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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, I just joined up because I can' t seem to find the answer to what should be a really simple question...

I got PACS'd with my french bf in August, and was planning on going home to Washington, DC soon to apply for my long-stay spousal visa at that time. However, am I eligible for a spousal visa with just a PACS?

What I'm concerned about is this phrase on the French consulate website: "A foreign citizen married to a French citizen, or to one of the EU, is exempt of the processing fees. (This facility is only valid for married spouses, not for registered partners of "PACS".)"

I assume this means I can still apply for a long-stay spousal visa, just that I have to pay for it, right? Not that I am ineligible for the visa..I hope

As always with the french bureaucracy I just want to make sure I have everything lined up properly before I make my appointment.

So, does anyone have information of if I'm allowed a long-stay visa with just a PACS?

Thanks!
 

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If you've got a legally binding PACS in France, you should be able to apply for a visa. I think that phrase on the consulate website just means you have to pay for your visa.

Legally, you are required to maintain a household with your PACS partner, and that is a part of your PACS contract. Make sure you have copies of all that for your visa application - take a copy of whatever lease you may have signed (if you did) and any other documents directly related to the PACS, as well as all the usual visa docs (birth certificate, passport, etc. etc). It should be reasonably straight-forward (at least as much as these things ever are when the French administration is involved).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Bev! That's pretty much what I thought, I just wanted to double check. In the middle of signing up for my appointment I was struck by the thought that perhaps I had invented the PACS visa, resulting in, of course, a fit of panic. It is SO nice, and so calming to have someone like you out there, will all of the answers!
 

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As far as I know, there isn't actually a "PACS visa" per se. It's simply a long-stay visa with your reason being to join your PACS partner. Just stay calm, even if the consulate starts fussing about "this won't fly" or any such thing. I suspect it's their way of testing you.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hi, Eiren8, were you able to PACS on a tourist visa? I'm planning on doing the same thing and am also trying to get some preliminary info.
 
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These two government responses on the PACS subject - from 2003 and 2008 - are revealing.

The government considers itself to be under no obligation to provide a reason for the refusal of a visa to someone applying on the strength of a PACS relationship, whereas it accepts that it has to do so for a spouse (married).

A spouse and a PACS'd partner are not considered equal in terms of immigration rights. France uses European Directive 2004/38, Article 2 clause 2(b) to support this differentiation.

France considers itself only obliged to "favour" PACS'd applicants (in accordance with Article 3 of the same Directive).

The 'private and family life' visa takes into account only the time spent together in France, so those who have PACS'd abroad without spending a minimum period of a year (?) together in the Hexagon are not eligible (hence the complaints raised that the latter have only been issued with visitor visas/residence permits).

Caveat - especially with regard to the 2003 response, I'm not sure how, or if at all, the recent June changes in legislation with respect to visa regulations has affected the PACS situation.
 

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What Frogblogger said. Be careful, too, in that per my skim of the texts in question, they seem to be talking about visas for people who already have a PACS in place. I've seen vague references to visas for those going to France in order to get PACS'd, but nothing terribly definitive.

The local tribunals (who are the office that establishes the PACS) may have their own interpretations of the identity and residence documents required to conclude a PACS. Some tribunals may require a "titre de séjour" (which you won't get on a tourist visa). Best to check with the source first.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I'm reviving my own thread, I've been absent from the forum for awhile.

Sorry Squeaker, if this comes a little late, but I didn't have any sort of visa when I was PACSed...in fact I had been on a student visa in the UK (I was in the midst of writing my MA thesis in France), but we provided proof that we lived together and everything was hunky dory.

Now, for the point of my revival of this post...my visa appointment for the long term visa based on the PACS did NOT go well last December, and I will tell you all about it just as a warning for those trying to get a visa de longue sejour on the strength of a PACS:

First, the French embassy people (in DC) were horrid. Not the actual French people, mind you, but this new, American lady employee who was being a real cow to everyone. She's new and was probably nervous but still, not nice. Of course, I got called up by her and she told me that a PACS was for taxation purposes and not valid for asking for a visa de longue sejour. I should add that in December I was only asking for a visa to last me through June as the bf and I are actually moving back to the US at the end of June to get married (in July) because I'm starting school in the US in September. This I explained of course, but she was scowley faced about the whole thing, and finally went to get her boss.

