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What do I need before leaving?

Are you a non-EU citizen legally living in France and would you like to bring your non-EU family members to live with you there? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights your family members can enjoy during their stay.

If you have been legally resident in France for at least 18 months, you may apply for family reunification. You must hold a/an:

  • temporary residence permit valid for at least one year;
  • ten-year residence permit;
  • "long-term resident – EU” residence permit;
  • acknowledgement of requests to renew one of these residence permits.

Family members who may benefit from family reunification are:

  • the sponsor’s spouse of at least 18 years old (also same sex spouses; partners and registered partners are excluded);
  • the minor children of the sponsor and of his/her spouse (natural or adopted);
  • the minor children of the sponsor and of his/her spouse if filiation is established only with regard to one of the parents;
  • the minor children of the sponsor and of his/her spouse if one parent is deceased or has been deprived of parental rights;
  • the minor children of the sponsor and of his/her spouse over whom they have parental authority by virtue of a foreign jurisdiction.

More on conditions eligible family members

Specific provisions for family members of international “talents”:

Family members of sponsors who are an “employee on assignment” (intra corporate transfer), a “scientist-researcher” or holders of an “EU Blue Card” do not have to go through the family reunification procedure. They can apply for their residence permit without proof of resources and accommodation. The Law on the Right of Foreigners of 7 March 2016 (law No. 2016-274) introduced a multiyear residence permit for “talents” and their family members called “family talent passport” (passeport talent (famille)) in order to attract qualified foreigners. This new residence permit is issued for a maximum duration of four years. The period of validity is equal to the one of the sponsor’s permit. The “family talent passport” automatically grants the right to work.


Application for Family Reunification

Where and how to apply

You have to submit your application for family reunification personally to the local office of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII).

The OFII is responsible for the initial examination of the application and the checking of the file’s completeness before transmitting it to the mayor of the municipality of the future place of residence of the family.

The mayor of the municipality of residence is responsible for the assessment of the required accommodation and resources conditions. The mayor may also give his opinion on the respect for the fundamental principles governing family life in France.

The prefect takes the final decision. The applicant should be notified of the decision within six months after the submitting of the complete file. The absence of a response within this delay should be deemed to constitute a decision of refusal.
Documents required

The documents required are listed in annexe 1 of the application form.

You must prove that you have:

  • stable resources which are sufficient to maintain your family (at least the equal to the amount of the guaranteed monthly minimum wage (SMIC - Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance) and which are increased depending on the number of family members;
  • accommodation considered as normal for a comparable family in the same region.

More on conditions you must meet

Rejection of application

Further, your application for family reunification can be rejected if you do not respect the fundamental principles governing family life in France and/or if your family members constitute a threat to public policy.

A medical examination is performed by the OFII.

Appeals An appeal against refusal of a family reunification application can be lodged to the prefect and/or to the higher authority which is the Minister of the Interior. In the event of failure to obtain satisfaction, an appeal can also be lodged to the competent administrative court.
Visa and 'private and family life' residence permit
Where and how to apply Family members require for the legitimate entry into France a valid long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit. The application for a long-stay visa can be lodged at a the competent French Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin upon the date of receipt for filing the application for family reunification at the OFII. Family members who have entered regularly into France by virtue of family reunification receive a temporary residence permit with the mention "private and family life" for a duration of one year. This residence permit authorizes the exercise of any professional activity.
Further requirements

Upon arrival in France, the OFII is responsible for the reception of the family members and the medical examination.

The first step of the individual integration pathway is the signature of the so-called ‘Republican Integration Contract’ (contrat d’intégration républicaine) which came into force on 1 July 2016. The ‘Republican Integration Contract’ entails a personalized integration path of five years.

In the course of the reception at the OFII, the family member is interviewed in order to assess his/her personal situation, needs and language level. As a result of this interview a compulsory civic training of two days and, if necessary, a language training depending on the individual level are prescribed.

The parents of a child who entered the country under a family reunification arrangement must sign a ‘Republican Integration Contract’ for the family, which includes training on rights and obligations and respect for compulsory education.
Duration of validity of permits

Family members receive a private and family life permit that is valid for one year and renewable.

Further information

More on family reunification

Bringing your family to France


Ten-year residence permit (carte de résident de 10 ans)

If you hold a ten-year residence permit, your spouse and children (in the year after their 18th birthday) may also be granted a ten-year residence permit after an uninterrupted stay of three years on the French territory provided that they entered the country under a family reunification arrangement and that they abided by the laws and regulations.

The ten-year residence permit is valid for ten years, and is renewable.

The family member has to fulfil the requirement of “Republican integration” which is assessed in the frame of the above-mentioned ‘Republican Integration Contract’. The degree of integration into French society is assessed by examining the individual's commitment to respect the principles of the French Republic and testing for sufficient proficiency in French.

Grounds for refusal are:

  • threat to public order;
  • polygamy;
  • conviction for abuse of a minor aged 15 or younger.
The application must be made to the prefecture or the sous-prefecture of the place of residence or the police headquarters for non-EU citizens residing in Paris.

Refusal decisions can be appealed to the prefect or to the Minister of the Interior, or to the competent administrative court within two months of notification of the disputed decision.
"EU long-term resident” residence permit (carte de résident portant la mention "résident de longue durée-UE")

A "EU long-term resident” residence permit may be granted if the applicant has legally and continuously resided on the French territory for at least five years. [see article L. 314-8 of the Code on Entry and residence of Foreigners and Right of Asylum («Code de l'entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d'asile » (CESEDA) for the list of persons eligible for this residence permit].


  • regular, sufficient and stable financial resources, at least equivalent to the minimum wage (SMIC - Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance);
  • health insurance; and
  • suitable accommodation.

Your integration to French society will be assessed in terms of your commitment to respect the principles governing the French Republic and your sufficient proficiency of the French language.

The EU long-term resident residence permit is valid for ten years and is renewable.

It gives access to employment and vocational training and allows its holder to apply for the right to reside in another EU Member State under the facilitated procedure of Directive 2003/109/CE.

The permit will be refused for:

  • non-compliance with issuance conditions;
  • threat to public order;
  • polygamy;
  • conviction for abuse of a minor aged 15 or younger.
Applications must be filed with the prefecture or sous-prefecture of the place of residence or at the pPolice headquarters if he/she lives in Paris.

More on the EU long-term residence permit