EU Partner CDS and one partner moving abroad for work

Hi there,

I am an EU citizen living in France and my Canadian partner has joined me here. After we PACSed she obtained a Carte de séjour en tant que membre de famille d’un Européen with validity of 5 years and worked here for the last year. Now, she has gotten a job offer from the Netherlands and is willing to move. For my job, I am going to stay in France for at least about 2 years more.

I now have a few questions and I am wondering whether anyone has any more or less substantiated answers:

  1. I assume that our PACS will remain valid even if we live apart in two separate EU countries?

  2. If she decides to move back to France, will she have to file for another CDS or will the current one (which is still valid for almost 4 years) still be valid?

  3. If 2.) is a no, she would have to apply for another CDS. In this case, will previous communal lives of at least 1 year suffice (i.e., the time we lived together in France so far) or will that period start anew if we live in separate countries?

  4. If 3.) is a no: Would anything stop us from remaining on the same rental contract here in France (as well as the apartment she will rent in the Netherlands)? I am not necessarily planning to leave our apartment here and this could come in very handy to prove common life should she decide to return. I know we will live separately, but we remain in a committed relationship and would frequently be together in France and the Netherlands.

I am struggling to find concrete information on this as it seems to be a not so straight-forward case. Any advice is highly appreciated!

Thank you!

I know nothing about this except to say will she be able to get the Dutch equivalent of a CdS in oder to live and work there, or will the fact that you will not be living together in the same country hinder or forbid that?

Apologies if she has already sorted that on the Dutch side in order to accept the offer there.

She will be entering on highly skilled migrant visa, so everything is sorted on the Dutch side

That’s good then, but just out of interest are the Dutch any easier on this sort of thing than the French, I always think of them as being a bit more laid back and less officious than certain other EU countries?

Not necessarily, I found the French process through PACS and CDS relatively straight-forward! But is is certainly less bureaucratic mess over there

Could be tricky because if you are pacsed you are supposed to reside together and be taxed as a unit. It might look, to a nasty cynical person, like a fiddle :slightly_smiling_face:

I know a little bit due to have gained nationality so spent time wandering through residence rules. This is not professional knowledge though, so would have to seek out more references to be sure.

Once you have been granted this carte de séjour they will not annul it unless you separate within the first three years (or do something dreadful, but leave that to one side!). So the issue for you is to maintain your vie commune - therefore (eg) keep all travel tickets etc to show you visit each other regularly.

Therefore maintaining the name on a lease is possibly sensible.

More difficult might be to renew it, as in general for many carte de séjour you only have the right to be out of France for 2 and sometime 3 years (and 5 for British WARP card holders). So depends how long she is plannimg to leave for as may then have to start afresh.

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I agree with Jane that you/your partner may need to start afresh with a new CdS if/when she returns to France. The reason is Article 11 of the EU regulations that govern this particular CdS.

Absences of only 6 months a year are tolerated, but there is a one-off maximum of 12 months if"posted’ to another EU state. I’d interpret this cautiously, as meaning when an employee is seconded by an employer to ANother EU country, not taking up an employment independently in another EU state.

Copy of the Regs in English for your information. Elsewhere it suggests a partnership has to have lasted for 3 years, as Jane says, plus at least one year has to have been in an EU state.

EU Directive 2004 38 ENG.pdf (188.1 KB)


You would also have to decide what to do about filing taxes. The avis d’imposition tends to be used as the ultimate proof of residence even though in theory fiscal residence and actual residence are not the same. Would she file in NL as a resident? If so I do not suppose she could also file a joint declaration with you in France as a resident and in fact it may be financiallydisadvantageous to you as a household if she did.
And there is also the social security/healthcare issue. You are not supposed to belong to two EU healthcare systems at the same time. If she is living and working in NL and covered by them, I believe that she should inform CPAM so that they will cancel her rights in France.
Perhaps when she comes back and join you in France you will decide to marry, which I think will solve the problem.

Isn’t PACs considered pretty much the same in France (except for death) so would marriage change anything? Would still need a CdS and would still need to show continuity of vie commune.

But yes the tax issue will make it apparent she is not here as would have to files as a mixed couple.

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This is my impression concerning PACS and marriage as well, but this should not be a big problem at all.

I am wondering, if we’d have to start with a new CDS application, would the previous 3 years we lived in France together (one of which PACSed) and sufficient proofs of a vie commune between two countries suffice here? The conditions for this do not seem to clearly state that it has the be 1 year of vie commune over the past 12 months (which is probably also unrealistic in many cases of family reunification).

I am sure you are right. I thought that marriage to an EU citizen gave the spouse the right to residence in France on the basis of regroupment familial from day one, I did not know you still had to prove vie commune.
That seems a little tough on couples who do not wish to live together before marriage.

What’s to stop them marrying? You don’t have to have any sort of vie commune before marrying.

But you need vie commune for a CDS!

My reading/assumption is that if your partner breaches the 6 months absence (from France) in a year rule (or a 12 month maximum for ‘special’ absences as defined) the qualifying clock is ‘reset to zero’. Standing back I understand the regulation is designed to facilitate non EU family members joining the EU national family member ie ‘accompanying’ them. It wasn’t presumably intended to cater for non EU family members heading off to a different EU state, unaccompanied by the EU national.

I assume that you joining your partner in the Netherlands, which would of course fit in the regulation, is not the right answer/the one you want!

Yes but the question was, if they got married, not having lived together, would that mean the non EU spouse was automatically entitled to family regroupment? I thought so, I thought a person had the right to join their EU spouse in France irrespective of how long they had been married/living together, but others are saying that marriage is not enough and they would still need to prove vie commune.

I don’t know, I’m guessing, but I’d have thought marriage is pretty conclusive. I mean you get married wherever and then set up home so maybe it’s only if one of the couple then buggers off to another country that it is dodgy.

It might be more sensible, in the case being discussed, for the Canadian person to get their own visa etc for the Netherlands. Getting a permis de sejour on the strength of a relationship and then going off to live in another country doesn’t look very legit (even if it is).