Does French nationality help wife’s residency right

I have taken French nationality but my wife, who is also British, has not. Does my double nationality simplify things to make sure she can stay in France as well?  G.M.

27 February 2019
By Oliver Rowland

Generally speaking, Britons who were living in France before Brexit as EU citizens are expected to be advised to go through the same procedures to benefit from any special measures.

That applies in the context of a deal – if one is still possible – or any no-deal law passed by France.

Usually, being married to a French person does simplify residency matters for a non-EU foreigner – as Britons would be considered after Brexit, especially if there is no deal and no transition period.

In this case, usually the non-EU citizen should first have come to France using a VLS-TS (visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour), which they can obtain from a French consulate in the country of their nationality, allowing them to stay in France for one year. After one year, they may then apply for a two-year carte de séjour on the basis of vie privée et familiale, which costs €269.

Visa requirement may be waived under certain conditions, including having been married in France.

This might be the case after a no-deal Brexit, as France has said it wants to make it easy for Britons who have been in France less than five years to apply for one of the usual cards for non-EU residents.

Britons resident in France for at least five years are expected to be able to apply for a special kind of resident’s card.

After three years in France, the non-EU spouse may apply for a 10-year resident’s card.

Unlike other kinds of residency permit for non-EU citizens – which may require proof of income or having a job, for example, or alternatively being self-sufficient and promising not to work – the ones mentioned above are delivered on the basis of living
with a French person.

Proof must be provided that the spouse does do so.

Note that being married to a French person can – after at least four years of marriage – also make it easier for a spouse to obtain French nationality, by “declaration” as opposed to “naturalisation”.

Send your queries about life in France by email to: news@connexionfrance.com

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