I'm am looking for official sources (preferably in English, if available) on the following:

My spouse and I are moving to France. My spouse is a (non-Croatian) EU citizen. I myself am not from the EU, thus I need a visa and a residence permit (carte/titre de séjour) to live in France.

What documents do I need to apply for a residence permit (carte/titre de séjour) for the first time after moving to France, and how does the process work? I got a visa valid for only 3 mo, which allows me to enter France. The consulate told me that I must apply for a residence permit at the local Préfecture right after arrival, and that the residence permit will serve as a long term visa as well. I am trying to find out what precise documentation I need to bring, and how the process will work exactly. I want to make sure that everything will be fine because I heard that processing is very slow and any mistake will cause additional long delays.

Additional question: how does the process change if I want to be able to work part-time or as a freelancer?

I do not speak any French yet, which makes this rather difficult to research.

  • Are you a Croatian citizen?
    – Gala
    Apr 22, 2015 at 18:08
  • @Gala The residence permit is not for me. The applicant is not Croatian (and not from Europe).
    – Kuruma
    Apr 22, 2015 at 18:24
  • 1
    I understand all that but since you mentioned a visa as a spouse of an EU citizen, I assumed you were the EU citizen spouse. But really I use “you” to keep things simple, what I need to know is whether the sponsor (the EU citizen with whom the person in question came to France) is a Croatian citizen.
    – Gala
    Apr 22, 2015 at 18:32
  • @Gala No, not Croatian. Let me know if you need any more information. I appreciate all the help you've given so far with my questions. I'll reformulate the question in first person to make it easier to follow for others.
    – Kuruma
    Apr 22, 2015 at 22:10
  • Then my answer is correct. Reason I asked is because Croatian citizens do not enjoy the full freedom of movement yet and have to provide additional documentation in some cases.
    – Gala
    Apr 22, 2015 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


It's difficult to find comprehensive up-to-date information about this in English. The most useful official source is vosdroits.service-public.fr, in particular the pages Européens en France, Citoyen européen ou suisse : installer sa famille proche en France and Famille d'Européen en France : demande de carte de séjour "UE" (all in French).

For simplicity, I will write this answer as if “you” are the third-country citizen in need of a carte de séjour. Your “sponsor” is your spouse (the EU citizen with whom you are moving to France).

What you need is a carte de séjour, mention « UE - membre de famille ». To get it, you should bring the following documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of your relationship with your sponsor, e.g. a marriage certificate
  • Proof of the right of the sponsor to stay under treaty rules, e.g. his or her work contract
  • 3 photos

It might be best to go to the préfecture with your spouse and to make sure to have some official ID to prove his or her EU citizenship. Each préfecture has its own rules but typically, you have to make an appointment in advance and wait in line (even though it's on appointment only…).

It might be necessary to get a translation from a sworn translator for all documents in a foreign language, but I am not entirely sure whether this also applies to documents from other EU countries.

You should receive a document called a récépissé on the spot, which should be valid for 6 months and will allow you to wait for the actual card (which might take several months to be issued). It's annoying to have to wait so long and to be without visa or permit for some time but as long as you have filed your request in time and you have your récépissé, you don't need to worry about the 3-month delay.

The answer does not change if you want to work, as the spouse of an EU citizen, you have the right to do that as a matter of course (people with other types of visa/carte de séjour might not). First apply for the carte de séjour and use it to prove you have the right to work in France.

All these rules apply to the spouses of EU/EEA and Swiss citizens (except Croatian and French citizens) who reside in France under freedom of movement rules. Other people have to satisfy other requirements like presenting their spouse's work authorization (for spouses of Croatian citizens) or a undergoing a medical check-up (for spouses of French citizens and many other applicants).

Finally, as far as terminology is concerned, a “titre de séjour” is anything that gives you the right to stay in France. This includes several types of carte de séjour but also something called a carte de résident (not relevant in your situation but that explains the slightly confusing distinction).

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