Spouse Visa for France: Application and Requirements
Applying for a spouse visa is a big step in any relationship between nationals of different countries. Having met the person with who you plan to spend the rest of your life, securing a spouse/partner visa means that you can both live together and get on with the rest of your life. If your partner or spouse is a French national and you are from a country outside France, you will need to make an application for a spouse visa to join them. In this article, we will outline the eligibility requirements for a French spouse visa and the process of applying.
Who Is Eligible For A Spouse Visa For France?
The French spouse visa falls into the family route and is intended for those with a spouse who is either:
- A French national;
- An EU/EEA national, or;
- A third-country national residing in France.
The type of visa you will need to apply for depends on your exact circumstances. In this article will focus on the process of applying for a spouse visa where the spouse already residing in France is a French citizen/national.
If eligible, you will be granted a ‘long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit’ (otherwise known as a VL-TS); this means the non-French partner will be able to live in France with their spouse without needing to apply for a separate residence permit. As the guidance states, “This dispenses with the obligation to apply for a residence permit. On the other hand, the holder of this type of visa will have to be registered with the regional office of the OFII of their place of residence, upon arrival”.
How Can I Apply For A Spouse Visa If My Spouse Is A French National?
In order to apply, you will need to submit a ‘Copie Intégrale de l’Acte de Mariage’ (copy of your full marriage certificate). The visa requirements state, “You must justify your marital status, the French nationality of your spouse, the community of living with your French spouse, and your intention to maintain it in France”. The requirements also state that in order for your documents to be recognised, your marriage must have been “celebrated by a French civil status officer or have been transcribed in the French civil status registers”.
The VL-TS application process is completed online and will be processed by the visa application centre in the applicant’s home country; either at a French embassy or consulate. Visa and immigration services in other countries are typically operated by third parties, such as VFS Global or TLS.
The first stage of the application process is to complete the online form. You can complete and submit the online application no earlier than three months before your intended arrival date in France. There is also a hard copy version of the application, which you can print and complete. In addition to the application, you will also need to provide:
- Your passport from your home country, which was issued in the last ten years and will have three months of validity remaining from the date your visa will expire. This must also have two blank pages
- Two passport-style photos
- A police check from your home country showing no unspent criminal history
- Proof of payment – for the visa application fee (€99).
- Your marriage certificate/‘Copie Intégrale de l’Acte de Mariage’/‘Livret de Famille’ from the French civil registry.
- Proof of the nationality of the spouse living in France – this may be in the form of a passport or identity card
What Happens After I Have Applied
The second stage of the spouse visa VL-TS application process is the interview. Once you have submitted your application form and accompanying documents, you will be advised when and how to book an appointment with your local visa processing centre (this is done online). During the interview, you will be asked questions to help make a final decision on your application.
The overall processing time for your spouse visa will vary depending on which country you are applying from. Following your interview, if your application is successful, you will be granted a one-year residence permit. A VL-TS sticker will then be placed into your current passport, which will allow you to travel to France.
On arrival in France, you will have three months to validate your VL-TS with the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration – OFII). As part of this process, you will need to complete the online validation form on the administration etrangers en france.interieur.gouv fr/particuliers website. You may then be asked to undergo a medical examination and, once fully processed, a welcome meeting.
After the initial one-year period of residence, you can then apply for a multi-year private and family life residence permit (this is valid for two years) as a spouse of a French citizen. Once you have been living in France for three years in total (i.e. the initial year and the additional two years), you can then apply for a ten-year resident card.
The process of applying for a spouse visa is relatively straightforward, but it is important to check that you are following the correct process based on your circumstances (and those of your spouse) from the outset. If you are unsure which application route to follow, speak to an immigration Solicitor who will be able to advise you. Given the importance of securing a positive decision on your spouse visa application, it is important to ensure that your application and accompanying documents are correct, you pay the correct fee, and you follow the steps required. Doing so will give you the best chance of receiving a positive decision without any delay. We wish you all the very best with securing your spouse visa and your new life with your French partner.