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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever gone through the laborious process of trying to bring your non-EU spouse's children into France to live there on a permanent basis, or as a non-EU spouse yourself, managed to bring your own kids from a previous relationship in?

So far I've been told half a dozen different things by different French state departments, including...

- They can only be brought in 18 months after the spouse obtains his/her first carte de sejour or long-stay OFII stamp...

- They are not entitled to benefit from any state health services for the first year after arrival...

Plus all manner of other slightly less controversial controls that I won't go into just yet, at least not until I have managed to achieve some sort of consensus between prefecture/embassy/outcontracted visa services...

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Brief follow-up - I've asked the EU 'Citizens' Signport Service', whether any European legislation is applicable in such a situation - a pretty remote chance I know.

A reminder - this service is very useful for EU citizens with queries about their rights and obligations when resident in another EU country. I've found them very helpful in the past.

51,318 Posts
Though I have no experience in this area, from what I've stumbled onto online I suspect it matters greatly whether the step-children are minors or adults.

As minors, I expect they'd have every right to come live in France with their mother. As adults, I think they are going to have to be sponsored at the very least - but whether or not the EU partner can sponsor the adult children of his or her partner, I don't know.

Will be interested to hear what the Signport service comes up with.

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The OFII site cleverly has a major discrepancy between its French and English versions. The English translation states, with reference to children of non-EU nationality under 18:

The applicant must maintain continuous residence in France for at least a year and hold a stay document which is valid for least a year.
Prior to submitting the application to bring in the non EU citizen's children.

The French version states:

Le demandeur doit résider en France de façon continue depuis au moins 18 mois et être titulaire d’un titre de séjour d’une durée de validité d’au moins 1 an.
So 18 months residence minimum before an application can be made according to the French version, 12 months according to the English translation. Typical.

Still, whichever is correct, they both seem pretty extraordinary. Are the French actually stopping non-EU citizen spouses of EU nationals from bringing their kids from former relationships into France?

No, the clever French have thought of a way around that one. Basically you can bring your kids in on a one year visitor visa straight away... but they are NOT entitled to French health etc. services if you choose this route. If you want or need them to be eligible for state support, you have to wait a full 12 (or 18 months depending on which version you read) after you first arrive in France, before bringing you own children in. Irrespective of age - 15, 5, 5 months - it makes no difference.

Doesn't quite seem right to me.

Anyway - will wait to see what the EU Signpost Service has to say...

51,318 Posts
There is something creepy going on in the French administration lately. I'm sure you've heard the recent news stories about some prefectures refusing to renew the cartes d'identité of native born French whose parents were foreigners. They are apparently asking for proof of the nationality of the parents - even though the law at the time gave French nationality on a jus sol basis.

They have also been questioning some carte d'identité renewals where the person was born overseas - again, asking for proof of nationality of the parents (presumably French).

Just spoke to the French spouse of a naturalized French citizen and she said her husband was asked for proof of his French nationality when renewing his passport - and they wouldn't accept his carte d'identité (which has always been the "proof" required).

This is getting just plain silly.

Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The EC Signpost service has replied. The gist of their reply is that the step-children of a non-French EU citizen (ie a Brit in my case), living in France with his non-EU spouse, are NOT subject to any purely French immigration legislation.

Here is the full text of the reply:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for getting in touch with the Signpost Service.

Your question relates to the formalities your step-children must comply with in order to enter and reside in France.

I understand you are a British Citizen and you are married to a Thai citizen .

You are a French resident and your wife has already applied for an entry visa which allowed her to travel to France where she has now obtained the French Carte de Séjour as confirmation of her right of residence in France.

Both you and your wife now wish to bring her children over to France.

Her children are Thai nationals and are aged 8 and 10. You indicate that you are economically active in France as a self employed person.

The confusion that arose at the French Consulate in Thailand is derived from the erroneous view members of the family of a Thai national resident in France and married to a non-French EU citizen are treated in the same manner as the members of the family of a Thai married to a French national resident in France.

That advice appears to be incorrect.

Whereas the family members of a Thai national married to a French national in France are exclusively subject to French national law, the family members of a Thai national resident in France and married to a non French EU citizen are subject to EU law (by virtue of Article 2 (2) (c) of Directive 2004/38).

