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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Update

It remains to be confirmed beyond any doubt, but according to the French Embassy in Bangkok...

All non-EU spouses of European Union origin, non-French people living in France, can no longer apply for a long-stay visa. Those married to French citizens can continue to do so without problem.

Those married to non-French EU citizens have to apply for a short-stay 3 month visa, and then follow this up on arrival in France by applying to the local prefecture for a carte de séjour.

The whole point of the long-stay visa combined with OFII formalities was to avoid the drawn-out application process through the prefecture, but it seems that the spouses of non-French EU citizens here in France are excluded.

Again, a caveat - I've asked the Bangkok Embassy to tell me where I can find confirmation of the new rules to that effect on the official websites, am waiting for their reply.
 

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I can only say be VERY VERY careful about this. It sounds suspiciously like what I was told by the French consulate in Stuttgart just prior to my nearly 2 years of "clandestin hell" living as a sans papier. As it turned out, the consulate in Stuttgart had no idea what the rules were and had just made something up so as to do the least amount of work possible.

And, as with all administrative matters in France, your mileage may vary according to what your local prefecture feels are the "real rules." Don't be surprised if no one is inclined to give you their opinions in written form.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My fear exactly - I'm only getting very vague and evasive one line replies from Bangkok so far, basically referring me to Légifrance for current legislation - they can't even pinpoint the alleged article in question.

I'm waiting on a response from the Préfecture, but I'll ring them tomorrow. And I'll call Bangkok too, I'm not letting this go. They really are b....y USELESS. How many fonctionnaires are there in France? Drives me mad. :mad::mad2::frusty:
 

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I'm told that there is a law in France saying that any fonctionnaire that gives you information has to give you their name on request. I'd be sorely tempted to get names of those in Bangkok who are telling you this, then use those names liberally when you get to France and get told you should have done something other than what you did.

But if the consulate in Bangkok insists your wife doesn't need a long-stay visa, they won't process the paperwork for you. Having names of everyone you spoke with is about your only defense. (And no, they won't voluntarily give you this information and may get seriously squiffy when you ask for it.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The good news is that the entire exchange with Bangkok is by email, so there is a written record. The latest reply:

En tant que conjointe de ressortissant de UE, je peux vous affirmer que c'est un visa de court séjour, qui permettra a votre femme des son arrivée en France de demander une carte de séjour à la prefecture. A mon niveau je ne sais pas pourquoi la procedure retenue n'est pas la meme que pour les conjoint de francais. Si vous voulez vous pouvez peut etre trouver des information sur ce site :
Ministre de l'immigration, de l'intgration, de l'identit nationale et du dveloppement solidaire
Par contre son droit a séjourner plus de trois mois est respecté car elle pourra obtenir une carte de séjour a la prefecture avec ce visa.

Cordialement
Service des visas
"As a EU citizen, I can confirm that a short stay visa will enable your wife to apply for a permis de séjour through the Prefecture, on arrival. At my level I do not know why the procedure involved isn't the same as that of spouses of French citizens. If you like, you can perhaps find further information on this site:
Ministre de l'immigration, de l'intgration, de l'identit nationale et du dveloppement solidaire
On the other hand, her right of stay beyond three months is respected because she can obtain a permis de séjour at the Prefecture with this visa."


Hmm.

Next stop, the Vaucluse prefecture.

This is a pretty important question; although would-be immigrants are far more likely to be getting married to French citizens, there is a significant minority of other EU citizens domiciled in France.
 

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I'd say just go for it as you have it (obviously with copies of your e-mail, which should include the name of the fonctionnaire asserting this process). Even if the prefecture doesn't want to play it this way, you have the weight of the EU policy regarding the spouses of EU nationals. If you get any flak whatsoever, go straight to the EU ombudsman's office. Even just the threat of doing that should get things sorted out for you.

I looked into going through the EU ombudsman when I had my immigration woes, but at the time there was no relevant EU regulation I could base my claim on.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I'm not privvy to French law and procedure, but there is, as you know, a general EU rule regarding non-EU spouse/partner accompanying EU national in another EU country. In that case EU regulations precede local law, and EU nationals have absolute right to be accompanied by their spouse/partner. But in case of a national of a EU state, local law takes precedence and they can put up all sorts of obstacles in their way, such as having to jump through hoops and final decision being at the discretion of consular officers or immigration authorities.
In your particular case, though I again plead ignorance, the local consular officers may not be able to turn down your request for a spouse visa - as they could do if you were a French national - because you are excersing your EU treaty rights, and the titre de sejour procedure in France is a kind of formality to regularise your wife's stay in France. In case of UK, non-EU spouse/partner would simply be issued with an EEA Family Permit valid 5 years, renewable, with no further procedure needed after arrival.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I suppose the French are probably within their rights. The bottom line is whether the spouse marrying an EU citizen is entitled to a long-stay permit, not how many hoops you have to jump through first. I suppose there are grounds to complain about discrimination under European law for unequal treatment, but who can be bothered with that if you end up with the permit anyway.

Good advice about the EU ombudsman Bev, I shall definitely bear that in mind.

