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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere…..it’s a follow on from earlier less detailed questions.

My wife [US citizen] and I [US and EU/British citizen] are retired and are intending to move to France for a few years. I am trying to make sure I completely understand the visa etc formalities that apply for my wife, given my current EU status.

Our intention is to travel to Grenoble early next year and stay in temporary accommodation while we sort out a longer term rental.

As far as I can tell, according to the French Consulate website for Washington DC, my wife has to apply for a long term visa and be interviewed. The documentary requirements apparently include a French translation – not just an English copy - of our marriage certificate., plus proof of US address, US citizenship, my EU citizenship etc. The website does not mention requiring proof of a plane ticket, health insurance or a French address….except, for the latter, the requirements also include filling in the OFII form that does require a French address. The consulate website also says that the long term visa, if issued, constitutes a residence permit. If staying longer than one year, it is necessary to apply for a carte de sejour. Confusingly, the OFII form states that it has to be provided to the French authorities within three months of arrival in France.

My questions are….firstly regarding the OFII form:

1) What is the purpose of the OFII form?

2) Am I correct in concluding the OFII form is NOT a residence permit as such, but will still need to be submitted?

3) As I have to supply a French address on the OFII form before my wife’s interview, my thought would be to use an accommodation address via friends in France. This could even be near Grenoble, our intended destination. Can anyone clarify if this is ok? Or is it supposed to be a permanent residential address, which of course we do not currently have….

Questions regarding the long term visa application….

4) Can anyone confirm whether a French translation of our marriage certificate is actually required?

5) As I’m aware of requirements in some circumstances to show an address, health care insurance and a plane ticket, can anyone clarify when this stuff is required? As noted above this is not mentioned in the long term visa application documentation

6) Am I correct in deducing the series of steps for my wife is

- Apply/interview for long term visa for my wife before leaving the US

- Within 3 months of arrival, give the OFII form to the authorities

- After one year, apply for a carte de sejour?

Of course, in 2019 I may no longer have EU citizenship because of Brexit, so I will presumably have to apply for a long term visa myself….

Thanks for any clarity you can provide


Simon Carr
 

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Why does your wife require a visa, given she is the spouse of an EU citizen?
Why can she not travel with you on a 90-day visa and then complete the formalities at the Prefecture within 90 days of arrival in the Schengen zone (as a retiree your status would be 'inactif')?
 

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beagly77 I wish I knew more to tell you...I have friends who both got visas due to being married to a French person. I forget everything they did though. They did get a long stay visa I believe and yes, went through OFII and all that...I think then had to apply for something else, my one friend now has a resident card that's good for 10 years? I don't know, I wish one of them was still on this board so they could help you with the details.

If they ask for a translation in French, you should probably just go ahead and get one done by an ATA Certfied person. Go to the ATA website and find a English-French translator. They have a bunch of names, email one and find one available to translate your document. I think just be on the safe side and get it done.

As for OFII...you don't have to put your France address on there yet. Only fill out the top part above the box....the bottom half is to be filled out after you/she gets there to France. And I would send in your OFII form shortly after you get there, I wouldn't wait three months. You have to fill out the bottom with the address, scan her passport and her visa and her stamp of when you entered the EU, mail all that to your local OFII office...then they send you back an "attestation de reception" saying they got it,then they'll send you a second mail telling you when her appointment with the OFII office is. and yes you definitely have to get your OFII stamp (titre de sejour)...I think you'd be there illegally if you don't lol.

EH as far as I know, my two American friends married to French men definitely had to go through the visa process and OFII and all resident card and all that...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That suggestion has also been made by other responders on several expat Facebook sites.

I was not aware of this option until those replies, largely because I've not been seen any explicit reference to this option anywhere on the official French Government sites that refer to immigration and visa. They all seem to suggest this has to be done in your own home country.
 

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beagly were you responding to EH's I assume? Just don't want you to overlook mine I posted above, if it's helpful. I would do what the Consulate page says to do like you started. One of my friends was married in France and still had to come back to America to get the visa, etc, so I believe all that is the way to go.
 

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Assuming that you make your move before March 2019, you and your wife will fall under the EU rules for a non-EU spouse joining an EU spouse in an EU country other than that of the EU spouse's nationality.

These are the general requirements from the EU: Family reunification in the EU: your family's residence rights - Your Europe (see the section on Your non-EU spouse and children). Basically, your non-EU spouse just needs to enter France legally (usually on a Schengen short stay visa - i.e. the old tourist stamp in the passport). Then, you need for her to apply for a carte de séjour (resident permit) as the spouse of an EU national within the first two months of her entry to France.

