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What do I need before leaving?

Are you a non-EU citizen 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 residence permit valid for at least one year or a resident permit (carte de résident) valid for 10 years.

Family members who may benefit from family reunification are:
  • your spouse of at least 18 years old (partners are excluded);
  • minor legitimate children (natural or adopted).

More on eligible family members

The “skills and talents”, “EU Blue Card,” “employee on assignment” and “scientist-researcher” temporary residence permits provide full rights to a “private and family life” permit for family members accompanying a non-EU national. They do not have to go through the family reunification procedure. The 'private and family life' residence permit must be issued within six months of their request. This residence permit automatically grants the right to work.



Application for Family Reunification

Where and how to apply

You must apply for family reunification to the local OFII office.

The OFII is responsible for the initial examination of the application and checking that the file is complete before referring to the competent authorities (Préfecture, town hall, French consulates).

The mayor of the municipality of residence is responsible for assessing your living arrangements and resources. At the Prefect's request, the mayor may also give his opinion on your respect for the principles governing family life in France.

The Prefect takes the final decision and notification must be received within six months, after which the application will be considered as rejected.

Documents required You must prove that you have:
  • stable and sufficient resources to provide for the needs of your family (at least the average of the monthly minimum wage (SMIC - Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance), plus 10% extra for families of four-five persons and 20% extra for families of six persons or more); and
  • accommodation considered to be equivalent to that of a comparable family living within the same geographic area.
You must be integrated to French society and comply with the principles of family life in France.

More on conditions you must meet
Rejection of application Family members posing a threat to public order or suffering from an illness listed in the International Health Regulations may be refused family reunification. A medical examination is performed by the OFII.
Appeals An appeal may be filed against the refusal of a family reunification application with the Prefect, before the Minister of the Interior, or before the competent administrative court.

More on administrative appeals
Visa and 'private and family life' residence permit
Where and how to apply An application for a long-stay visa must be lodged at a French Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin as soon as possible after approval of the Prefect has been obtained. Family reunification must take place within three months of the visa being issued. Family members must take a test on their knowledge of the values and language of the French Republic's values before leaving their country of origin.
Further requirements Upon arrival in France, the OFII is responsible for the reception of family members and organising the medical examination. Family members, children over 16 years old and spouses must sign the Reception and Integration Contract (Contract d'accueil et d'intégration). Respect for the contract's content will be taken into consideration on renewal of the residence permit.

The parents of a child who entered the country under a family reunification arrangement must sign a Reception and 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



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

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 of a resident permit are:
  • threat against public order;
  • polygamy;
  • conviction for abuse of a minor of less than 15 years.

The application must be made to the Préfecture or the sous-Préfecture of the place of residence or the Police Headquarters for non-EU citizens residing in Paris.

Refusal decisions can be appealed to the Prefect, hierarchically before the Minister of the Interior, or before the competent administrative court within two months of notification of the disputed decision.

Long-term residence An EU long-term residence permit may be granted if the applicant has legally and continuously resided on French territory for at least the last five years [see Article L. 314-8 of the «Code de l'entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d'asile» (CESEDA) for the list of who is eligible for this residence permit].

He/she must show:
  • regular, sufficient and stable financial means, at least equivalent to the minimum wage (SMIC - Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance);
  • medical insurance; and
  • adequate accommodation.
His/her integration to French society will be assessed in terms of his/her commitment to respect the principles governing the French Republic and level of proficiency of the French language.

The EU long-term 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 country under the facilitated procedure of Directive 2003/109/CE.

The permit will be refused for non-compliance with delivery conditions. It will also be refused for the following reasons:
  • threat to public order;
  • polygamy;
  • conviction for abuse of a minor under 15 years.
Applications must be filed with the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture of the place of residence or at the Police headquarters if he/she lives in Paris.

Long-term residents must sign a Reception and Integration contract (Contrat d’accueil et d'intégration), if they have not already done so for the previously held residence permit. The contract is valid for one year. The OFII monitors the contract and checks that information and training requirements have been complied with (integration and language proficiency).

More on the EU long-term residence permit