Officials asking for birth certificates for carte

Bureaucratic problems are still reported with some applications for a carte de séjour

Connexion is continuing to hear from readers who are being told they must provide a birth certificate when applying for a carte de séjour – this is incorrect.

As we have earlier reported, due to prefectures asking for various pièces (documents to support an application) that are not officially required, the Interior Ministry sent a list to the prefectures and asked them to stick to it. The list is at this link and we translated it for readers’ convenience here.

As you can see, the only case in which birth certificates are mentioned are if you are not an EU citizen  but are applying for a residency card based on marriage to or a close family relationship with someone who is.

We recently queried the fact of some prefectures still failing to stick to the list with a spokesman for the DGRF, the ministry branch dealing with foreign people in France, and they stated that the list has no legal force as such – it does not for example allow them to fine prefectures that ignore it. Nonetheless, he added: “All the same it is based on immigration law. As a result, prefectures are not supposed to demand documents not mentioned there.”

His advice was that if you find yourself facing an unhelpful official then you should ask to speak to the chef de service (superviser). As a last resort you can write to complain to the prefect with a recours gracieux letter, he said.

In practice, we know that the latter suggestion is not going to help much if you want to get on with your application. So, we strongly advise that if faced with this request you explain that birth certificates are not required for Europeans and are not mentioned, either in the ministry list that was sent to prefectures (which we suggest printing out and taking with you), nor on the official Service-Public website, which has pages about cartes de séjour applications for Europeans at this link (see bottom right, Carte de séjour pour Européen).

If necessary do ask to see the superviser, the chef de service.

However, to avoid the problem arising, it may be best in any case to take a birth certificate and a photocopy of it, when you go to submit your dossier. It can do no harm if you have one to hand.

That does then, however invite the question of whether some officials may insist that a sworn translation is also needed into French and/or may object if it was issued less than three months ago…

The latter point applies in the case of French birth certificate ‘extracts’, because French certificates are kept updated with notes relating to your family situation, such as marriages and children; however as we explained further in this previous article in theory prefectures should know it is unnecessary for British ones. 

We strongly advise anyone experiencing this problem lets the British Embassy in Paris know, naming the prefecture, as they say they are in regular contact with the Interior Ministry about problems such as this. Email them on  Please also let us at Connexion know of any problems via

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