You'll have to provide proof of your marriage, proof of your EU nationality and proof of your "statut" (i.e. what you are doing in France - and how you are supporting yourself and your wife) and proof that you have taken up residence in France and both have health insurance cover of some sort.

Chances are, the French consulate will refuse to issue your wife with a long-stay visa, since she is eligible for a carte de séjour under the EU rules.

After March, 2019 she may need a long-stay visa, but until all the details have been worked out/negotiated, things may well vary from what they are now.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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beagly77 I wish I knew more to tell you...I have friends who both got visas due to being married to a French person. I forget everything they did though. They did get a long stay visa I believe and yes, went through OFII and all that...I think then had to apply for something else, my one friend now has a resident card that's good for 10 years? I don't know, I wish one of them was still on this board so they could help you with the details.

If they ask for a translation in French, you should probably just go ahead and get one done by an ATA Certfied person. Go to the ATA website and find a English-French translator. They have a bunch of names, email one and find one available to translate your document. I think just be on the safe side and get it done.

As for OFII...you don't have to put your France address on there yet. Only fill out the top part above the box....the bottom half is to be filled out after you/she gets there to France. And I would send in your OFII form shortly after you get there, I wouldn't wait three months. You have to fill out the bottom with the address, scan her passport and her visa and her stamp of when you entered the EU, mail all that to your local OFII office...then they send you back an "attestation de reception" saying they got it,then they'll send you a second mail telling you when her appointment with the OFII office is. and yes you definitely have to get your OFII stamp (titre de sejour)...I think you'd be there illegally if you don't lol.

EH as far as I know, my two American friends married to French men definitely had to go through the visa process and OFII and all resident card and all that...
Soleil - it's a totally different matter being married to a French citizen to being married to a non-French EU citizen. Immigration requirements for those married to French citizens are a sovereign matter, whereas requirements for spouses of non-French EU citizens are covered by EU arrangements. So, 2 totally different things. That said, I would not expect US citizens to be on top of EU arrangements.
Cheers
 

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Soleil - the OP is a British citizen, so the rules for those married to a French national do not apply. After March, 2019 there is a reasonable chance both of them will need a long-stay visa. But before then, there is a much simpler route.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everybody for your responses. I now understand the key point, which is that we can go over there, get a bank, find a long term rental etc without having to do the visa stuff before we arrive....

And yes, post March 2019 I'm sure we will both need long term visas, given the almost certain refusal of the current UK government to give EU citizens right of residence in the UK...

Simon
 

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Soleil - the OP is a British citizen, so the rules for those married to a French national do not apply. After March, 2019 there is a reasonable chance both of them will need a long-stay visa. But before then, there is a much simpler route.
Cheers,
Bev
Although there are discussions/negotiations underway about what arrangements for UK citizens in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, will apply from whatever date Brexit occurs, including the date on which those citizens arrive. This means that there is some chance that long-stay visas would be required for the OP and spouse - but that depends entirely on what the cut-off date ends up being (since it seems safe to assume that they are planning on relocating prior to March 2019, thus prior to Brexit).
 

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Oh okay, sorry for any confusion and wasting people's time lol (not being melodramatic, I just clearly am out of the loop here). beagly listen to EverHopeful and bevedeforges, not me!
 

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Just to clarify, Soleil, there are at present three different scenarios/processes:

1. non-EU spouse of a French citizen (spouse has to get spouse visa)
2. non-EU spouse of an EU national (spouse has to enter France legally - usually on a short-term visa - and then apply for carte de séjour)
3. non-EU spouse of a non-EU national (depends on if one of the spouses is already resident in France or not, but basically, both require long-stay visas; what kind of long-stay visas will depend on what they are doing in France)

And, as EH mentions, there is the possibility of a 4th (or more) option post-Brexit, depending on how negotiations go - though at their current pace, possibly not.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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It seems weird to me that it's easier for the spouse of a non-French EU person to live in France than a spouse of a French person I guess.

(I'm not blaming that on why I was confused earlier...I was just ignorant to the other ways)
 

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It seems weird to me that it's easier for the spouse of a non-French EU person to live in France than a spouse of a French person I guess.

(I'm not blaming that on why I was confused earlier...I was just ignorant to the other ways)
Oh, that one's easy - EU regulations vs. leaving national immigration laws and procedures in place for folks in their own country.

What's really tricky is for a non-EU national with residence rights to bring in family members, including a spouse, if they don't come with them initially (say, on a trailing spouse dependent visa).
Cheers,
Bev
 
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