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When you get married...

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The K Dog

Joined: 27 Feb 2003
Posts: 24
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:45 pm    Post subject: When you get married... Reply with quote

Dear readers,
Yes, it's me again. Anyway, thinking of coming back to France this time with my American wife. Here's the situation: I am American-born, but I possess an EU passport (Ireland) because my mother was born there. Now, I want to go to France with my American wife, but would she get a French working permit by being married to an Irishman, or would the permit only be valid for France? I thought that wives of EU nationals could work and live in the other EU countries. For example, the Australian wife of a German could live and work in Italy. I just don't know. If you could help, my appreciation would be forthcoming. Thanks.
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daily chai

Joined: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Brussels

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 5:01 am    Post subject: non-EU spouse Reply with quote

Hi K Dog!

For France: "No work permit necessary for spouses of citizens of European Union Member States and for spouses from some of EEA Member States (certain conditions are required)."

...But Price Waterhouse is a for-profit agency, so keep in mind it pays them to be optimistic about your visas. Please go to the nearest French diplomatic representative to answer your questions in detail.

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Joined: 09 Mar 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

K Dog or Anyone,

Question regarding marriage. I live in Australia and my partner of 11 yrs holds a French Passport. We plan to get married in France and eventually live there. Once married any ideas on how long it takes with French Bureaucracy to gain a legal work permit? Even further on how long it takes to get French Passport?

We will be in France sometime in the not too distant future. What kind of person would be able to give clear answers to these types of questions?
Would I need to speak with an immigration lawyer for example.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 77
Location: within range of a flying baguette

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why spend money on an immigration lawyer Shocked - there is a wealth of information online!

You are not the only foreigner to ask this question, and the French govt has an official website, where it explains how to get French citizenship. If you can read French, the website is:

If not, it explains here that if you follow their procedures and have been married for at least 2 years to a French citizen, you have the right to file for French citizenship. They, of course, reserve the right to deny your application if they suspect you got married just for citizenship purposes.

I assume that since it takes only 2 years to file for citizenship (the regular, non-marrying procedure is 5 years, fyi), getting a carte de resident should take much less time, depending on which region of France you file your paperwork in. For that reason, I strongly recommend you take care of your paperwork in Paris or another big city (Marseille, Nice). Small town admistration is hell and they take FOREVER to process even a simple student carte de séjour. I know this from experience and I much prefer dealing with Paris bureaucracy, which can actually be amazingly efficient at times!

Nearly all of this type of information about France can be found on They do have some pages in English, but you need to read the French pages to get the whole story. Apparently, from what I see, it seems you can file for a carte de resident within the first 2 months you arrive. They don't mention how long it takes to actually get the permit. I think this fluctuates depends on what time of year you go, where you file your paperwork, if the people you talk to feel like being helpful, etc...

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daily chai

Joined: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Brussels

PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As usual, LostinParis made an informative reply. Smile
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Joined: 07 Nov 2004
Posts: 13
Location: la Teste de buch, france

PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2004 11:24 am    Post subject: this helped me Reply with quote

While trying to convince my French husband to move to Italy (no luck yet), I stumbled across this site.

Its biggest plus is that you can read the information for any country in English!

It took me almost a year after getting married to get my first permit de sejour, but I had big problems because my last name was changed when I was a child. Try explaining California common law to the French. (How can that be, no official record anywhere?). Most other non EU spouses I’ve encountered here have received their permit de sejour within three months. I know that you have to wait two years after the marriage to acquire French nationality, and after that you can apply for your French passport.

Good luck with all
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Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 416
Location: at home, in France

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:32 am    Post subject: Living and working in France Reply with quote

The resident's permit - carte de sejour - is not related to having French citizenship. The two are entirely seperate.

The carte de sejour will allow people to work here. The length of time taken to obtain this vital document varies according to where you are living and what you are doing and the documents that you can present with the application.

My application took 6 weeks - that was a record 14 years ago !

What helps speed the process:-
1 a place to live = a permanent address
2 a French Bank account
3 a job !!!!!
4 any Degree Certificates and qualifications accepted by the local Rectorat
5 a guaranteed income or at least a large amount of money which you
can live on
6 See items 2and 3 and 5 again- typically Catch 22 - often you need one
of these before the others follow.

What NOT to do.

Do not arrive and then try to claim unemployment benefits or any other State Aid - this indicates that you will be a drain on State resources.

EU nationals can use the EURES system to transfer to France and claim aids to facilitate their installation and to find employment.
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Joined: 07 Nov 2004
Posts: 13
Location: la Teste de buch, france

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess a lot has changed in fourteen years.

