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INTRODUCTION TO IMMIGRATION LAW IN FRANCE
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHO CAN IMMIGRATE TO FRANCE?
WHAT KINDS OF WORK CAN FOREIGNERS DO?
PROCEDURES FOR IMMIGRATING TO FRANCE?
IMMIGRATION OF MINOR CHILDREN
TYPES OF RESIDENCY PERMITS
SANCTIONS FOR IMMIGRATION VIOLATIONS
LOSS OF RESIDENCY RIGHTS
REFUGEES
OTHER PROTECTED PERSONS
NATURALIZATION


ACADEMIC LITERATURE ON IMMIGRATION IN FRANCE
NEWS ON IMMIGRATION IN FRANCE
STATISTICS ON IMMIGRATION IN FRANCE
    PRINCIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS

    Code de l'entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d'asile
     
     
     
     

    WHO CAN IMMIGRATE TO FRANCE?

    Foreigners face different situations depending on whether they originate from countries in the European Union , in the European Economic Area and from the Swiss Confederation, countries with which France has signed treaties governing establishment (the United States is one such country), or countries whose citizens are subject to more rigorous controls on their entry into France (this is the case for citizens of all but some thirty countries).

    Countries in the European Union and assimilated

    Citizens of the European Union may imigrate to France without visas.

    Citizens of countries members of the European Economic Area as well as citizens of Switzerland who intend to establish residence in France do not require visas to immigrate to France. Article L121-2) of the French Immigration Law provides that: –Citizens of the European Union, of the European Economic Area and of the Swis Confederation who intend to establish their habitual residence in France must register with the Mayorês office in the commune of residence with three months following their arrival”.

    Countries whose citizens do not require visas

    Other than European Union members, some fifteen countries have ties with France such that their citizens can enter French territory and stay for up to three months without a visa. These countries include: Andora, Canada,  the Holy Seat,  Iceland, Japan, Malta, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United States. In 1986, after the terrorist attacks, citizens of the Maghreb countries lost the right to enter France without a visa.

    With an even more limited number of countries, France has concluded treaties governing establishment. As between France and the United States, the establishment treaty gives the citizens of each country a right to establish themselves in the other but does not eliminate the need to go through normal immigration procedures.

    Business people from all the above countries can, without obtaining a visa, come to France to carry on business provided that they do not abandon their primary center of activity in their country of origin.

    Citizens from countries such as the United States which have establishment treaties with France have an additional advantage in that they have a right to establish themselves permanently in France, provided they respect immigration procedures. Applicants must prove that they have means sufficient to support themselves during their projected stay in France. Counsel is most useful in this context to ensure proper compliance and avoidance of delays.

    Countries whose citizens need visas to enter France

    Most countries fall into this category. Even to come to France as tourists, citizens of these countries require visas. The visas are generally for one short visit and, should the goal be anything else, the assistance of counsel is especially useful.
     

    What convinces the authorities to issue a visa to applicants from this group of countries is the likelihood that the applicant will in fact return to his country of origin , and not become a clandestine. Accordingly, it is important to demonstrate strong ties to the home country (family, high income, wealth of assets, professional status, etc.)

    The different types of visa

    Foreigners intending to immigrate to France must apply to a French Consulate to obtain long-stay visas entitling them to stay in France for more then 90 days.

    The applicant should indicate whether he/she has the intention to study, to carry on economic activities or to stay in France without undertaking any economic activities.

    Depending on that choice, the visa issued varies and the criteria for reviewing the application are different, as are the procedures to be implemented after arriving in France.

    Certain changes of immigration status after arriving in France may be possible, for example from student to employee, but the Governnment will often not accept any such applications until expiration of the residency permit currently in effect.
     
     


    WHAT KINDS OF WORK CAN FOREIGNERS DO?

    French immigration practice classifies working relations in terms of "employment", "independent professions", "commercial activities". Depending on the classification of the projected activity, the procedures of admission are more or less complicated and prolonged.

    Essentially the most difficult category in which to seek admission corresponds to employment activities. Except in cases of executive level salary, the existence of any unemployment in the relevant region and for the specific activity in question will preclude approval of the application.

