New Immigration Visa Does Not Require the Issuance of a Carte de Séjour

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QUESTION:
I am an American married to a French national and we just moved back to France. Apparently, for the first year, I no longer need a carte de séjour but only the long stay visa, which I applied for and received before coming here. I believe that I am allowed to work in France, but I am unsure if I need to do something in addition to the visa before accepting a job. The problem is that I have been offered a teaching job and I do not know if I can accept it or not.

ANSWER:
The new law was intended to simplify people’s lives, but not surprisingly, changing the system has caused confusion. Under the reform legislation seven years ago, the spouse of a French citizen whose legal status in France came from being married or PACSed was given the automatic right to work as an employee. This was clearly stated on the front side of a carte de séjour mention VIE PRIVEE.

Previously, the right to work as an employee was granted by the M.O.E, which issued a separate dark blue card. It precisely defined the level of the right awarded and also designated the employer when needed. The fact that under the new system the exact nature of the right to work is no longer mentioned on an official card can be very confusing when you change employers, and even more when you change professions.

In order to make things simpler the government has decided that the immigration visa will also serve as the first immigration card. I fully agree that not having to spend four to five hours at the préfecture for each visit is a great improvement. On the visa it mentions the fact that it acts as the initial ID card and therefore the first carte de séjour is no longer issued. On the visa stamp there is now even less space to put the immigration information, and the right to work is not mentioned at all anymore.

You need to study the new regulations and find out for yourself what rights are attached to each type of immigration visa. For most of them, there is another document indicating the nature and the scope of the right to work. In order to have employee status, the foreigner must have a work contract signed and sealed by the administration, i.e., from the La Main d’Oeuvre Etrangère, which authorizes your right to work. In short, you must have this extra piece of paper that really proves your claim. Without having to understand the six types of new visa/carte de séjour, employers can easily be convinced that the foreigner applying for the job has the right to work for them in all the cases except for the visa/carte de séjour mention VIE PRIVEE. This is important because employers are criminally liable if the person works without the proper legal document. It is therefore fully understandable that employers are hesitant to take risks. Unless you can prove to the employer that you have the right you claim to have, they may assume that you are in effect lying.

Concerning your situation, the visa/carte de séjour Vie Privée that you now hold implies that you have the right to work, and no authority needs to issue you any specific paper to be employed in France. Unfortunately there is absolutely no simple way to prove to your potential employer that you do not need further documentation. I suggest that you find a way to address the issue with your employer the best way you can and if it does not work out then you will need professional help, someone who will quote the current law and hopefully convince them of this. This is truly a perfect illustration of a simplification that should help people but in fact backfires, making life very frustrating for the holder of this new visa carte de séjour mention VIE PRIVEE.

2 comments

  1. Jean Taquet

    Dear Mr. Mark,

    Thank you for your message. There are some misunderstanding as to how the French immigration system works and therefore you are focusing on important issues the wrong way.
    There are 8 types of immigration visa / carte de séjour and knowing which one you are asking for is critical to comply with the requirements
    visiteur – étudiant – salarié – commerçant/artisan – vie privée et familiale – artistique – scientifique – compétences et talents

    The PACS is now very very close to being married with the person and therefore partners linked that way should act accordingly.

    So the main issue here is that you need to mix the two in order to comply with the immigration requirement.
    The very first thing I need to state is that your partner who is living in France is supposed to help you with the lodging and giving you financial support. Married people are supposed to be living together and taking care of each other.

    Last thing is that having a PACS and living together grands after a while a carte de séjour – vie privée et familiale – which grants you the right to work in all capacities. The length of time depends on the nature and strength of the residency of the partner already in France.
    Since you are NOT living with this person yet you need to receive an immigration compatible with your status. It will be the visiteur status.

    YOU WROTE
    On 27 Nov 2012, at 09:00, Erich Ostrowski wrote:

    New comment on your post “New Immigration Visa Does Not Require the Issuance of a Carte de Séjour”
    Author : Erich Ostrowski (IP: 62.205.112.30 , 62.205.112.30)
    E-mail :
    URL : http://www.americancommunitinfrance.com
    Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/62.205.112.30
    Comment:
    I am PACSing with my partner at the end of December. I need to obtain my carte de séjour so I can move to France and be together.
    MY ANSWER
    You first start to obtain an immigration visa which later on leads you to receive the OFII stamp once you are in France and you renew your immigration status by obtaining a carte de séjour, therefore you are not close to get this card but you could move to France quite quickly.

    YOU WROTE
    From what I am understanding, the only longstay visa that I can obtain requires me to have around $13,000.00 in my bank account to prove that I can support myself. As a teacher, I do not have that much money in my account.
    MY ANSWER
    You have misunderstood the requirements. Someone who can be you or someone else must prove that you have the means to stay in France and that you have access to at least minimum wage revenues. Your partner I assume earns more than minimum wage and now has the legal obligation to take care of you, therefore he/she should provide you with an affidavit of lodging and support. I strongly advise you to document these requirements with documents from the 2 of you and make it a combination and not try to do it on your own. This would be completely misunderstood.

    YOU WROTE
    Do I have any other options to obtain some type of visa that will allow me to remain in the country. I feel as I am constantly running into walls when it comes to the visa issue and I am hoping that I have other options. I appreciate any advice you can offer whatsoever. Merci bien.

    Kind regards,
    Erich
    MY ANSWER
    I am not sure where you are right now, in the USA or in France. If you are in France living with your partner already then the provision called 12bis7 addresses the issue and what is left is to wait until you have lived together long enough to obtain directly a carte de séjour without going through the visa procedure. If you are in your country right now you would be better off asking for the immigration as explained above.

    I hope that this answers your questions and your concerns.

    Best regards.

    Jean Taquet
    PS: You should read the Q/A about issuing a carte de séjour based on ties with France

    Reply
  2. Erich Ostrowski

    I am PACSing with my partner at the end of December. I need to obtain my carte de séjour so I can move to France and be together. From what I am understanding, the only longstay visa that I can obtain requires me to have around $13,000.00 in my bank account to prove that I can support myself. As a teacher, I do not have that much money in my account. Do I have any other options to obtain some type of visa that will allow me to remain in the country. I feel as I am constantly running into walls when it comes to the visa issue and I am hoping that I have other options. I appreciate any advice you can offer whatsoever. Merci bien.

    Kind regards,
    Erich

    Reply

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