Carte de Séjour - Family Member of EU citizen -feedback

Advance apologies. This feedback (on the issuing of a ‘Carte de Séjour/Family Member of EU citizen’) is perhaps only relevant to a few members. Compared to other CdS issues aired on this forum, it must be at the least ‘troublesome’ end of the spectrum! However I hope that the remarkable ease with which the CdS was issued may be reassuring to any others thinking of going down this route in future.

My wife is from Luxembourg, I’m British and we arrived in France in July 2021. The local Préfecture played the entire process absolutely by the book, bang in line with the requirements of the EU regulations (strictly speaking, they probably had little choice!) The CdS was processed within a mere 3 weeks of my interview.

The only hitches were the Préfecture lady’s initial insistence, then dropped, that as a Brit I should be doing the entire CdS application process online. I assume she possibly thought I was a Withdrawal Agreement case?There was also a slight case of pursed lips when I appeared a) alone, ie unaccompanied by my EU citizen wife, b) without an entry visa and c) not meeting ‘income requirements’.

I pointed out, hopefully very politely, that whilst my EU wife’s presence (without whom I would not be legally residing in France) was totally logical, it wasn’t actually a requirement (or even hinted at) per either the Interior Ministry or Préfecture websites. I also didn’t need a visa coming from the UK for various reasons. I was able to show her evidence of savings from bank accounts in lieu of income ‘requirements’, and she didn’t pursue any of these points.

It’s remarkable how the receipt of a small plastic card now makes me feel far more settled, ie that I’m officially regularised 'in the system:….

I hope others in the same boat have/have had similar positive experiences….?

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Nice to post when something goes right!!

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Good it went well for you.

In these cases it’s always worth mentioning which Departement as on occasion Prefectures, to put it politely, have been reported as taking approaches that differ from others.

I think it’s Seine-Maritime… from an earlier thread.

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The ‘guilty’ Département in this case is indeed Seine Maritime…

However I admit I hesitated to include the Département’s name in my original post for one technical reason. Most unusually, it seems that individual EU member states (implicitly let alone Départements) have very little discretion to grant/not grant EU nationals/families their CdS. The right derives from EU regulations.The French Ministerial instructions to Préfets on this specific issue warned Départements that implementation of the EU directive, including the need to promptly issue CdS, is the subject of vigilant oversight by both the EU Commission and Parliament.

That said, I was still astonished by the speed the Préfecture issued my CdS (3 weeks).

Scarily the Seine Maritime Préfecture had on its computer records a CdS I’d been granted, and had quite forgotten about, when living in Paris 25 years ago! How many other countries would have such impressive records, you wonder…

@george1 thanks for this post, my wife, daughter and I are in the same boat. I hold a Spanish passport but my wife and daughter both hold British ones. We have been here for 3 months now and are still waiting for an appointment from the prefeture.

I have a question that is troubling me and I’m finding it hard to get a response from my hand holder that we’ve paid to help us with the application.

We plan to visit family in Spain very soon, my worry is, without a TdS can my wife and daughter leave then re-enter France having spent more that 90 days here still with no TdS in hand?

Anyone know the answer or know of any official source of info that can clear this up for me?

Thanks in advance.

I’m sorry to hear of the difficulties you’re experiencing. Apologies in advance if you’ve already done/considered the below…(and for the length of this post!)

The key to unlocking this (officially) is obtaining the legal waiver of the 90 day deadline, both for remaining in, and subsequent re-entry into France, which should (theoretically) automatically happen (by email) as and when your wife succeeds in getting that critical appointment with the prefecture. I received exactly this waiver when in your wife’s position, as have others on this forum…

Forgive me for asking but I assume a) your wife is not yet in breach of the 90 day threshold and b) she’s tried repeatedly to secure an appointment through the prefecture’s online appointment booking system (assuming your prefecture operates its appointments that way?). If so,and you’re not getting an available slot,(availabilities can appear often seemingly at random) is there an email address for queries on carte de séjours (CdS) at the Bureau des Étrangers at the prefecture, and have you contacted them this way? The relevance is that there is then both a time and date as proof of your wife’s intentions to apply.