    Liberal professions can be very difficult of access for foreigners where local academic and/or professional qualifications are required for admission (medical, legal, accounting, engineering, architecture) whereas other activities not subject to such professional requirements undergo a simplified, speedier examination process (writers, artists, composers, consultants, teachers). Still the Uruguay Round agreement with respect to services at least guarantees national treatment to most purveyors of services.

    The performing arts are generally unionized and any performing is considered to be employment. It is the employer who initiates the application process, and while applications for specific events or a limited number of engagements are processed quickly and successfully, long term contracts are less frequent in the trade and also less likely to be approved by the authorities.

    If the contemplated activity involves commerce (buying and selling goods or services), the admission procedures add layers of administrative review and that multiplies the risk of delay. Among those candidates who will require such authorizations are the chief executives of limited liability companies and commercial agents.

    Autorizations to immigrate to France to carry on commercial activities involve approval of the competent departments of the Department of Treasury which vet the realsim and viability of the proposed project. Applications therefore will include a convincing demonstration of the viability of the project.

    All applicants to carry on business must prove that they dispose of financial means to support themselves and finance the proposed business.
     
     

    PROCEDURES FOR IMMIGRATING TO FRANCE

    Subject to treaty exceptions (such as for European Union citizens) and their spouses, most foreigners wishing to establish in France must apply at the Consulate of the country of which they are citizens or where they are legally resident at the time of the application. In general, they will be expected to justify that they are legally resident in the country of the application if they are not citizens thereof.

    Still there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, refugees seeking asylum in France under the United Nations Convention for persecution by their governments or under French law for persecution by anyone else in their own country, apply directly to the prefecture where they live upon arrival. Also, French authorities will issue temporary authorizations to stay in France to persons in need of medical treatment which they could not otherwise obtain in their own countries or where traveling would expose them to danger. In addition, the spouses of French citizens or assimilated therewith, who have entered French territory legally, may after their marriage in France obtain residency permits directly at the local Prefecture without first obtaining a visa at a French Consulate abroad (if the marriage took place outside French territory, then the foreign spouse should apply for a visa at a French Consulate).

    If the Consular authorities refuse the visa, an appeal process exists http://www.lapres.net/visapp.html.

    In a limited number of circumstances, residency cards can be obtained directly in France without having previously obtained a visa in a Frenh Consulate abroad: qualified students, and professors as well as scientists, actors and authors.

    Foreigners who have held a 1 year residency card for at least 18 months may apply to have their spouses and minor children immigrate to France. Applicants must have sufficient and stable financial means and dispose of housing in accordance with normal conditions. May be excluded from this procedure aplicants who are already present in France or whose presence would constitute a threat to public order or are afflicted with a disease subjct to international regulation.
     
     

    IMMIGRATION STATUS OF MINOR CHILDREN

    Parents of minor children intending to immigrate to France should sollicit visas for any minor children that will be accompanying them. Minor children who come to France without visas may run into difficulties qualifying for otherwise accessible social services.

    Minor children of foreigners who hold temporary, pluriannual or 10-year residency cards with whom they have lived since the age of 13 may claim temporary residency permits in the year following their 18th birthday.
     
     

    TYPES OF RESIDENCY PERMITS

    Temporary residency permits

    The term of a temporary residency permit may not exceed one year.

    Residency permits as visitors issued to foreigners who demonstrate thay they can live off their own ressources and who undertake not to carry on any professional activity.

    Residency permits as students are issued to foreigners who demonstrate that they will be studying in France and thay they have means of existence sufficient means of support. Such permits entitle their holders to carry on accessory employment activity for up to 60% of a year's work.

    Intern residency permits are issued to foreigners who demonstrate that they will be doing an internship under a contract approved by the competent administrative authority in France and thay they have means of existence sufficient means of support.

    So-called ICT ppermits are issued to foreigners who demonstrate that they will be doing an internship in an estabishment or entreprise of the group which employ them under a contract approved by the competent administrative authority in France, provided they have at least three months of seniority and thay they hold a university degree and have means of existence sufficient means of support.

