My father is an EU/US dual national. My mother, his wife, is a US citizen (only). They are retired, both over 65. They are financially comfortable and own a small residence in France, which they generally visit for 4 months every summer. My father is not a citizen of France.
My research (primarily on http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/) indicates that for my mother to stay in France for longer than 90 days, she is supposed to apply for a carte de séjour. This application can take up to six months, which means that she will quite possibly have left France by the time the card is ready.
The carte de séjour seems to be intended for people who want to reside in France permanently. There seems to be a gap in the law for temporary stays that are longer than 90 days. My mother does not want to apply for a carte de séjour for a few reasons, the primary one being that she does not want to establish a permanent residence in France. Another important reason is that she would then need to get a French driver's license, which is burdensome, and which seems like an unusual requirement given that she spends 2/3 of her time in the US. (See http://www.ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article376.)
The main question, then, is: what documents must a non-EU family member of an EU citizen obtain in order to remain with that person in France for a temporary stay of longer than 90 days, or, alternatively, for regularly visiting France only 1/3 of the year without establishing residency?
Another way of asking that question might be: Is it really necessary for the non-EU family member of an EU citizen to obtain a carte de séjour in order to stay in France for 91 days (or 120 days, or what have you)?
I have some related questions as well, which I may ask separately.
I understand that residence-related questions belong on expats; I am posting this here because the intention is to avoid establishing residence.
I noticed that the EU directive states:
Validity of the residence card
- The residence card provided for by Article 10(1) shall be valid for five years from the date of issue or for the envisaged period of residence of the Union citizen, if this period is less than five years.
- The validity of the residence card shall not be affected by temporary absences not exceeding six months a year, or by absences of a longer duration for compulsory military service or by one absence of a maximum of 12 consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training, or a posting in another Member State or a third country.
However, http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/F19315.xhtml states:
La carte a une durée de validité d'1 an minimum et 5 ans maximum et est renouvelable.
The card is valid for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years, and may be renewed.