Under the EU regulations dealing with EU family CdS, (2004/38/CE), the host authority is required under Article 10 to deliver a receipt for the application appointment. “Une attestation du dépôt de la demande de carte de séjour est délivrée immédiatement.” This they are manifestly failing to do. It might be appropriate for your Mairie to contact the prefecture, and to raise this point, as they may have official or ‘back channels’ to them .If you/the Mairie point out that your wife has done her side of the bargain, has tried to apply etc and urgently requires the receipt and waiver, it may be that the Mairie knows the right person/team at the prefecture to direct this email. They should at least get a response, or perhaps be looked at as a greater priority than from a member of the public.

One final option is to involve the private office of your MEP in Spain. Oversight of the implementation of EU regulation (2004/38/CE) is officially in the hands of both the EU Parliament and the Commission, a fact fully acknowledged by France’s Ministry of the Interior in instructions I have seen to Prefets encouraging them to correctly implement the regulations. A call or email to the prefecture from your MEPs office might well unlock things .…

Obviously there is no guarantee of success, unfortunately, but the above represents my best understanding of how to increase the chances of getting the waiver. Others on the forum may have additional (better?!) ideas…or disagree…

Best of luck.Please let us know how you get on.

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@george1 thanks so much for your reply. I will go to the Marie as the handholding service I’m using is taking far too long to respond to me or provide proof that I have applied for a meeting with the prefecture.

We’ll get there I’m sure. Thanks again.

Just had my interview at the prefecture in Angoulême Charente. Like George I thought it would be helpful to share my experience. Judging from the number of applications for Irish passports last year I think there must be many in the same position as myself with an EU spouse.
When we first came over we had to manage without decent internet access for two months which doesn’t help when so much administration is now done online. The only way to make an appointment is to use the prefecture website.
So if was starting again I’d make my appointment while still in the UK.
My second mistake was to assume I was a European citizen, this was pointed out to me on another thread, but as a result I was accessing the wrong part of the site.
Anyway I managed to arrange an interview for 7 months after arriving…
I had my file ready with proof of income health insurance and property ownership. My only problem here was not having a recent utility bill. I did manage to find a letter from Spanc which saved the day.
I was asked if I had a visa. I said no and that was just accepted. The one thing the interviewer insisted on was that my wife must be present (she had just wandered off to the toilets),. I know it has been mentioned somewhere on another thread but I had forgotten that I need an official copy of my marriage certificate and that this with my birth certificate must be submitted with a French translation. So I 'm not sure who I should get to do the translation. Does it need to be an officially recognised translator with a rubber stamp or can it be anyone?
So I need to get that done as quickly as possible and I should then receive another appointment to pick up the Carte de Séjour within 1 or 2 months
The interview lasted exactly one hour. I had wisely chosen a nine o clock appointment so I didn’t have to wait for someone else to finish there was a big queue when we left.
On the whole the interview went well. The interviewer was polite and pleasant and didn’t appear too upset at my atrocious French. Her English was excellent. The worst aspect was it was cold. They are obviously taking seriously the govt requirements regarding keeping temperatures at 19c

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Geoffrey, I’m delighted for you that the Prefecture meeting went well. Your feedback will be really useful for others in the same situation.

They are completely wrong to insist on a birth certificate. They are quite possibly confusing this requirement with the need to provide this document for anybody seeking to demonstrate that their accompanying parent (for example) is an EU national etc. Similarly there is absolutely no requirement whatsoever to translate a UK government document into French for this purpose. English fortunately (!) remains one of the official languages of the EU (thanks to Ireland). This is an EU regulation that gives you the CdS, so this point is highly relevant.

There is also a complicated lengthy table that the French government produces that lists what documents need translation (unfortunately I can’t lay my hands on it) but it makes it clear that UK official marriage certificates do not need translation for this purpose. I would emphasise the EU official language point. If they persist (hopefully unlikely) invite them to show you where in EU regulation 2004/38/CE there is any requirement to translate your official English language marriage certificate. They won’t find it!

I’ve attached (see below) both the above regulations in English, together with a handy table in French that many prefectures issue that makes clear what documents can be requested. You’ll see the point about marriage and birth certificates in section 2.5.

Although now academic, there is absolutely no EU regulatory requirement for your wife to be present,albeit it’s obviously helpful in this scenario.

Best of luck with Round 2 of your CdS application process. Do let us know how you get on…

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Citoyens-UE-EEE-Suisses-et-membres-de-leur-famille.pdf (172.4 KB)

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EU Directive 2004 38 ENG.pdf (188.1 KB)

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Are you sure about this? Firstly, Geoffrey is, of course, not an EU citizen any more so falls into a different camp.

