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Old 15.06.2020, 13:25
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Applying for family reunification while inside Switzerland on a tourist visa?

My wife & I are both Indian citizens. I moved to Geneva recently and have a B permit; she lives in the US. After the lockdown ended, I went to the cantonal authority (OCPM) to ask about the family reunification visa process.

The OCPM representative told me that the approval process for these was taking longer than 1 year even before the lockdown, and would probably take longer now. However, she also told me "It's not the proper way, but she can come to Switzerland on a tourist visa and then try here".

Do any of you know more about this? Would there be any problems/advantages/disadvantages associated with applying for family reunification from within Switzerland? We certainly don't want to break any rules, but if this is allowed and would not take longer, it sounds like an appealing possibility.

Alternatively, if you could recommend a lawyer in the Geneva area dealing with these kinds of immigration questions, I would appreciate it.
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Old 15.06.2020, 13:41
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Re: Applying for family reunification while inside Switzerland on a tourist visa?

Welcome to the forum.

I'm sorry, but I would be very wary of this info. Technically it's not allowed, she should stay in the US until she's granted a family reunification permit and gets a Type D visa from the consulate/embassy to allow her to enter Switzerland for more than the 90 day tourist limit.

While it may be that OCPM say it's okay there's no guarantee it actually will be when she arrives and applies. If it's taking them so long she'll be well past the time she's allowed to be here on a tourist visa so would either have to get permission from them (in writing preferably so you have proof) that she can stay past the 3 months, she returns to the States again for 3 months before coming back as a tourist for 3 months and then leaving again or she overstays, they're unhappy about that and ban her from entering the country/Schengen Area again for several years.

And I don't think there's anything a lawyer could do to speed up the process, it takes as long as it takes. Nothing a lawyer could do to change that.
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Old 15.06.2020, 13:43
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Re: Applying for family reunification while inside Switzerland on a tourist visa?

Did you actually start the application process ?



I don't know about the '1 year' time period...that sounds very strange to me - usually it's up to 3 months...



Personally, I'd just start the visa process ASAP the normal way and get it done. When we applied to come to Switzerland, the family applications were submitted with my husband's application, and they were approved one day later than his...



I have a suspicion that actually once processing starts again, they will put as much staff into it as they can to clear the backlog. Also, the load may be lower as people will put off applying if it's not essential.



for example , my normal permit was due for renewal, put the paperwork in last week monday, got the permit in the post on Friday. In previous years it would take 4,5, 6 weeks to get the permits sent out... basically, because non-essential work is on hold, essential work may actually happen more quickly.
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Old 15.06.2020, 13:53
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Re: Applying for family reunification while inside Switzerland on a tourist visa?

I also would not try the tourist route. Anecdotally, Geneva and Vaud were both rather behind in processing permit requests even before the Coronavirus hit.

Also for some reason, dependent permits for Indian citizens seem to be more complicated than others. I've read many stories on EF about needing apostilles, family members in India being interviewed, etc. and it taking far longer than a "normal" reunification.
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Old 26.06.2020, 07:11
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Re: Applying for family reunification while inside Switzerland on a tourist visa?

My boyfriend (non EU) was actually indeed on a tourist visa in Switzerland before we got married (me being EU citizen, holder of C permit at that time). Before the visa expired we got married and then applied directly here in Switzerland for visa D. A month after, his tourist visa expired and he went back to his country. He had to provide the requested documents for the visa D at the Consulate of Switzerland in his country. The country where he comes from is just a couple of hours flight though (unlike India or US). So, there was plenty of flexibility in leaving and entering the country. He got his visa D after about 3 months. In the meantime, he was able to be in Switzerland again thanks to a Schengen visa issued by the authorities of my country as we went on holidays there about a month and a half after our wedding...So, our situation was a lot easier than yours I imagine...If I was you, I would ask all the relevant questions in written to the cantonal authority here in Switzerland and to the applicable in your case Consulate of Switzerland abroad. These would be the two authorities involved in the visa D process of your wife so they should be able to answer all your questions.
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