The boss comes out, and he is someone I recognize, having obtained visas there before. He says, the problem with my demande is that I don't live in the US, and thus should not be asking for a visa at the Washington, DC facility...my student visa for the UK hadn't expired yet and they said I should have been making the demande in London. I haven't lived in London since last June, which I attempted to explain to them...well, I said I no longer lived there, and that my home was in DC. They said I had to provide proof of residency...not my drivers license, but an electricity bill (oh, france!). Also, that I had to get a non-criminal record, not from the VA police, as I had done, but from the FBI (yes, a casier judiciaire is easy to obtain in France, but the FBI doesn't know what the heck you're talking about when you ask in america).

So, the mean visa lady, when I ask her how I go about obtaining a non-criminal record certificate from the FBI says "just call them up, I'm sure you'll be fine". Ha ha. Very funny, mean lady.

I leave the appointment in a panic (my bf was with me by the way) and call my mom, who immediately puts my name on their electricity bill and gets the company to send a copy to us. The FBI is a little more complicated, obviously.

To get an FBI certificate you have to get a special fingerprint record at a special facility. Then you need to pay $17 and send it all in. It takes 2-3 months to process. Do you see how ridiculous this is getting? So I go to the special facility and get the prints taken, meanwhile I book a ticket to come back to the US in 2.5 months to finish off the process. I went back to the US in march and I got a letter from the FBI that said something to the effect of "we don't need your 6th finger in the prints, please retake them and send them back in." (I don't have a 6th finger on either hand, I've been trying to figure out what they may have mistaken for a 6th finger but so far no guesses) So yeah, not so much, as my flight was two weeks later.

Now, here I am, back in France, with no visa, but I'm only staying 80 days before going back to the states. As far as I know, my visa is still in the "incomplete" file at the French embassy, I have to call them and cancel it when I get back.

Sorry this was so long, but I thought I should tell everyone what happened just in case you find yourself in a similar situation!
 

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All I can say is "wow!" The FBI "rap sheet" has gone down in price - used to be $18!! (Then again, it used to only take 6 weeks to get back.) But if you are living in France when you need one, you have to go to the US consulate and pay them 35€ to do your fingerprints on the special FBI card.

Keep us posted how things progress. Technically, you're supposed to be able to get a visa with a PACS, but if you read the stuff on any of the official websites, they hem and haw enough to make it clear that they want to think about it and not make any promises. (Ah, France!)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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What a horrible experience! It's like an absurdist comedy, but not funny.


I'm reviving my own thread, I've been absent from the forum for awhile.

Sorry Squeaker, if this comes a little late, but I didn't have any sort of visa when I was PACSed...in fact I had been on a student visa in the UK (I was in the midst of writing my MA thesis in France), but we provided proof that we lived together and everything was hunky dory.

Now, for the point of my revival of this post...my visa appointment for the long term visa based on the PACS did NOT go well last December, and I will tell you all about it just as a warning for those trying to get a visa de longue sejour on the strength of a PACS:

First, the French embassy people (in DC) were horrid. Not the actual French people, mind you, but this new, American lady employee who was being a real cow to everyone. She's new and was probably nervous but still, not nice. Of course, I got called up by her and she told me that a PACS was for taxation purposes and not valid for asking for a visa de longue sejour. I should add that in December I was only asking for a visa to last me through June as the bf and I are actually moving back to the US at the end of June to get married (in July) because I'm starting school in the US in September. This I explained of course, but she was scowley faced about the whole thing, and finally went to get her boss.

The boss comes out, and he is someone I recognize, having obtained visas there before. He says, the problem with my demande is that I don't live in the US, and thus should not be asking for a visa at the Washington, DC facility...my student visa for the UK hadn't expired yet and they said I should have been making the demande in London. I haven't lived in London since last June, which I attempted to explain to them...well, I said I no longer lived there, and that my home was in DC. They said I had to provide proof of residency...not my drivers license, but an electricity bill (oh, france!). Also, that I had to get a non-criminal record, not from the VA police, as I had done, but from the FBI (yes, a casier judiciaire is easy to obtain in France, but the FBI doesn't know what the heck you're talking about when you ask in america).

So, the mean visa lady, when I ask her how I go about obtaining a non-criminal record certificate from the FBI says "just call them up, I'm sure you'll be fine". Ha ha. Very funny, mean lady.

I leave the appointment in a panic (my bf was with me by the way) and call my mom, who immediately puts my name on their electricity bill and gets the company to send a copy to us. The FBI is a little more complicated, obviously.