    Temporary residency permits valid for a maximum of one year and authorising the carrying on of a professional activity are issued to foreigners:

    - to carry on employment activity under an indefinite term contract,

    - to carry on on employment activity under a definite term contract,

    - who carry on non-employment activity that is economically viable and from which they derive sufficient means of existence; such permits are called entrepreneur/liberal profession permits.

    The following persons, among others, are fully entitled to claim the issue of private and family life residency permits that authorized their holders to carry on professional activity:

    - to foreigners who apply for them in the year following their eighteenth birthday if at least one of their aprents holds a temporary residency permit, a pluriannul residency permit or a 10-year residency permit;

    - to foreigners who apply for them in the year following their eighteenth birthday who demonstrate by any means that they have habitually lived in France with at least one of their legitimite, natural or adopting parents since reaching the age of 13;

    - to foreigners who are not living in polygamy, who are maried to a French citizen, provided that they have not separated since their marriage, that the spouse has maintained French nationality, and, if the mariage was celebrated abroad, that it has been previously registered with the French civil status authorities;

    - to foreigners who are not living in polygamy, who are father or mother of a French minor living in France, provided that they demonstrate that they contributed effectively to the support and education of the child since his/her birth ou for at least the last two years;

    - to foreigners who are not living in polygamy whose personal and family ties in France, having regard in particular to their intensity, their duration and their stability, to their living conditions, to their insertion in French society as well as to the nature of the relations with the family still in the country of origin, are such that a refusal to authorize them to stay in France would violate their right to respect of their private and family life to an extent that would be disproportionate with the reasons for the refusal;

    - to foreigners who were born in France and who justify by any means that they lived for eight years continuously and have been enrolled in programs of education after the age of 10 for at least five years in a French school, provided that they file their applications between the ages of 16 and 21;

    - to foreigners who receive a pension on account of a work-related accident or of a professional illness that is paid by a French organization and provided that their permanent incapacity is greater than or equal to 20%;

    - to foreigners living habitually in France whose state of health requires medical care the lack of which would entail consequences of exceptional gravity, subject to the absence of an appropriate treatment in their country of origin;

    - to foreigners who not living in polygamy the admission of whom would satisfy humanitarian considerations or exceptional reasons that they invoke.

    Pluriannual residency permits

    The term of pluriannaul residency permits may not edxceed four years.

    They are issued following a first year of legal residency in France.

    Pluriannual cards bearing the mention talent passport are issued to, among others:

    - to foreigners who carry on employment activity and have obtained a diploma equivalent to at least a masters from a nationally recognized establishment of higher education

    - to foreigners who are employed in highly qualified positions for a periods of at least one year and who hold diplomas recognizing three years of university studies or of professional experience of at least five years at a comparable level; the terms of such permits correspond to the terms of the related employment contracts and they bear the mention European blue card;

    - to foreigners who come to France on missions on behalf of establishments of the same entreprise or the same group and who demonstrate, in addition to professional seniority of at least three months in the enterprise or group established outside of France that they have an employment contract with the entreprise established in France;

    - to foreigners who hold a diploma of a level equivalent to a masters who intend to carry on research or teach at the university level, in the context of an agreement with a recognized public or private organization the object of which is research or teaching at the university level; such permits bear the mention researcher;

    - to foreigners who have obtained a diploma of at least the level of a masters or who can demonstrate professional experience of at least five years at a comparable level and who create an entreprise in France provided that they demonstrate that the project is realistic and serious;

    - to foreigners who demontrate that they intend to launch an innovative project that is recognized by a public organization;

    - to foreigners who carry out a direct investment in France;

    - to foreigners who occupy the position of legal representative in an establishment or company established in France, provided that such foreigners are employees or legal representatives of an establishment or company of the same group;

    - to foreigners who carry on the profession of performing artist or who are authors of literary or artistic works;

    - to foreigners who enjoy an established internation or national renown and who come to France to carry on activities in a scientific, literary, artistic, intellectual, education or sports field.

    Residency permits of a maximum term of three years and which entitle their holders to carry on professional activity are issued to foreigners who intend to occupy an upper management position or who bring special expertise to an establishment or an entreprise in the group that employs them provided that they demonstrate seniority of at least three months in such group. Such permits are valid for the period of the mission in France. They bear the mention detached employee ICT.

