Ah, love! It transcends borders, languages, and yes, even bureaucracy.

If your heart’s compass points to France and you’re tagging along with your spouse, let’s untangle the intricate web of the French spouse visa for you.

Obtain A French Spouse Visa For Long-Term Travel

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You should apply for a long-stay visa (often referred to as a VLS) if you are a non-EU citizen who is already married to your French spouse and intend to stay in France for longer than 90 days. 

The request should be made at the French consulate in the nation where you are currently residing. This can be either the nation where you currently have a legal right to dwell or your place of origin.

To settle in France, you should apply for the VLS first.

What Is A Long-Stay Visa?

The D-visa is another name for the long-stay visa (VLS). Given that you are married to a French national, you should apply for the Marriage 

You are allowed to enter France with a visa D and stay there for a minimum of three months and a maximum of one year.

You may be asking what a VLS-TS is, and it stands for Titre de SĂ©jour (Residence Permit). It implies that as long as your visa (VLS-TS) is valid, you do not need to apply for a residence permit in order to stay in France. 

Your French spouse’s visa serves as both a residence permit and a visa for extended stays. With the VLS-TS Vie Privée et Familiale, you are free to work in France.

How Do I Apply For A Spouse Visa In France?

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You must first register for an account on France-Visas in order to fill out the visa request form and review the necessary documentation, which varies depending on your nationality. 

Therefore, depending on your country of residence, it is imperative that you confirm the exact documents needed for your nationality with the French consulate or France Visas.

The entire copy of your French marriage certificate, made by the French government (depending on where you got married), is among the documents frequently needed for this French spouse visa. 

Additionally, your partner must present evidence of his or her French nationality, such as a birth certificate, in the form of supporting documents.

On the France-Visas website, you can schedule a meeting with the French Consulate in the nation where you now reside.

You must show up to the appointment in person with all the required paperwork and a fully completed, signed request form. If you are applying for a visa for the first time to France, your biometric information will be taken.

Good To Know

  • You should submit your visa application no later than three months before to the day you intend to travel.
  • The consulate advises against making any travel plans until your visa has been approved.
  • The French spouse visa can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months to arrive, depending on the consulate or France visa office.
  • On your France-Visas account, you can monitor the status of your visa application.

The PACS (the French civil partnership) does not automatically grant the right to a visa to enter France, unlike the wedding. It will be considered, but it doesn’t ensure that the visa (or residence permit) will be approved.

What Should You Do If You Have A French Spouse Visa And Arrive In France?

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You do not need to apply for a residence permit during your first year in France if you have the VLS-TS Vie Privée et Familiale.

However, you must register with the OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration) and validate your visa online within the first three months of your arrival.

You must submit the following details:

  • Visa information for you
  • your arrival date in France
  • your French residential address
  • your credit or debit card to pay the delivery tax for a residency permit (250 euros for spouses of French citizens).

You will receive a receipt, which you must present as proof of payment for tax purposes. Save this document, please. The collection of your residence permit will be required.

A medical appointment and an appointment with OFII to sign a Contract of Integration (CIR) will also be scheduled for you.

Warning: If you don’t renew your visa within three months, you can’t continue to stay in France lawfully.

How Can I Keep From Having To Apply For A Second French Spouse Visa?

You and your French partner have been living in France for about a year, and in the coming two months, your VLS-TS will expire.

You must apply for a “Vie privĂ©e et familiale” residence permit in order to stay in France.  You don’t have to go back to your native country.

You must apply for a pluriannual residence permit at your neighbourhood Prefecture within the first year of residing in France and within the two months prior to the visa expiration date. The pluriannual permit has a two-year expiration date.

You will receive a receipt (known as a rĂ©cĂ©pissĂ©) after submitting your residence permit request to the Prefecture, but only if your dossier is complete. 

Your right to remain in France is granted by the récépissé for the duration specified on the document, which is typically 4 months but could occasionally be 6.

Unless specifically mentioned on the récepissé, the majority of residence permit petitions do not include a work authorization on the récepissé; however, the Vie Privée et Familiale permit request does.

Warning: Unlike a recĂ©pissĂ© for a residence permit renewal, the recĂ©pissĂ© for a first-time resident permit request does not grant permission to travel outside of France. 

This document won’t let you enter the country again if you leave; instead, depending on your nationality, you’ll need to apply for a visa.