Thus, your step-children are in a position to rely on EU law and are unlikely to be made subject to French national legislation: [eg. French Decree 2009/477 from 27th April 2009 which entered into force on the 1st June 2009: This Decree exempts certain categories of foreign nationals (spouses of French nationals, visitors, students, and workers holding a work permit or authorisation to work) from having to apply for a Carte de Séjour, where the same have obtained a long term entry visa (ie, valid for more than 3 months)].

Children and step-children of EU nationals are not subject either to this Decree, or to other purely domestic French legislation. Accordingly, your step-children are expressly excluded from the scope of French domestic legislation.

None of the material which is raised in your question is therefore of any relevance to the situation concerning your step-children.

In the light of the foregoing, the notion that your step-chilren should apply for a long term French visa is misconceived:

your step-children fall outside the scope of the terms of application of French legislation.

Whilst your step-children are entitled by virtue of EU law to enter, and reside in France on the basis of their family relationship alone (no other conditions can be imposed upon them); Directive 2004/38 establishes the conditions by virtue of which your step-children’s entitlement to enter and reside in France are to be exercised, eg. Entry visa.

You already know how this visa is processed, given this is the same way your wife entered France and obtained her Residence Card.


The visa to be applied for is therefore a short term entry visa, which must be issued free of charge and on the basis of an accelerated procedure.

Once the entry visa is issued, the visa is valid for all the Member States party to the Schengen Convention.

Given the many instances where Member States have been found to misapply the terms of European Community law in this field, the European Commission has been compelled to issue guidelines on the subject. Please follow the link:


I refer you to page 7 of the document at Section 2.2.1 “entry visas” of the document.

Given the above, advice to your step-children is to apply for an entry visa by virtue of the rules related above.

The European Court of Justice has consistently maintained the basic and fundamental principle that the issue of the visa is subject to proof of the family relationship alone. This has again been reiterated by the ECJ in the landmark case of Metock (follow the link for more detailed information:


If interested in having more information concerning this matter, you may wish to visit the European Commission website at the following link:

European Commission - Your Europe - Citizens - for their family members who are not Union citizens themselves


A) Under Directive 2004/38:

Once in France, your step-children will be legal residents by virtue of Article 6 of the Directive. This right arises by direct application of European Community law. What this means in effect is that French authorities have no discretion to refuse to issue your step-children their Residence Card (carte de séjour) where your step-children are able to prove that they are related to you and that you are a lawful resident in France.

As a matter of practical advice, your step-children are urged to apply for a “carte de séjour” or Residence Card, in pursuance of Article 9 of Directive 2004/38.

The relevant authority (Préfecture) in France must issue them immediately with a Certificate of application (acknowledgment letter) which will serve to establish their legal entitlement to reside in France.

The Residence Card will be issued by the competent French authority (Préfecture) on production by your step-children of the following evidence:

Their respective passport,
Your marriage certificate and their birth certificate
Your passport
Proof of your self-employment in France.

The Residence card must be issued as soon as possible and no later than 6 months from the date of application. Please note the French authorities are not allowed to add to the requirements outlined above by requesting further documentation beyond the documents listed above.

The Residence Card will be valid for a period of 5 years and can be produced for the purpose of confirming your step-children´s lawful residence in France.

You will find further information at the link provided below:

European Commission - Your Europe - Citizens - for their family members who are not Union citizens themselves

Given the many instances where Member States have been found to misapply the terms of European Community law in this field, the European Commission has been compelled to issue guidelines on the subject.

Please follow the link:


B Under Regulation 1612/68

Should you or your wife ever be employed in France in the future, your step-children who are of school age will enjoy their own autonomous and independent right of residence in France, subject only to proof they are following a course of study or vocational study in France.

This may become important in the future should you ever be unable to prove that you are exercising a Treaty right in France.

For more information, please follow the link below:


I trust this will serve to clarify the query you have and thank you again for getting in touch with Signpost Service.

Yours truly.
Notwithstanding the above, I am still expecting the French authorities to kick up a fuss over the issue of stepchildren.

Another problem that has arisen since I first began to investigate this possibility is that while my wife's visa application went through like clockwork five months ago, directly through the French embassy in Bangkok, it has now contracted out all visa applications to a private, and so far hopeless (going by reports from many French citizens on a French language forum) company.

Is this new French foreign ministry global policy, or just restricted to Thailand? Going by the company's performance to date - in my case according to the EC specialist, handing out completely erroneous information - this would cause more problems than it solves. Obviously it would depend on the efficiency of the contractors involved, but at best it adds another intermediary between the visa applicant and the person who actually has to stamp your passport.
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