    Long-term residency cards

    Such cards have a term of 10 years.

    When such permits are issued to foerigners residing on French continental territory, they confer upon their holders the right to carry on on such territory any profession within the framework of the applicable legislation.

    They are renewable as of right.

    Long-term residency permits bearing the mention long-term EU resident are issued as of right to foreigners who demonstrate:

    - that they have legally and continuously resided in France for at least five years under one of temporary or pluriannual or long-term resident permits;

    - that they have stable, regular and sufficient resources to support themselves;

    - and they have medical insurance coverage.

    Long-term residency permits are issued as of right to, among others:

    - to the spouse and children in the year following their eighteenth birthday of foreigners who hold long-term residency permits, who were authorized to live in France in the context of family regroupings and who demonstrate that they have lived without interruption in France for at least three years;

    - to foreigners who are mother or father of a French child who lives in France and who has held for at least three years a temporary or pluriannual residency permit provided that they meet the conditions for obtaining such residency permits and that they do not live in polygamy;

    - to foreigners who have been married for at least three years to a citizen of France, provided that they live legally in France, that the spouses have not separated since their marriage, that the French spouse has maintained French nationality, and, if the mariage was celebrated abroad, that it has been recorded on the French registry of civil status.

    Retiree residency permits

    In order to obtain such permits, applicants must demonstrate

    - that they have lived in France with a long-term residency permit;

    - that they have established habitual residence abroad, and

    - that enjoy the benefit of an old age pension under the French social security system.

    Permanent residency permits

    Upon expiration of foreignersê long-term residency permits, permanent residency permits of indefinite duration are issued to those who apply for their issue provided their presence in France does not constitute a threat to public order.

    Any foreigner who has been living legally and continously in France for at least five years may apply for a permanent residency card valid for an indefinite term. The Government makes the decision on the basis of their intention to establish themselves permanently in France, of their ability to support themselves and of their professional activities.

    Foreigners who are the father or mother of a minor child who is a French citizen whom they support and who have held one-year residency permits for two years may also apply for permanent residency permits.
     

    SANCTIONS FOR IMMIGRATION VIOLATIONS

    The sanctions for violations of immigration laws in France arise from a variety of sources.

    It is a criminal offense ("délit") to enter France without proper authorizations or to overstay a properly issued visa. Any one other than a close family member may be prosecuted for aiding anyone in violation of the immigration laws.

    It is illegal to employ or to give work to clandestines.

    Illegal immigrants who work commit two offenses (illegal immigration and illegal work).

    Illegal immigrants are intercepted sometimes upon entry into the country, sometimes upon being accosted in the streets (subject to protection under the criminal procedure laws against arbitrary interrogations). Often the clandestine are arrested while working in clandestine factories. Sometimes persons are arrested at the time of their applications at the Prefecture for "regularization" of their situations.

    Generally the nature of the pursuits will be decided by the Prosecuting Magistrate ("Procureur"). In some cases, the exercise of this discretion will result in no pursuits being engaged (such as against illegal workers in factories, or clandestine pursued for criminal offenses where they might otherwise qualify for residency, for instance if they are married to a French citizen and have French children whom they support).

    The following are the principal immigration related infractions: illegal immigration, aiding an illegal immigrant, working illegally, carrying a business illegally, employing workers without authorizations.

    In practice, convictions subject to jail sentences and fines are not frequently set at or even close to the maximum, and many jail sentences are suspended. (Indeed many of the short jail sentences are not even served.)

    But in addition to the above sanctions, a serious practical consequence of convictions under the labor laws (or for a serious criminal offense) is that the authorities will often refuse to renew the immigration authorizations ("carte de séjour") of the offenders (if they have such) and will refuse to issue such authorizations if ever the offender were to qualify for immigration authorization on some other ground (such as continuous presence in France for more than the legal minimum time).

    Fraudulent mariages for the purpose of obtaining French nationality are sanctioned by cancellation of any foreigner's residency permit or French nationality, banishment from French territory, and fines as well as jail for the culprits, and confiscatio of illegal gains.