Documents Needed To Apply For A Residency Permit

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The Code of the Entry and Residence Regulation and Asylum Right (Code de l’entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d’asile – Ceseda) governs the “Vie Privée et Familiale” long-stay visa, also known as the French spouse visa.

Personal documents

  • passport (pages containing the entrance stamp and personal information);
  • a birth certificate showing parental ties;
  • a marriage license and birth certificate with filiation information for your kids, if applicable (original documents plus certified translations into French by an appeals court in France).

Documentation of residence (less than three months old) with the spouse’s name

  • Those who are tenants:
    • A bill for energy services in your name, such as electricity, gas, water, landline phone, and Internet. WARNING: It’s common for the mobile phone bill to be rejected.
    • A lease or rental agreement that is less than three months old, subsequent invoices for rental payments
  • Proof of residency and a receipt for the preceding month’s rent are required if you are staying in a hotel or home.
  • If you are being hosted (and your name is not on the rental agreement), you will need the following documents:
    • a handwritten certificate of residence signed by your host
    • your host’s most recent utility bill
    • a copy of your host’s identification.
  • Three ID images that adhere to the Prefecture’s criteria, in the 35 mm x 45 mm format.
  • The residential permit tax payment receipt must be presented when picking up the permit. See the details down below.
  • Your Contract of Integration with the Republic, or CIR, attestation.
  • Your OFII health certificate, which you must present while picking up your residency permit.
  • A marriage license (original paperwork plus certified translations into French by an appeals court in France).
  • Your partner must have a valid French national ID card or a certificate of French nationality that is less than six months old as proof of their nationality.
  • A community of living: one written declaration, signed by both partners, attesting that you reside together, along with documents establishing your shared living arrangements for the previous year.

Note: If a partner has been convicted of violence, testimony, medical attestations, or other evidence, it is recommended that you present all available proofs (filing a complaint, partner’s conviction for violence, etc.). 

The “Vie Privée et Familiale” dwelling permit request is typically not allowed for other causes of disruption of the community of life.

Second Scenario: You’re Getting Married To Your French Spouse.

If you’re getting married, there will be a lot of paperwork to complete before you can live permanently in France.

The kind of administrative procedures and travel will vary depending on whether you get married in France or overseas.

What If You And Your French Partner Are Preparing To Get Married In France

Entering France On A Three-Month Tourist Visa For Short-Term Stays

Depending on your nationality, choosing this option will likely involve extra paperwork, travel, and expenses. But occasionally, one’s dreams and personal life come first!

Visiting France on a tourist visa to get married is not against French law. 

It is advised that you return home before your 90-day tourist visa ends in order to request a VLS-TS Vie Privée et Familiale at the French consulate. This will allow you to return to France with the appropriate visa.

Another option exists, but it is not advised because it assumes that you will remain in France for at least three months without the legal authority to do so. 

After six months of cohabiting with your French partner in France, you are eligible to apply for a Vie Privée et Familiale residence visa.

You must fulfill the three cumulative following conditions as specified by art in order to be able to perform this. 

The CESEDA’s L423-2 says:

You Should Have Been Married In France

Since that was your original strategy and perhaps even your dream, there shouldn’t be a problem. 

There was a lot of waiting and planning involved in this. If at all possible, get in touch with the city hall a few months in advance—I’d suggest six months—to avoid getting behind because paperwork needs time to arrive.

There can be more documentation required, depending on your nationality. Contacting the French consulate or the French city hall will get you the information you need for your particular circumstance.

Demonstrate Your Right To Enter France

You need ask for a “déclaration d’entrée sur le territoire français” as soon as you arrive at the French airport because you did not automatically pass through customs

Within the first three days of your arrival, you can either do it at the airport customs counter or the police station.

A stamp attesting to your arrival into France is required, along with, if necessary, a short-stay type C visa (certain nationalities are exempt from a tourist visa; for more information, contact the French consulate in your place of residence). 

Your passport will be stamped in France if your flight is direct.

You won’t receive the necessary stamp in France for your next administrative procedure if, however, you had a connecting trip and entered the Schengen area for the first time in a nation other than France.

