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My question is specific to visiting France. I (Australian citizen) and my dual nationality (UK/Australian) husband, both resident in Australia, want to spend more than 3 months in France next year. Can I enter France without a long-stay visa because my husband is UK citizen? I have looked at the requirements for a long-stay visa and can fulfill them all except the one about having proof of accommodation for the duration our stay so would rather avoid going down the visa path.

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Yes. As long as the UK remains in the EU (or, more precisely, as long as it continues to participate in the EU freedom of movement scheme), you do not need a long-stay visa. In fact, if my parents' experience is any guide, the consulate will refuse to issue you a long-stay visa. (My parents are both US citizens, and my father is also a Dutch citizen.)

Strictly speaking, if you're staying for longer than 90 days, you are supposed to apply for a carte de séjour de membre de famille d'un citoyen de l'union, but practically speaking, if you are not planning to stay in the same place in France, or if you're not going to be in France for longer than 6 months or so, this will be more trouble than it is worth. The penalty for not applying for one within 90 days of arrival is that your subsequent application costs €340 instead of being free. However, if you make no subsequent application, you won't have to pay the €340. If they find you out as you're leaving the country, they can't very well force you to apply for a carte de séjour.

That has been my parents' experience. They have stayed for longer than 3 months in France almost every summer for the last few decades, and they've never had a problem beyond a few wrinkled eyebrows at exit control. Once the border officers realize that they are married, they stamp my mother out and that's the end of it.

Recommendations:

  • Bring proof of your marriage, such as a marriage certificate.
  • Use the "EU/EEA/CH passports" lane and approach the desk together. You, as the spouse of an EU citizen, traveling with him, are a "person enjoying the right of free movement" under EU law, and as such you are entitled to use the "EU/EEA/CH passports" lane even though you don't hold such a passport.

References:

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    +1 @phoog Also visit the French Consulate's (Sydney) web info; expand the section on Long stay visa [FAMILY] > spouse of a EU citizen: "The spouse and children (under 21 years old] of a EU citizen (except French) who wish to settle in France for more than 90 days do not need a long stay visa under the european laws. They just need to enter France under the short stay visa regulation and they will be allowed once in France to start the process to apply for a "carte de séjour" directly at the Prefecture." ambafrance-au.org/Long-stay-visa-for-France – Giorgio Sep 23 '16 at 1:55
  • Thanks for that. Useful to know. Here's another one. What if we were in a defacto relationship? Does the same rule apply? – Jostrat Sep 24 '16 at 20:12
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    @Jostrat partners in a "durable relationship" enjoy the same rights, but a slightly more burdensome process to prove they are eligible. Those in a registered civil partnership are in the same category as spouses, however. – phoog Sep 24 '16 at 20:52

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