(asked by Jainiz from the US)
I am an American girl married to a French man. My three months here have expired, is there any way I can get the carte de résident without having to travel back to the US? Can an immigration attorney help me get legalize? Or is this possible? I just don’t want to go back and forth, its costly.
Come on people, I want to help you. I really do. But you have to help me help you. Why don’t you start by using this big organ that you have behind your eyes? Just once and I would be happy…
So, if I understand correctly, you got married to a French guy while on your three month stay as a tourist (did you meet him two months earlier?) and without researching anything about visas and residency beforehand? And now, you still don’t do any research –and neither your husband- and you’re simply asking me?
I mean, I know I’m trying to ridicule people less these days, but you’re not helping. Or was this just a mariage blanc in order to get residency? It’d better not, I have your real name and e-mail, if I ever get into trouble with the authorities, I could use this as leverage. You know how we are in France, denouncing our neighbors to the authorities is a very French tradition.
I’m getting sidetracked here.
So first things first. You won’t get a “carte de résident” just because you got married to a French citizen (come on, you didn’t even research that, this is becoming pretty embarrassing), unless you’re a EU citizen or you’re coming from a selected few other countries (Switzerland and some former French colonies in Africa). What you need first is a spouse visa aka “visa vie privée et familiale”. It will be valid for one year. After that, you’ll get a “titre de séjour.” The first one will also be valid one year, as well as the second one. After three years of marriage, then you can get a “carte de résident” (note that I said “you can” not “you will”, although for Americans, it’s rarely a problem). This one will last you 10 years.
And if you know a thing or two about visas, you know that one doesn’t get a visa for a country (let’s say France) while being in said country (let’s say France). If you need a visa for France you need to get it from abroad, and while, in theory, one can get visas for France from any French Embassy (well, actually Consulate) in the world, in practice, especially with spouse visas, it’s very unlikely you’ll get one from another consulate other than the one which your permanent address is affiliated to.
So, if you want a spouse visa, you’ll have to fly back home. Expensive? Yeah, this is why one plans these sorts of things ahead, and don’t go look on random people blogs after the facts.
Pain in the ass? Indeed it is. Actually this law is relatively new (2 years old) and is clearly aimed at one thing: preventing poor foreigners (Africans?) to marry French people as much as possible. You know how the current government is, he likes immigrants, but only if they’re rich… and possibly white. As it can’t say that explicitly, it finds other ways. For example, making you go back and forth to your country when you get married. You can’t afford it? Too bad for you, you can’t stay in France.
Yeah, I know, some people here don’t like it when I talk shit about the current government. Too bad, but hard to not mention it and not describe how villainous it is when dealing with such topics as France and foreigners (which is basically what this blog is about). Believe me, if I wrote a blog about flowers and horses, I wouldn’t talk so much about it (well, actually, I’d have a thing or two to say about its environmental policies).
Immigration attorneys? LOL I’m not even sure they exist in France (I mean, American style). Remember, in France, people don’t live with an attorney by their side and don’t spend half their lives in courthouses (guess what? I’ve never met an attorney, and I never set foot in a courthouse, and I hope it will stay this way as long as possible). And seriously, if you can afford one, you definitely can afford the round trip home.
Oh and by the way, a simple google search would have brought you there, and it would have saved you the embarrassment as well as a lot of time. (well, as I’m writing this months after you sent me that e-mail I assume that your situation has been settled one way or the other)