    Foreigners who refuse to submit to orders to stay out of or to leave the territory or who return to the territory after having been prohibited to enter may be jailed for 6 months to 3 years. An identical sanction applies to foreigners who try to frustrate such orders by refusing to reveal their indentites or making false disclosures

    Banishments from French territory implies immediate distancing from the territory.
     
     

    PROCEDURES FOR SANCTIONING IMMIGRATION VIOLATIONS

    French procedures in this field are especially complicated as they may involve the criminal, the civil and the administrative courts. And in each case there are appeals procedures within the French court system. Ultimately, some matters may be pursued to the European Court for Human Rights and in the light of recent European Union adoption of a Charter of Human Rights, there be recourses in some cases to the European Court of Justice.

    In any case, even within the French judicial order, the choice of judicial recourses, the grounds on which such recourses may succeed or fail, the courses of appeal, are altogether too complex for any layman reasonably to expect to proceed without the assistance of an "avocat".

    Obligation to leave French territory

    The most anodyne of the procedures for distancing a foreigner begins with a letter from the Prefecture (or the Prefecture de Police in Paris) requesting the foreigner to leave French territory within 30 days. This type of letter might for instance be received by a foreign student after failure to demonstrate that he or she is actually pursuing courses of study, or by a foreigner who has been out of work for several months, or by someone who presented himself or herself at the Prefecture to ask for an immigration authorization where the administration decides to reject the application. This decision may be appealed through administrative channels or before the courts. The exact conditions of appeal should be indicated on the notice lest it be considered void by the courts. Very close attention should be paid to the periods for appealing as they are rigorously applied by the courts.

    Where the foreigner held an authorization to live and work in France, then the decision to refuse to extend the authorization will usually be referred to the local "Commission du Titre de Séjour", an advisory body which renders its recommendation to the Préfecture as to the merits of the foreigner's claim to renewal of his or her carte de séjour. In practice, this Commission hardly ever renders an opinion favorable to the foreigner. In any case, its opinion is not binding upon the administration.

    If the foreigner who has received an invitation to leave the country actually does so, and makes a point of following the instructions of the administration when leaving, and should he or she subsequently apply for a visa to again live in France with appropriate justification, that authorization may often be granted.

    Escort to the border

    If a foreigner who has actually received a notice to leave does not do so and then is, for whatever reason questioned by the Police, such as in the streets, or is otherwise in the custody of the administration such as for a labor law violation, he or she may then be sent away forthwith.

    At this stage the delay for appeal is likely to be very short (generally 48 hours - hour to hour from notification of the notice to leave the country). If the foreigner had actually already received a notice to leave the country through the mail, or by some other means, and if he or she had not already appealed within the allotted time, then his or her recourses against the notice to leave the country would effectively be lost. In some cases, a notice to leave the country will be declared stale and inoperable.

    The following categories of foreigners may not forced to leave he country:

    - minors of less than 18 eyars of age,

    - those who can prove that they have been in France since the age of 13,

    - those who have been living legally in France for at least 10 years, unless they held "student" cards throughout the period,

    - foreigners who have been living legally in france for at least 20 years,

    - those who are not in polygamous mariages and who are parents of minor children of French nationality provided that they provide support for their care for at least two eyars or since their birth,

    - those who have been married to a French citizen for at least three years, provided that they have not stopped living togetether,

    - those who have been living in France for at least 10 years and have been married for at least 3 years to a foreigner who has been living in France since the age of 13 or earlier for at least three years, provided that they have not stopped living togetether,

    - those suffering from a work-related accident or sickness and who benefit from compensation from a French organization and whose permanent incapacity exceeds 20%,

    - foreigners living in France whose health requires medical treatment without which exceptionally grave consequences might ensue, provided that they cannot effectively obtain appropriate treatment in their country of origin.

    Expulsion

    If the presence of a foreigner constitutes a "grave threat" to public order", he or she may in principle be expelled form the country.

    Even without proof of a grave threat to public order, a foreign who has committed a crime for which he/she has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment or more.

    A number of categories of foreigners are immune from expulsion.

    Administrative detention

    Another scenario arises where the foreigner is unknown to the authorities at the time he is questioned and discovered to be without immigration authorizations. If the foreigner claims a right to be in France (for instance, if the foreigner had a visa but it disappeared with the foreigner's passport when the passport was stolen and there is a record of the declaration of theft), then the foreigner may be kept in "administrative retention", until the situation is clarified.

