Residency rights for people married to a French citizen and who have experienced domestic violence or a polygamous situation

People married to a French citizen and who came to France or have residency rights in France as a result of their marriage, can retain their residency rights if they stop living with their spouse because they have experienced domestic violence or a polygamous situation.

Verified by FNCIDFF on 06/10/2023


You will need to meet two conditions:

  • You came to France or you obtained residency rights in France because of your civil marriage to a person of French nationality, i.e. as a “conjoint de Français”.
  • After you arrived in France, you experienced domestic violence or found yourself in a polygamous situation.

Applicable law: Article L.423–5 of the “CESEDA”.

Evidence to provide

You will be required to provide evidence of domestic violence or polygamy when you make your application.

The local French administration responsible for examining applications for residence permits or “titre de séjour”, known as the “préfecture”, will examine the evidence before approving your application or not.

What evidence should be provided in the case of violence?

Violence can be proven by any means.

Collect any evidence in your file that might be useful, for example:

  • the document provided after a formal complaint has been filed, known as a receipt of complaint or “récipissé de plainte
  • an official document reporting the violence to the police, known as a log or “main courante
  • witness statements
  • a medical certificate
  • a document proving that you are assisted by an organisation offering free services or “association” specialised in supporting people who have faced domestic violence
  • the record of the penal conviction of the perpetrator of the violence, or an alternative penalty to prosecution
  • an divorce issued for-fault called a “divorce pour faute” on the basis of domestic violence
  • any other evidence you can think of.

The “préfecture” does not have the right to request a specific type of proof of violence. It is therefore not allowed to refuse your application on the grounds that a specific evidence is missing.

What evidence should be provided in the event of a polygamous situation in France?

In France, polygamy can be proven by any means, such as:

  • civil status documents or a family record book proving another marriage
  • documents that prove another partner lives with you and your spouse, e.g; bills in their name with the same address as bills in your name
  • documents proving the birth of children from both unions and that they reside with their mother in your home.

Type of “titre de séjour” or residence permit issued

  • You are entitled to a temporary residence card or “carte de séjour temporaire” stating “vie privée et familiale” or private and family life. It is valid for one year. It allows you to work.

  • You can keep your “titre de séjour” and have it renewed if you still meet the conditions that enabled you to obtain it, with the exception of having to live with your partner, and on the condition that you can prove the violence.

    This means that if you are still married, for example if your divorce has not yet been granted by the judge, you should be able to renew your “titre de séjour” even if you no longer live with your spouse.

    If you have filed a complaint against the perpetrator of the violence and the proceedings are still ongoing, you should inform the “prefécture” when you apply for the renewal. They might take it into account when considering your application, even if this is not provided for by law.

  • If you have lived in France for at least five years, or three years in certain cases, you can request a “carte de résident” if you meet certain conditions. Learn more

Algerian citizens

In principle, these provisions do not apply to people with Algerian nationality. If you are an Algerian citizen, your immigration status in France is governed by a bilateral agreement which does not provide for this situation.

However, this agreement stipulates that for the granting of your first “titre de séjour” as a spouse of a French person or “conjointe de Français”, you do not have to provide proof that you live with your spouse.

If you have stopped living with your partner due to domestic violence before receiving your first residence permit or “titre de séjour” known as an Algerian residence certificate or “certificat de résidence algérien”, the local French administrative authority responsible for examining applications for residence permits known as the “préfecture” will be required to issue you the certificate. Applicable law: Article 6.2 of the Franco-Algerian Agreement of 27 December 1968 as amended.

If cohabitation ends after the first issue of a “titre de séjour”, the “préfecture” might still approve the renewal of your “titre de séjour”, taking the abusive situation into account.

It is therefore recommended to highlight the fact that you have experienced domestic violence and provide any supporting evidence in your application.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • La Cimade” is an organisation that specialises in supporting all immigrant and migrant people, and refugees in France, particularly people facing violence.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • They will be able to inform you and support you in your administrative procedures related to the right of residence in France, and direct you to other services depending on your personal situation.
    • Languages available: French, English and Spanish.
    • Contact :
      • without an appointment at a centre near you
      • by telephone on 01 40 08 05 34 or 06 77 82 79 09 on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Gisti” is an organisation specialising in legal advice to immigrants and refugees in France.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • They will be able to inform you about your rights relating to your residency rights and explain how to obtain them.
    • Language available: mainly French.
    • Contact:
      • By phone on +331 84 60 90 26 from Monday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and also from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday. The line is sometimes saturated, do not be discouraged. It is sometimes easier to reach them towards the end of the day.
      • By post to “Gisti, 3 villa Marcès 75011 Paris, France”. Print and complete this form and include in your letter with a photocopy of any administrative documents that could be relevant. Be sure to specify your question as clearly as possible, including all elements that could help the “Gisti” advisor to understand your situation.
  • Associations” are organisations that offer various services. Some are specialised in immigration.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They can inform you about your rights in France, and sometimes support you with immigration procedures.
    • Language available: mainly French.
    • Contact: you can search by region and department in this directory.
  • Authorised associations or “associations habilitées” can offer highly specialised services to asylum seekers.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They can inform you about your rights, advise you, support you in your administrative procedures and come with you to your meeting with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons or “Office français de la protection des réfugiés et des apatrides (OFPRA)”.
    • Language available: mainly French, interpretation possible.
    • Contact: you can find a “associations habilitées” near you in this directory.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

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