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French visa to join a relative or spouse in France

Updated: Sep 9, 2022


You are eligible to apply for a French family reunification visa if you are traveling to France to join a relative or a spouse who is already living there.

You may apply for a French family reunification visa if you have relatives in France. This would allow you to join a relative or partner who is already living in France. These are determined by a variety of different criteria, including the nationality of your relative, the sort of French permit they have, and the length of time they have resided there.

If you are a citizen of the European Union/European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you do not need a visa to enter France. Read this information if you are a citizen of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland and are migrating to France.

Relatives of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

Even if you aren't from any of those countries yourself, you could be able to move to France if you have a relative who is a citizen of the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland and is already residing there.

If you apply for a tourist visa at the embassy or consulate and provide a trip itinerary, a marriage certificate (if one is required), and evidence of the nationality of your spouse, you may be granted a visa that is valid for up to ninety days. You will need to apply for a family reunification visa to extend your stay beyond the first 90 days (see below).

In our guide for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals relocating to France, you'll find information about family reunification for relatives of citizens of other countries in the EU/EEA/Switzerland.

Relatives of non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals

Under the following criteria, spouses and minor children under the age of 18 may apply to join family members already residing in France who are not nationals of the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland:

If you are planning to join a family member who already resides in France, that family member must have a valid residence visa for at least one year and must have been residing in France for at least 18 months (12 months for Algerians).

Your relative has to have sufficient funds (an amount that is equivalent to the monthly minimum income, which is 1,149 Euros for a household of two to three persons, 1,272 Euros for a family of four or five, and 1,387 Euros for a family of six or more).

There ought to be plenty of space for you: The minimum required living space for a couple in France is between 22 and 28 square meters, while the minimum required living space for an additional person is 10 square meters.

To apply, a member of your family must go in person to either the OFII office (which is required in the majority of countries) or the offices of the Direction départementale des affaires sanitaires et sociales (DDASS), which is the local department responsible for medical and social services. They may be required to provide evidence that they are financially stable, and the accommodation may be examined.

You will be able to join your relative in France if your application is approved; however, you will be required to obtain a long-stay visa from the French embassy or consulate in your home country, which is valid for one year and also functions as a residence card. For more information regarding the French visa system, see Expatica's guide (VLS-TS). The visa does not have any associated costs. You are required to enter France within three months of receiving the visa, and you are required to register with the local branch of the OFII (Office Francais de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration) within two months of arriving in France. Both of these requirements must be met to maintain your status as a visa holder. If you want to remain in the country for more than a year, you are required to apply for a residency card, also known as a carte de séjour.

Residents of Armenia, Cameroon, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, and Turkey are required to pass a medical examination upon arrival in France. However, this examination must first be completed in the resident's home country before traveling to France.

Special status for families of certain occupations

Your family is automatically granted a 'private and family life' residence permit at the same time, for the duration of the spouse's stay, if your relative holds a residence permit that is labeled as a 'talent passport,' which includes an 'employee on assignment,' a 'research scientist,' or an EU Blue Card. This permits your family to work without the need for a work permit.

Families of individuals who have moved to France to invest at least 10 million Euros and produce at least 50 new employees are eligible for the Passport Talent visa, which grants them a residence card valid for 10 years due to their outstanding economic contribution.

Relatives of French nationals

You are eligible to join a family member already residing in France if you are one of the following:

● in a long-term committed relationship with a French national spouse (your marriage must have been registered in the French Civil Register even if it took place outside of France)

● you are the parent of a French minor kid who is now residing in France and you have been contributing to his or her maintenance and education for at least one full year.

● the kid of French citizens who were born outside of France and who is either under the age of 21 or still lives with their parents.

● the dependant parent of a French national or spouse who is at least 18 years old.

If you are a citizen of the European Union or the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, or Algeria, you can apply for a long-stay visa once you have arrived in France. If you are a citizen of any other country, however, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa at the French embassy or consulate in your home country. You are required to provide a notarized copy of your marriage certificate, as well as evidence that your spouse is a French citizen and that the marriage was properly registered with the French authorities (e.g., a copy of a French ID card, or birth certificate).

Relatives of asylum seekers

If your family member has been awarded refugee status in France, you may be able to join them there if you are either their spouse (having been married before the refugee status was granted) or their minor kid who has not been married (up to the age of 19).

When you arrive in France

You have three months from the time you arrive in France to get in touch with the OFII. Once they receive your request, they will do a medical check, provide you with a residency card, and may ask you to sign the Contrat d'Accueil et d'Intégration (CAI). You have one year to fulfill the terms of this agreement with France, which has as its stated goal the "establishment of a relationship of trust and mutual duty" between the two of you.

During this period, you are required to attend seminars (in your language) on France's political and administrative organizations, the ideals of French society (such as secularism and equality), and information about daily living in France. These sessions will be held in your native language. After having your language abilities evaluated, you will either be issued a certificate (AMDFL) to exempt you from the need to complete a language course leading to a Diploma of Introduction to French (DILF) or you will be required to do a language course leading to a DILF.

In the following scenarios, you are exempt from signing the CAI:

● are an EU/EEA/Swiss national.

● having completed at least three years of secondary school education at a French-speaking educational institution located outside of France.

● if you are between the ages of 16 and 18 and have the right to a residence permit because you were born in France to parents who are not French, you now live in France, and you have made France your primary home for at least five years since you were 11 years old.

● are accompanying a family member who already resides in France with a work-related residence permit of a certain kind, such as one with the inscription "employee on assignment," "skills and abilities," or "Blue Card."

In 2015, in response to the enormous flood of migrants into France from countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Sudan, the French government revised the method for applying for asylum, making it faster and more streamlined. See the Guide for Asylum Seekers in France published by the French Ministry of the Interior for further details on the asylum application process in France (updated in November 2015).

For more information

DIRECCTE – here is the French language website for the French Labour Ministry Directions régionales des entreprises, de la competitiveness, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi. If you go to the primary website, you will be able to be transferred to the appropriate area in France.

OFII -– This is the website for the English language version of the L'office Francais de l'immigration et de l'intégration, which is the French government agency in charge of immigration (to see the website in English, click the "EN" in the upper right corner of the page). There are offices located all across France; check the website for the contact information of the office that is most convenient for you.

France Diplomatie – This page is the English version of the website for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it may be used to get further information about visas and migration to France.

ARS – this webpage is the French language website for the Agence Régionale de Santé and where you can discover your local Direction départementale des affaires sanitaires et sociales (DDASS).

Public-Service Oriented – This website is for the public services provided by the French government (in French). See this page for the contact information of your local mairie (town hall), as well as this page for the contact information of other local departments and public services.



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