    The authorities might also decide to send the person back to his or her country of origin (supposing it to be known to the authorities). If the nationality of the foreigner is unproved (such as by a passport), then before he or she can be sent to any country, that country's Consular representatives in France will be questioned as to whether they recognize such person as their citizen.

    In any event, when the Police arrest an undocumented foreigner otherwise unknown to them, they will be able to keep the foreigner for up 48 hours before presenting him or her to a judge. The authorities will seek an order enabling them to hold the undocumented foreigner for an additional 28 days pending organization of the foreigner's return to his or her country.

    If the return trip cannot be organized within those additional 28 days, then the authorties must present the foreigner to a judge who can extend the retention roder another 15 days. Beyond that time, the foreigner must be released from "administrative retention".

    If a foreigner resists being loaded onto a plane to leave the country, he will likely then be presented to a criminal judge and sanctioned for such refusal. Sometimes, but not always, this process will culminate in a jail sentence of several months, which is often but not always suspended. If the foreigner goes to jail, then at the end of the jail term, he would normally again be brought to a means of transport to return to his country. Another refusal to embark would relaunch the criminal proceedings and the eventual jail term.

    Still another scenario in which the foreigner may find himself or herself arises when the foreigner is considered by the French authorities to be a "grave menace to public order" ("menace grave pour l'ordre public") in which case expedited procedures of distancing the foreigner are applicable.

    Prohibition to live in France

    Still another scenario in which the foreigner may find himself or herself arises convicted by a court of any of a range of criminal offenses which include among their sanctions a prohibition against returning to French territory within a certain period of time (generally several years). For instance, the employ of clandestine foreigners may give rise to such prohibitions. While there is a procedure to have these prohibitions lifted, such orders are in practice difficult to obtain.

    Refusals to embark

    If a foreigner being put out of the country refuses to embark on the means of transport, he/she risks being pursued before the criminal courts. Most often, the criminal proceedings result in a conviction and a short prison sentence, that is often suspended. If the foreigner were sentenced to prison, then he/she would be put out of the country on their release.
     
     

    LOSS OF RESIDENCY RIGHTS

    Residency cards may be refused to foreigners who constitute a menace to public order.

    A foreigner may have his residency card withdrawn for clandestine employment or professional activities as well as in cases of pursuits for drug trafficking, trade in human beings,
    support of and trade in prostitution, exploitation of beggars,
    theft in a pub lic transportation vehicle, extorsion.

    A foreigner who resides outside of France for 3 consecutive years loses his residency rights.

    A foreigner may have his residency permit withdrawn such as if he no longer qualifies under the statuts for which he(she) was given a card, for example a student who does nto succeed in hiss(her) studies, a merchant whose business fails, an employee who is released from his(her) job and does not find new work soone enough.

    Foreigners may be expelled if their continued presence is considered to represent a "grave" threat to public order. A foreigner who has been sentenced to 5 years or more in jail may be expelled.
     
     

    REFUGEES

    France grants refugee status based on either of two situations. First, as a party to the United Nations (Geneva) Convention of July 28, 1951 with respect to the status of refugees, and under its law 52-893 of July 27, 1952, France grants asylum to persons whose life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

    Also under the French Constitution all persons persecuted on account of their actions to promote liberty are granted asylum.

    Persons seeking asylum should present themselves as soon as possible after their arrival in France to the police to begin their application process. Applicants are given an acknowledgment of receipt of their declaration which they should keep very carefully. Subsequently they are received by the Office pour la Protection des Réfugiés et Apatrides (OFPRA) which reviews their application. If the applicant is successful, he or she receives a "carte de séjour".

    If the application is rejected by the OFPRA, an appeal may be brought before the Cour Nationale du Droit d'Asile (CNDA). The conditions of the appeal and the delay allowed are included on the notice of decision. Close attention should be paid to these indications which may be rigorously enforced.

    If the appeal before the CNDA is successful, the applicant is issued a "carte de séjour".

    If the CNDA rejects the appeal, a further appeal will lie to the Conseil d'Etat.
     