To get an FBI certificate you have to get a special fingerprint record at a special facility. Then you need to pay $17 and send it all in. It takes 2-3 months to process. Do you see how ridiculous this is getting? So I go to the special facility and get the prints taken, meanwhile I book a ticket to come back to the US in 2.5 months to finish off the process. I went back to the US in march and I got a letter from the FBI that said something to the effect of "we don't need your 6th finger in the prints, please retake them and send them back in." (I don't have a 6th finger on either hand, I've been trying to figure out what they may have mistaken for a 6th finger but so far no guesses) So yeah, not so much, as my flight was two weeks later.

Now, here I am, back in France, with no visa, but I'm only staying 80 days before going back to the states. As far as I know, my visa is still in the "incomplete" file at the French embassy, I have to call them and cancel it when I get back.

Sorry this was so long, but I thought I should tell everyone what happened just in case you find yourself in a similar situation!
 

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What a horrible experience! It's like an absurdist comedy, but not funny.
It's the way things are here in France. Get used to it if you fancy moving here.

After a few run-ins with the administration you start to learn how to play the game and can sometimes even have a bit of fun in the process. But at the beginning, it's a bitter pill to swallow and there isn't much you can do about it.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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More PACS questions

Okay, here I go with all my questions for you PACS angels...

I am from the U.S. pacsing with french boyfriend. I am on a tourist visa.
-Will PACS extend my 90 day tourist visa?
-How do PACS people know that your birth certificate is 3 or 6 months old- where is that date? And does it have to be certified?

My visa did not get stamped when I came to France (I had a layover at Heathrow). Will this affect me in anyway? I have 20 days left of my 90 days. We're trying to get this all settled in the meantime. If it doesn't extend my visa I'm thinking of buying a flight to Turkey, the longer I wait the more expensive it gets so I am hoping someone has some answers out there. THANK you so much!
 

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Okay, here I go with all my questions for you PACS angels...

I am from the U.S. pacsing with french boyfriend. I am on a tourist visa.
-Will PACS extend my 90 day tourist visa?
No. They have gotten really tacky about this lately. If you were getting married within the term of your 90 day tourist visa, there is a loophole whereby you could then apply for a visa de long séjour from within France, but they don't mention PACS in connection with visas in this context anywhere I can find.

-How do PACS people know that your birth certificate is 3 or 6 months old- where is that date? And does it have to be certified?
When you get an official copy of your birth certificate in the US, it normally comes with an embossed seal of some sort (which "proves" it's real and not just a photocopy). There is normally something accompanying the seal that is stamped with the date the copy was made from the official records. This is the date they will use. It's up to the office you're dealing with whether or not they want a "certified" copy - but generally they'll take birth certificates with the embossed thing. They may, however, want a translation "assermenté" - i.e. done by a registered translator of legal documents for the appropriate country.

My visa did not get stamped when I came to France (I had a layover at Heathrow). Will this affect me in anyway?
Probably, yes. I had the same issue when I first came to France. I drove in from Germany (where I was living) and had no stamp in my passport. I was thus accused of "entering France with the intention of remaining for the long term without making my presence known to the authorities." This was a while ago, and the rules have changed (several times) since then. But they can and will hold up processing of your paperwork (probably for the visa, not for the PACS, but you never know) if they can't prove when you entered France with the intent of remaining "for the long term."

I have 20 days left of my 90 days. We're trying to get this all settled in the meantime. If it doesn't extend my visa I'm thinking of buying a flight to Turkey, the longer I wait the more expensive it gets so I am hoping someone has some answers out there. THANK you so much!
Was your passport stamped on entry to the UK? If so, that's the date they'll go by for calculating the 90 days. (It's the only indication of when you entered the EU.)

Flying to Turkey probably won't do it for you. They seem to be cracking down on the rule that says you can only apply for a long-stay visa outside of France - and you must apply at the consulate that covers the area in which you are legally resident at the time of your application. Unless you can produce documents proving your residence in Turkey, the consulate there probably won't accept a visa application.

Honestly, for a heterosexual couple, there isn't that much difference between getting PACS'd and getting married. If you got married, you'd fall under that loophole and could apply for your long-stay visa from France.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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BEV- Thank you!

No stamps anywhere- just double checked (again). I do have saved all of my boarding passes though. I don't intend to overstay only because I feel that it might affect a visa process in the future, although am extremely tempted by all the stories where people say it's no big deal. I'm going to Turkey to buy us sometime In getting all of the documents. Thanks again.
 

