Visa for spouses of French citizens (Visa pour les conjoints de ressortissants français)
Please note: Information about visas and immigration to France is strictly for informational purposes based on my experience and the information available at the time. For my specific case, I am an American citizen married to a French citizen and I applied in February 2012. Please check with your local Consulate or Embassy for the most up-to-date information and requirements specific to your situation.
As the spouse of a French citizen, obtaining a visa was relatively easy. I had to apply for a long stay visa in person at the French Consulate in New York City.
- You will need:
- Visa application form + copy
- 1 ID photo – I called, and they accept both the 2×2 American format as well as the French format.
- Passport + copy of the ID page
- Livret de famille français + copy
- Copy of the acte de mariage français that is less than 2 months old OR the transcription sur les registres de l’état civil consulaire français + copy
- Proof of French nationality of the spouse (hum, looks like they updated the site between when I applied mere weeks ago and now). + copy
- OFII form – the first half must be filled out before the Visa appointment and is stamped by the Consulate, the second half is filled out upon arrival in France
There is NO fee for this type of visa.
The visa appointment took longer than expected (I should have known better!). When you make your appointment, you set it for a specific time. I arrived at the appointed time, but, like at the doctor’s office, I waited over an hour until my number was called. One man took my papers and discovered there was a problem. When I applied, it was not specified on the consulate’s website that the spouse’s passport had to be biometric. My husband’s passport is the older, non-biometric sort. Luckily, he was registered at the consulate, so they let all my documentation slide through as long as I brought back proof of nationality upon my return to get the actual visa. Once the consulate accepted all of my paperwork, they took my digital fingerprints and a new photo (which would end up being the visa photo) and I was told to come back in five business days. I waited six business days (for good measure) and returned with the missing proof of nationality. This visit was much quicker and I had my visa within an hour.
Upon arrival in France, you must make sure that the border control agent stamps your passport at the port of entry. Schengen country entries are allowed (I flew into Brussels). The officer stamped my visa and the stamp is not entirely visible, but what can you do?
My visa is good for one full year. No carte de séjour required for the first year. However, I must register myself with the OFII, Office Français de l’Immigration et l’Intégration within the first weeks of arrival. According to the instructions, if you don’t register within the first three months of arrival, your non-action could result in penalties for being in France illegally and you may have to restart the visa procedure.
While we look for a new home, we are staying at my inlaw’s just outside of Lille. I am sending my OFII form by mail to the office in the 59 region. This procedure is very simple and is stated clearly in the OFII instruction form. The OFII requires that you send your forms by postal mail. The forms include:
- The 2nd half of the OFII form that you started for the consulate to be completed with your local information.
- Copy of your passport ID page
- Copy of your visa
- Copy of the visa page with the stamp showing entry into France (or Shengen state)
I will be posting my OFII forms tomorrow and will write a subsequent post as the process continues.