they need this simply because you are a Brit, and only the British authorities can confirm whether or no the UK accepts your marriage abroad as valid. It's just another obstacle really - the Thais at the French Embassy were perfectly capable of checking whether the Thai marriage certificate was valid or not, and each country knows perfectly well that fellow EU nations recognise civil marriages carried out abroad. It's just more red tape in a pretty transparent attempt to slow down the flow of immigrants.
 
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