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When you get an official copy of your birth certificate in the US, it normally comes with an embossed seal of some sort (which "proves" it's real and not just a photocopy). There is normally something accompanying the seal that is stamped with the date the copy was made from the official records. This is the date they will use. It's up to the office you're dealing with whether or not they want a "certified" copy - but generally they'll take birth certificates with the embossed thing. They may, however, want a translation "assermenté" - i.e. done by a registered translator of legal documents for the appropriate country.
Not true for all states. If you really want to make it official, you can get an Apostille Seal on the BC - usually for an extra charge - that will tell the date it was issued and someone will stamp it, etc. to make it real. My husband had to drive up to our state capital to get this for my kids' visa apps because our state just prints out birth certificates on special paper and doesn't date when they print them. We were also told we needed the long forms of our birth certificates, which are different from what the states DH and I were born in usually give out. (And don't get me started on how hard it is to get PA to actually put parents names on the birth certificate, yet alone the hospital or doctor or anything other than just your name and birthdate!)

Good luck with your visa application.
 

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Oh man... Okay, so I have a real birth certificate and a certified birth certificate. Neither have a date- should I even go through the trouble of getting them translated if their not going to accept them? In other words how strict are they about a date being on it. Can I just buy a date stamp and stamp it- just kidding.... well, maybe not.
 

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Oh man... Okay, so I have a real birth certificate and a certified birth certificate. Neither have a date- should I even go through the trouble of getting them translated if their not going to accept them? In other words how strict are they about a date being on it. Can I just buy a date stamp and stamp it- just kidding.... well, maybe not.
There's a reason they ask for a dated copy of your birth certificate. In France (and, I guess, some other countries) they update your birth certificate for "significant life events" - mostly marriage, divorce and your death. Definitely a good idea, as it kind of eliminates the US practice of using the identity of some kid that died shortly after their birth.

But when I got my French nationality documents, they sent me 3 copies of my "French birth certificate" and said that except for matters related to marriage, the certificates had no expiration date anymore. I have a feeling they are going to consider PACS as enough like marriage that they want assurance that the documents are recent.

You might try explaining to them that your birth certificate isn't dated, and wouldn't carry any reference to your being married or not anyhow. (If you're nice about things, you can sometimes get them to back off a "too difficult" demand.) Approach the fonctionnaire with "Excuse me, I have a problem. Can you help me?" and don't suggest any solutions - leave it up to the clerk to suggest something. It sounds goofy, but you'll be amazed how often it works.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Loophole?

If you were getting married within the term of your 90 day tourist visa, there is a loophole whereby you could then apply for a visa de long séjour from within France.
Hi Bev,

I was wondering about the loophole you mentioned here. I cannot find anything on any "official" sites about this possibility. Everything I have read says that I would still have to return home to the US to apply for a visa, even if I marry my French boyfriend (I'm American). This is what he was told at the préfecture as well. Do you have a link where I can get more information on this or point me in the right direction?

It sure is a challenge trying to sort through all of the options for how to continue our relationship permanently!! Seems that marriage is the best answer. I have to leave France in a few days before I go over my 90 days and will apparently have to now stay away for another 90 days. No fun :-(

I can't even get an appointment at the Consulate in Atlanta until August 9th to apply for a long-stay visa, and they are estimating up to 3 months or more to be processed!! I noticed on the Washington consulate website that they have appointments much faster and estimate only 3 weeks for processing. I'm planning to email to inquire but do you happen to know if it's possible to get an appointment outside of your regularly assigned consulate?

Thanks so much for any info you have on this!
Sally
 

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I was wondering about the loophole you mentioned here. I cannot find anything on any "official" sites about this possibility. Everything I have read says that I would still have to return home to the US to apply for a visa, even if I marry my French boyfriend (I'm American). This is what he was told at the préfecture as well. Do you have a link where I can get more information on this or point me in the right direction?
Take a look at this page from the Service Public website: Visas de long séjour - Service-public.fr - the part under the heading Visas délivrés aux conjoints de Français and the section following that.

Technically they say you don't need a long-stay visa if your status changes while already in France with a "titre de séjour" about to expire. Unfortunately, that page on the Service Public website has been changing recently, as has the OFII site which used to have fairly explicit information about fiancé and spousal visas, but no longer does.

Unfortunately, you're kind of stuck with what your local préfecture says are the rules, no matter what it says on any other official website. The good news, though, is that once you are married, they can't refuse you a long-stay visa (unless you refuse to take the French classes...). How about a honeymoon back to the States while you get your visa?
Cheers,
Bev
 
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