     


    OTHER PROTECTED FOREIGNERS

    Certain categories of foreigners are protected under French law  in that they have the right to claim a temporary "carte de séjour". The categories cover
     

      1 - Minor children and spouses of foreigners living in France who are admitted to France from their home country after obtaining entry visas under the "family regroupment" ("regroupement familial") program,

      2 - foreigners turning 18 years of age who have lived habitually in France since reaching no more than 13 years old,

      3 - foreigners, not living in polygamy, married with a French citizen, provided their entry into France was legal, that the spouse has kept French nationality and where the marriage was celebrated abroad provided it has been transcribed into the French registries,

      4 - foreigners not living in polygamy who are married to a foreign holder of a temporary "carte de séjour" as a "scientist", provided their entry into France was legal,

      5 - foreigners, not living in polygamy, who are the father or mother of a French child living in France who exercises at least partially parental authority with respect to the child or effectively contributes to the child's needs.

      6 - foreigners not living in polygamy who are not covered by the previous categories and who do not qualify for "family regroupment" procedures and whose personal family and personal ties to France are such the refusal to grant a "carte de séjour would constitute an infringement upon the rights to privacy and to a family life disproportionate with the reasons for the refusal,

      7 - foreigners born in France who have lived in France continuously for at least 8 years,  after the age of 10 years by at least 5 years  of schooling in a French school provided he or she makes a request therefore between the ages of 16 and 21,

      8 - foreigners who receive a pension for a work related accident or sickness from a French organization and whose degree of incapacity is equal to or greater than 20%,

      10 - foreigners who have been granted the status of stateless person under the terms of the law of July 25 1952 with respect to the right of asylum and to their spouses, if the mariage was celebrated prior to the attribution of refugee status or otherwise if the mariage occurred at least 1 year previously and provided the spouses continue to cohabitate, and to the refugees' children turning 18 eyars of age,

      11 - foreigners habitually residing in France whose health requires care without which there might be consequences of exceptional gravity provided he or she could not be appropriately treated in his own country.
       

    Cards issued under this section permit professional activity and their renewal is subject to the continued community of the spouses.

    Other categories of foreigners have a right to claim a "carte de resident" (residency card) valid for 10 years and which has the advantage of allowing the holder to undertake any professional activity:
     

      1 - foreigners married for at least 2 years to a French citizen provided that the community of the spouses has not been interrupted, that the spouse has kept French nationality and where the marriage was celebrated abroad provided it has been transcribed into the French registries,

      2 - foreign minor children of a French citizen where the child is less than 21 years old or where he or she is dependent upon his or her parents, as well as dependent ascendants or those of his or her spouse,

      (abrogated in November 2003) 3 - foreigners who are the father or mother of a French child living in France exercises at least partially parental authority with respect to the child or effectively contributes to the child's needs.

      4 - foreigners as well as their heirs when such foreigners receive a pension for a work related accident or sickness from a French organization and whose degree of incapacity is equal to or greater than 20%,

      (abrogated in November 2003) 5 - minor children and spouses of foreigners holding a residency card who are admitted to France from their home country after obtaining entry visas under the "family regroupment" ("regroupement familial") program,

      6 - foreigners who have served in  a fighting unit of the French armed forces

      7 - foreigners who effectively fought in the ranks of the interior forces of France and who have been discharged from the regular army or regardless of the duration of his service was injured while in combat,

      8 - foreigners having served in France in the combat units of the armies of France's allies or who having previously resided in France also fought in the armies of foreign allies,

      9 - foreigners who have served in the French Foreign Legion the equivalent of 3 years of service and who have been honorably discharged,

      10 - foreigners admitted to the status of refugees by OFPRA as well as their spouses, if the mariage was celebrated prior to the attribution of refugee status or otherwise if the mariage occurred at least 1 year previously and provided the spouses continue to cohabitate, and to the refugees' children turning 18 eyars of age,

      11 - stateless persons who have lived legally in France for at least 3 years, as well as to their spouses and children followign their 18th birthday,

      (abrogated in 2006)12 - foreigners who have been in France legally for more than 10 years, unless they were at any time holders of a student card,

      13 - foreigners how have held a temporary card for 5 years by virtue of articles 12bis and 12ter and they have been living without interruption in France,

      14 - foreigners who are entitled to be given French nationality as of right based on article of the Code de la nationalité.


