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My wife (Chinese, currently staying in France on a student visa, titre de séjour) and I (German, living in Germany), after applying for a German visa for family reunification to live together in Germany, found ourselves in the following situation:

The estimated date on which her (family reunification) visa application will be completed by the German embassy is after the expiration date of her current titre de séjour. There is a period of 20-30 days during which she will not have a valid visa.

What can we do in this situation? Is there some provisional visa she can apply for in this case?

(This is a cross-post from https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/98494/is-there-a-type-of-french-visa-to-bridge-the-gap-between-two-visas?noredirect=1#comment235139_98494)

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    If you can go to France to be with her, or go with her to any EU country other than Germany, you and she will fall under the freedom of movement directive. In France she might have to apply for a titre de séjour since she's been there for over 3 months, but anywhere else, she can stay for up to 3 months, and in no case could she be removed or deported. If you must remain in Germany, though, the situation is more problematic. – phoog Jul 20 '17 at 18:50
  • @phoog why is that a comment and not an answer? – mts Jul 20 '17 at 18:57
  • @phoog: Thank you very much for your answer. By going to France (or another EU country) do you mean that I have to officially declare my residency or does a 'touristic' trip suffice? If it's easy as that, I guess I'll have a 30 day vacation trip ahead of me:-). – Chirs Jul 20 '17 at 19:14
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    @Chirs Visits are fine. In France, there is no such thing as “officially declaring your residency” anyway. – Gala Jul 20 '17 at 19:24
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    @mts I didn't have time for a comprehensive answer at the time, and I was fishing for clarification about whether it would be possible for OP to travel temporarily for the purpose of extending his right of freedom-of-movement to his wife. Gala's answer is far better than mine would have been anyway. – phoog Jul 20 '17 at 22:49
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A few options:

  • Apply for an autorisation provisoire de séjour. Provided she graduated and her diploma meets the requirements, she can use that to look for work for up to 12 months. The fact she would soon cease to need it and move to Germany doesn't really matter. One drawback is that she would need to apply more than two months before the end of her student visa and I assume it's already too late for that (most student visas end in September).
  • Go with her to another EU country than France or Germany. You would be making use of your right to free movement and your wife would have a derived right to stay with you. Some countries might require some formalities but she would in any case be protected from deportation. This only works if you (an EU citizen) are with her, not if she is staying alone.

    If you were to stay in one country for more than three months under these rules, she would need to apply for a residence card and you would need a job or proof of income to sponsor her. But freedom of movement also covers visits (for tourism or otherwise) and if you stay less than three months, there are basically no requirements.

  • Go to France to stay with her. Freedom of movement also applies but she might need to apply for the residence card immediately, because she has already been present in France for a long time. That could be a problem as you would therefore need to prove you have sufficient income and health insurance.

    A somewhat more creative idea is to apply anyway. Even if you do not qualify, they are extremely unlikely to refuse the residence card within 30 days. If and when they do, your wife would still have 30 days to leave the country and the whole thing would presumably be moot by then. You could even possibly pull the application once you have your German visa. And as long as it is pending, you would have some document allowing you to stay in France.

    One drawback here is the risk of attracting a refusal. It should not make a difference as far as Germany is concerned and I don't think she would have any serious trouble in France given her status but she would probably have to report any refusal when applying for many visas in the future.

  • An even hairier option is to ignore the whole thing and stay in France, alone. That's a bad idea for several reasons but could still work. She would start accruing illegal presence and that can have all sorts of unpleasant consequences in the future (for example if she would ever want to become a French citizen that could be held against her) but she would not risk all that much during the first 30 days.

    If she is caught, she would get an OQTF and still have 30 days to leave France voluntarily. It's also possible that the préfecture would send her this OQTF as a matter of course at the expiration of her student visa to start the clock ticking. Detention and removal are not possible before the authorities went through this voluntary departure procedure, buying you time to wait out the German visa application. Most importantly, this should make no difference to her German visa application or her right to stay with you.

    I certainly do not recommend this except as a last resort but it might be useful to know that this is how the law works.

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