The following information if from the web site I mentioned above, explaining the rights of European citizens. It is of course only valid for EU citizens and their immediate families. These quotes are for France, but you can find information for other EU countries on the above web site. I hope that this helps clear up any questions about coming to france with a non EU spouse. Bonne chance.


If you are looking for employment in the territory of a Member State, you are entitled to stay for a period of six months. This period may be extended if you can prove that you are still looking for a job and that it is likely that you may find one. 1
For a period not exceeding three months, and subject to certain conditions, the Member State of origin provides unemployment benefits to any individual who has gone to another Member State to look for work (see factsheet "Unemployment benefits").
You may use the services of government job centres, which must provide you with the same help as is given to nationals of the host Member State who are looking for a job.
1 Judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Communitiesnnes of 26.02.1991, case C-292/89 Antonissen.


You can work without the need for a work permit as soon as you arrive in the Member State of destination.
If you work in paid employment for more than three months, you must apply for a residence permit. If you fail to apply, you may be fined but you cannot however be sent to prison or deported from the country (Cases "Sagulo" 8/77 and "Pieck" 157/79).
You can start working before applying for a residence permit.
The residence permit must be valid for a minimum of five years and must be renewable. It cannot be withdrawn solely because you are no longer employed because of a temporary inability to work because of illness or accident or because of redundancy duly reported to the relevant employment exchange.
If you plan to stay for more than three months in the Member State of destination, you are normally required to apply for a residence permit within three months after your arrival.
Your application for a residence permit must be accompanied by a valid identity card or passport and a confirmation of hiring issued by your employer or a certificate of employment.
If you are in paid employment, you cannot be asked to provide evidence of your resources.
· Directive 68/360/EEC OJ L 257 of 19.10.1968
· Directive 73/148/EEC, OJ L 172 of 28.06.1973


As a member of the family of a worker who is a national of the European Union and the European Economic Area, you enjoy the same right of residence as the employed person himself (regardless of whether or not you yourself are a EU and EEA national).
The following members of the family have the right to install themselves with the worker:
the spouse and their descendants who are under the age of 21 years or are dependants;
dependent relatives in the ascending line of the worker and his/her spouse.
Facilities will be accorded to the admission of any other member of the family who is dependent on the worker or who lived under his roof in the country of origin.
If you are the spouse or the child of an EU/EEA worker, you may take up any activity as an employed person without a work permit irrespective of your nationality.
In order to obtain your residence card, you will have to present:
· a valid identity card or passport (with a visa if required, if you are a third-country national);
· AND a document issued by the competent authority in your country of origin proving your family status with the employed person;
· OR a document issued by the competent authority in your country of origin proving that you are a dependent member of the employed person's family or that you were living under his/her roof in your country of origin.
Formalities required: none.
· Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68, OJ L 257, 19.10.1968
· Directive 68/360/EEC, OJ L 257, 19.10.1968
· Directive 73/148/EEC, Official Journal L 172 of 28.06.1973
If you come from a non-member third country, you are a member of the family of an EU/EEA citizen and you require a visa, this must be delivered free of charge and with all facilities. Consulates cannot require the presentation of documents such as employment certificate, proof of income, hotel reservation or return ticket as these documents clearly constitute in practice real obstacles to the freedom of movement.
· Decree No 81-405 of 28 April 1981 (Official Journal of the French Republic of 29 April 1981) repealed and replaced by Decree No 94-211 of 11 March 1994 (Official Journal of the French Republic of 13 March 1994) amended by Decree No 98-864 0f 23 September 1998 (Official Journal of the French Republic of 27 September 1998).
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Joined: 15 Apr 2004
Posts: 74
Location: France

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my experience personally, and that of others I know, sometimes the whole thing boils down to where you live and the amount of bureaucracy you thereby incur (and whether it be real or created -- really!). I have had friends living in small towns have more problems than others living in larger locales, and vice versa. Like all of French bureaucracy, you just never know what's going to be in store when you deal with them, including the proverbial "Catch 22's" as described by Rogan, i.e. what comes first the job or the permit? and so on. In my own situation back in late '99, as I arrived from Canada with my British passport, I was told by one on-the-ball administrator that the only thing that mattered was that I was in possession of a British passport and that this legally entitled me to IMMEDIATELY obtain any and all work permits, social security cards, etc. without any questions whatsoever by any of the pencil-heads. (The thing that got everyone confused in my case was that I was born in Canada but had a Brit passport -- comment ca?!)

In fact, the whole Carte de Séjour thing for EU-nats is supposed to be phased out one of these days soon; it's totally anachronistic and probably exists solely as a means of keeping these civil servants busy doing something. As for non-EU spouses "marrying in", I can't say for sure in all cases but from what I saw obtaining visas and everyhting else was a fairly automatic procedure once all the paper work was done & submitted.
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