    In the above references, children agreement to include legitimate children or natural children whose filiation has been established as well as adopted children provided where the adoption occurred abroad that the authorities are satisfied as to its legitimacy.

    In each of the above cases, the authorities may refuse to issues either a temporary or a residency card, as the case may be, if the foreigner may be considered as a "threat to public order" ("menace à l'ordre public"). In practice, the authorities are likely to invoke this exception wherever the foreigner has committed a serious criminal office, including for employing clandestine foreign workers. Also invocations of such exceptions are most frequently upheld by the Courts.

    Unless there is an absolute urgency and an imperious necessity for the security of the State or public security, the following categories of persons may not be expelled:
     

      1 - foreigners, not living in polygamy, who are the father or mother of a French child living in France who exercises at least partially parental authority with respect to the child or effectively contributes to the child's needs.

      2 - foreigners married for at least 2 years to a person of French nationality provided that their marital life has not been interrupted,

      3 - foreigners who can justify that they have been in France for the preceding 15 years, unless they were students for any part of that period,

      4 - foreigners who can justify that have been in France legally for the preceding 10 years, unless they were students for any part of that period,

      5 - foreigners as well as their heirs when such foreigners receive a pension for a work related accident or sickness from a French organization and whose degree of incapacity is equal to or greater than 20%.
       

    Even such protected persons can be expelled, where the fundamental interests of the State are threatened or the activities involve terrorism, or incitement of discrimination, hatred, or violence, except that the following persons may not be expelled:
     
      1 - foreigners who have lived in France since the age of 13,

      2 - foreigners who have been in france for more than 20 years,

      3 - foreigners who have been living in France for 10 years and are married to a French citizen for at least 3 years, not living in polygamy,

      4 - foreigners who have been living in France for 10 years and are father or mother a French minor citizen for at least 3 years, provided the parent contributes to the needs of the child,

      5 - foreigners whose health is such that failure to eb treated would entail consequences of exceptionally grave nature and where he cannot be appropriately treated in the country of destination.
       


     

    NATURALIZATION

    Any legitimate or natural child of a French citizen has French nationality from birth.

    But, if only one of a person's parents is French, and the person is born outside of France, his or her French nationality may be repudiated.

    Persons born in France of stateless parents are considered French citizens.

    Child's nationality is affected by that of his or her parents only for as long as he or she is a minor.

    A foreigner does not become French by virtue of having married a French spouse. But this fact does facilitate the obtaining of French nationality.

    Children born in France of foreign parents may acquire French nationality upon reaching their majority provided that he or she is at that tie resident in France and that he or she has been resident continuously or discontinuously for a period of 5 years since the age of 11. Such nationality may be obtained by a declaration by the child upon reaching the age of majority. Parents may also claim French nationality for their children born in France from the age of 13. Foreign children adopted by a French citizen before their majority may claim French nationality.

    In general, naturalization can only be claimed by foreigners who have resided in France for the 5 years preceding their applications. But this period is reduced to 2 years for foreign students who have successfully completed two years of university studies in a French university or school of higher learning as well to those foreigners who by virtue of his or her capacities or talents has rendered important services to France. Furthermore for some classes of foreigners, there is no requirements of prior residency in France, for example foreigners admitted to the status of refugee, or those whose naturalization presents an exceptional interest for France, or those who belong to the French cultural and linguistic entity and are citizens of territories or States where French is the or one of the official languages, or where his or her mother tongue is French or where the foreigner justifies 5 years of schooling in a French language.

    Naturalization may be refused to persons not assimilated in the French community such as by a sufficient knowledge of French, or if he or she is not of good morals, or if he or she has committed crimes infringing upon the fundamental values of the French nation, or has been sentenced to imprisonment for more than  months (unless the sentence was suspended)..

    Applications for naturalization are made at the local prefecture. Answers must be given within 18 months.
     
     
     

    DANIEL ARTHUR LAPRES

    Cabinet d'avocats

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