Sep 142011

I found a company that wants to hire me, so getting a visa should be easier right? Well, I guess. The French company does handle the first request for the visa. They have to provide proof that the position has been posted for a certain amount of time and has not been filled by a French citizen. They’ve also asked me to provide a birth certificate, photos (head-shots), and the typical copy of my passport. Some documents must be “officially” translated. After this I’ve heard I will still have to go to the appropriate french consulate in person to “apply” yet again. Then after arrival, of course, I will probably have to stop by the prefecture to actually get the document that I need to legally work there. What about my family?

What’s necessary for the family to come with you depends on who you ask. The Consul Général de Los Angeles says the following.

[…] it is imperative that the procedure of “accompanying family member” be started by the employer through the OFII along with the employee’s file

Thus, it’s implied that family members can receive a visa along with you, as long as they apply at the same time and are included in the initial request. It also says to the OFII (Office of Immigration and Integration) is who the request will go through. The OFII website says the following.

 Workers may submit an application for family members (spouse and minor children) under the family reunification procedure as soon as they can document 18 months of presence in France […]

So per the OFII website, it’s impossible to bring your family with you until you’ve already lived in France for 18 months. My future employer, however, says that they called the prefecture directly and that generally the application is done for the family members immediately and generally there is no reason that the application would not be approved. I assume this is the right answer, since I believe it’s actually the prefecture that makes the decisions, and since I imagine few people would want to move to France without being able to see their family for 18 months.

In any case, the “backup plans” available are to have the family members obtain a normal student visa or retirement visa via the appropriate french consulate. Ah yes, the horrible bureaucracy. Just a bunch of paperwork is one thing, but different requirements based on who you ask is ridiculous!