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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi :)

I'm a French national living and working in France, and my partner is a US citizen. We're hoping to get married at a mairie in France in the coming year while he's on a 90-day visit (without a proper visa, if I get that right).

We'd really like to get settled into our married life straight after the wedding, but from what I've gathered, he'd need to go back to the US to file for a long-term visa there, which would then allow him to file for a carte de séjour once he's back in France.

But there won't really be anything for him to go back to in the US, and this little trip will set us back a few thousand euros, so that's irritating :(

Is there any legal way to avoid having to go back to the US (or to any country, really)? At this point, we'd even be ready to go for something that doesn't follow the rules per se (but won't get us into trouble either :D)

Thanks for all the support--this forum has been trememdously helpful :)

54,380 Posts
Not really - the problem is that you can only get a visa from a French consulate. Those exist only outside of France and the French consulates will not process a visa except for those living in the area the consulate serves. They may very well require him to show proof of his residence in the consular area.

It is possible to change status for a carte de séjour in France, but for that to work, your fiancé would have to have already been in France on a long-stay visa at the time of your marriage - and even then, he wouldn't be able to change status until his initial titre de séjour came up for renewal (usually at the end of his first year in France).

The other thing to remember is that, on his return to France with the spouse visa, there is also the OFII processing he'll have to go through - an appointment, a couple of classes on "life in France", evaluation of his language skills and a meeting with Pole Emploi to help assess his career/job opportunities in France. (Oh, and at the OFII appointment, he'll get a titre de séjour in his passport, not a carte de séjour - that comes with the first renewal.)

The one "bright point" is that, once you have your livret de famille in hand (after your marriage at the mairie - usually within a week or so), the process of getting the visa is pretty much automatic and should take no longer than a week or two (assuming he has lined up an appointment online). If you plan things out carefully enough, it could all easily be done during a two week "honeymoon" to the States. (Possibly even during a one week trip, though that might be pushing things a bit.)

I know you're looking for a way around the inconvenience, but take it from me, it's probably not worth doing it "not quite right" and getting caught. I got bad information from the French consulate in Germany and wound up spending almost two years as a "sans papiers" here. It is NOT fun and it will definitely impair his ability to find a job and settle in to living in France.

You could maybe organize a party back in the US, where you could invite his friends and family (and maybe even manage to rake in enough in gifts to make it worthwhile). But unless he is able to get a long-stay visa for some other reason (studies or a job in France), I think you're stuck with him making a quick trip back "home."
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