The Bangkok embassy apologised for 'misleading me' into applying on my wife's behalf for a long-stay visa, claiming that they assumed I was French (all emails were in French). That's a bit weak though, as I filled in a long-stay spousal visa application specifically entitled pour conjoint(e) "d'un ressortissant de l'UE" (there was a separate one for long-stay visa applications for French nationals). I also included with extremely detailed information about my nationality and circumstances.

Anyway I shall get to the bottom of this eventually, it's very relevant for this forum as to how would-be spouses from outside the EU are going to be treated should they wish to marry the likes of a Brit domiciled in France.
 

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The problem has always been that the Consulate personnel report to a completely different ministry than do the folks at the prefecture where you ultimately have to register. And, given the universal principle that no ministry or department of government ever speaks to any other ministry or department of government, it's no wonder that most advice you're given by the Consulate is utter rubbish.

When I was trying to get a visa to go to France, I actually got my best advice from the door guard at the consulate in Stuttgart, who happened to be an American married to a French woman working at the Consulate. He told me that what I'd been told by the Consulate staff "didn't sound at all right" based on what he had experienced. Turns out, he was right!
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hmm, I'm not so sure that the European Ombudsman can intervene. From their site it seems he only deals with European institutions, and in their documentation I find...

The Ombudsman cannot investigate:

- complaints against national, regional or local authorities in the Member States, even when the complaints are about EU matters. Examples of such authorities are government departments, state agencies and local councils;
So perhaps one has to go through the national (French) ombudsman... which would rather seem to defeat the object :suspicious:
 

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The EU is reorganizing their portal site, and it looks like there is some significant information about Right of Residence, including information about non-EU family members of EU nationals resident in other EU countries. Check here EUROPA - Get advice on your rights in the European Union

I only stumbled onto this today while checking something else. It could be worth a little time on your part to check out the details.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks - I have tested it already, with a query to the EC Citizens Signpost Service - they will get back to me within the week... so they claim.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks to Bev's link, I contacted the EU 'Citizens' Signport Service', who have promptly come back with clear answers to my questions...

Is the short-stay visa the only option available to spouses of non-French EU citizens? If this is the case does the EC considers this to be acceptable treatment of spouses of non-French EU citizens resident in France?

In answer to your first question: yes, it is in conformity with EC law to require your wife to apply for a short term visa and then, once in France, to apply for the special residence permit for third country nationals who are family members of a migrant EU citizen. This is explicitly provided by Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. The declared intention of this text is to reduce to the bare minimum the formalities which Union citizens and their families must complete in order to exercise their right of residence, although it is not guaranteed that it will mean making it as easy as for nationals of the country in practice. In any case, note that it is in practice more difficult to get a long term visa than a short term visa, and this is precisely why, to reduce formalities, EC law indicated the procedure of a short term visa, sufficient to get to the country and then, once on the spot, to claim the right of residence under EC law.

Read all about it and find a link to the official text at this page:
Right of Union citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States

Note that family members who do not have the nationality of a Member State may be subject to a short-stay visa requirement under Regulation (EC) No 539/2001.

Note on the other hand that your wife's permit will have to be valid for at least 5 years from the date of issue, after which she will acquire the reinforced status of long term resident (ie a degree of assimilation to an EU citizen for the purposes of mobility in Europe).
Are spouses of non-French EU citizens resident in France subject to the same language and culture assimilation requirements as spouses of French citizens?
In reply to your second question: it would be contrary to the above directive for France to impose minimum language requirements to joining or accompanying family members of a foreign EU citizen, whatever their nationality. And in fact it does not, as is tacitly confirmed on the website of the French administration: SERVICE PUBLIC - Particuliers > Accueil particuliers > Etranger - Europe > Europe > Citoyens européens en France > Citoyens européens : vivre avec sa famille en France > Installer sa famille en France : citoyens de l'UE (hors Bulgarie et Roumanie), de l'EEE et Suisses [no indication of a language requirement].

In this respect, you will observe a form of reverse discrimination which it is not the purpose of EC law to remedy: French nationals may not invoke the same rights for their third country family members, at least not under EC law (maybe under the European Convention on Human Rights, though, unless they have previously exercises their free movement right within the EU and then return to France with their family.

Incidentally, note that EC law is not about reciprocity between Member States (this would be a disguise for harmonisation) but about equal treatment in the application of possibly different national rules.
 

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I still think it would be much simpler for France to issue a 5-year EEA Family Permit to non-EU family members of non-Fremch EU national exercising their treaty rights in France, as UK does. But I suppose they have to harmonise with their titre de sejour system administered by local authorities.
 

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Wow, I'll admit I was skeptical about that Citizen Signport Service thing on the EU website. But for a bureaucracy as big as the EU, that was a very prompt (and informative) response!

For Joppa, I have to admit that the system has come a long way in the 15 years since I had my original immigration problems here in France. And the French are never going to knowingly do things like "les rosbifs" in any event. :p

I'm also impressed with the changes that are being made to the Europa website EUROPA. It's still a bit tricky negotiating the site when you are looking for something specific, but overall there is lots of good and interesting information there - with improvements being made all the time.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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