A different experience but for my French nationality application despite legislation saying that dematerialised documents are accepted as are English language certificates everything had to be certified originals and with certified translations. I made a small attempt to fight my corner, but then accepted that what Préfecture says is paramount if I want my dossier dealt with.

I am going back before Brexit so may no longer apply, but when we went for our CdS it was January 2nd. I was putting together our final paperwork over Christmas when I realised I should have got official French translations of our marriage and birth certificates. It was impossible to get a translator at that late stage, so I prepared my own French translation using google and reverso which is good for technical / official language. I made my work look as official as possible, signed it and dated it. My translations were accepted without a murmur. But I had no choice and got away with it. If you have time / funds then probably a certified translator (I think it’s a traducteur assermenté - see Pages Jaunes).

I’ve uploaded a couple of pdf files showing what I produced. In fact, if you think about it, the translation skills required to translate birth and marriage certificates are minimal because the documents are mainly names and addresses and dates. Hope this helps. It might mean you can prepare them yourself and then wave them under the nose of an official translator and just get their stamp on them.
Marriage certificate full translation example.pdf (136.6 KB)
Sue birth certificate full translation example.pdf (133.8 KB)

I had to translate some documents using a traducteur agréé. They weren’t cheap but they were very quick and they emailed me an electronic copy of my documents whilst the hard copy arrived in the post a few days later. If you do need to go down that route I can dig out their details if you’d like them.

Jane. I am absolutely certain Geoffrey does not need a translation of his marriage certificate.

The fact that he is not an EU citizen does not actually matter for this purpose… As I understand it, Geoffrey’s wife is an EU citizen (through having an Irish passport.) Assuming this fact is accurate, Geoffrey is applying for a CdS under EU regulation 2004/38/CE for those non EU citizens who are accompanying EU citizens. This very practical regulation is binding on all EU countries. Nowhere does it require translation of official government documents (especially those that are already in an official language of the EU- that would be discriminatory!!).

France may well impose translation requirements for non EU related CdS categories/French citizenship etc but it has absolutely no discretion to do so in the very specific area of issuing CdS for those accompanying EU citizens to reside in an EU member state. Geoffrey simply has to prove the marriage link to his EU citizen wife (plus obviously the various income/medical insurance etc etc).

In fact the EU was sufficiently concerned that countries might try and ‘gold plate’ requirements and/or discriminate, that both the EU Commission and EU Parliament actively monitor member state compliance with this regulation - to keep countries ‘honest’. The French Ministry of the Interior advises Prefectures about this oversight from the EU and actively encourages Prefectures to issue such CdS as quickly as possible…

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Geoffrey - do stand your ground on the translation point. I’ve just re-read the entirety both of the EU regulations I’ve attached above (47 pages!) and the document issued by prefectures listing what information should be provided. There is no requirement whatsoever for translation of supporting documents. It would also be highly discriminatory for EU procedures to require this of a document that is already in an official EU language…!

I have also reread the guidance instructions from the French Ministry of the Interior (below) to prefectures on issuing CdS to spouses etc of EU citizens. The ONLY relevant comment in this lengthy document concerns the issue of marriage certificates issued by another country where there is doubt about their validity. I would assume this is not remotely relevant in your case!

Good luck.

CdS ministerial guidance.pdf (1.3 MB)

All very well, but as we found before brexit when we were getting our CdS individual prefectures very much go their own way with what they do/don’t require. Others on here could not believe the hoops we were going through with Lot & Garonne prefecture and kept telling me how simple it was. On the day, we each had huge folders full of paperwork. It meant our process went through unbelievably easily.

As Jane has says above:

This is not the moment to stand one’s ground but to get the paperwork done and move on with the rest of one’s life. :slight_smile:

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I’m with Sue on this one. You need to make a decision whether to push back, potentially delaying the process, or pay the money for translations. Most charge around €25/page for certificates and a price per word for free text.

I believe George, as he has examined it so carefully, but I’m also pragmatic about choosing winnable fights.

I used this very nice woman, but the link is also to the whole directory of approved translators.

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I can only agree with @JaneJones and @SuePJ on this one. I was asked to provide documents that weren’t on the official list both when exchanging my driving licence and getting married in France. Both were long before Brexit but, unfortunately, it was the only way to get the job done. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do what is asked.
Izzy x

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