3. Substantiate Six Months Of Prior Community Living

Documents that can be used to demonstrate a community of residence include (and must be on both names):

  • tax notification in French
  • power, gas, and internet bills
  • Rental agreement or property title
  • insurance document
  • photographs of the couple
  • Any form of contact that demonstrates that you were living together in France, including emails, SMS messages, and Whatsapp
  • relatives’ and friends’ testimonies

If you want to go this route, you will have to fork over an additional 200 euros through a fiscal stamp for the legalization of your status. 

50 euros must be paid at the time of the request (non-refundable), and the remaining 150 euros must be paid when picking up the residence permit.

If you intend to enter France on a different type of long-term visa, such as the EU Blue Card, it will depend on your circumstances and potential employment opportunities. 

As a result, you are free to remain in France following the nuptials and request a change of status to Vie Privée et Familiale.

It can be done within two months of the visa expiration date, just like with any other change of status. If there are no alternative long-term visa options that fit their needs, some people decide to apply for a visitor long-stay visa.

As opposed to the Vie Privée et Familiale visa, the tourist visa does not permit employment, and you must demonstrate that you will be able to support yourself financially in France without a job.

What If You Have Another Residency Visa And Are In France

If the three requirements listed above are met, you can also apply for a Vie Privée et Familiale residency permit.

You must submit a request for a change of status two months prior to the current permit’s expiration date.

This entails applying for a different category of residency permit rather than renewing your current one. The procedure outlined in the first section can be followed.

What If You And Your French Partner Intend To Wed Outside Of France

This option will enable you to apply for a VLS-TS immediately at the French consulate in your country of residency, allowing you to skip applying for a short–stay visa (depending on your nationality as some nationalities are exempt).

You can do this to save time and money. You have two options for this:

Obtaining A Marriage License From A French Government Agency

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If you get married at a French consulate or embassy (depending on the two nations), France will automatically recognize your union.

You will be given a Livret de Famille and a French marriage certificate, which you can use to apply for the Vie Privée et Familiale VLS-TS as described in the first section of this article.

The celebration of a marriage in a French embassy or consulate is quite uncommon.

Before finalizing your arrangements, please confirm with the French Embassy of your nation that they can carry it out and obtain the necessary papers, as this can differ from one country to the next.

The Certificat de capacitĂ© Ă  mariage that is required for your French partner can take quite a while to obtain when you opt to get married abroad (whether you choose to do so with the French administration or the local one). 

It may take two to three months to get this certificate.

Getting Married Via The Local Administration

If you choose to get married outside of France, whether at home or in a third country, then the local civil registrar will be present. The French consulate where the marriage took place must transcribe the registrary in order for the marriage certificate to be accepted in France. 

You will receive a French marriage certificate as well as a Livret de Famille when your marriage certificate has been transcripted. So, as described in the first section, you can file a Vie privée et familiale visa request.

Contact the consulate directly to learn more about the pertinent procedure since it can vary from one nation to another.

If My Spouse Is French, Am I Allowed To Live In France?

You can live in France if you apply for a Vie Privée et Familiale (French Spouse Visa) at the French Consulate in your present country of residence.

You must convert your French Spouse Visa into a residence permit once you have arrived in France.

Does A French Spouse Visa Allow Me To Work?

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Yes, you can work in France with the Vie PrivĂ©e et Familiale Spouse Visa without applying for a work authorization from the DIRECCTE, which is the regional office of the French Ministry of Labor. 

However, if you enter France on a visitor’s visa, you are not permitted to work there.

How Much Time Does It Take To Process A French Spouse Visa?

The French spouse visa can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months to arrive, depending on the consulate or France visa office. On your France-Visas account, you can monitor the status of your visa application.

If I Marry, Am I Allowed To Remain In France?

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Yes. You can change your status at your local Prefecture if you are eligible to enter France on another visa. Another option is to travel to France to get married while on a tourist visa. France does not have a unique marriage visa.

What Prerequisites Must Be Met In Order To Apply Directly For A French Spouse Permit In France?

After six months of residing in France with your French partner, you may apply for a Vie PrivĂ©e et Familiale residence permit, which is the equivalent of a French spouse visa. 

You must fulfil the three requirements listed below, in that order: demonstrate that the marriage occurred in France, obtain legal admission into France, and complete six months of joint living in France with your French spouse.


Navigating the realm of romance and paperwork is no easy feat, but armed with this knowledge, you’re well on your way. Your love story in France is just a visa stamp away. Vive l’amour!

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