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French court rules residence permit applications cannot be online only

It comes after the government last year introduced laws to fully digitalise the process

France's residence permit application process cannot be fully online, a French court has ruled Pic: Novikov Aleksey / Shutterstock

A government decree ruling that the process for applying for residence permits must be carried out entirely online has been overturned by France’s highest administrative court in a decision taken yesterday (June 3). 

The Conseil d'Etat stated that an alternative process must be offered to foreigners when applying.

“At present, although the government provides support for users of the online service, it does not provide an alternative solution in the event of a failure related to the design or operation of the online service,” the Conseil d'Etat stated in its decision. 

It means the government must reinstate the possibility for applications to be done in person at the local prefecture. 

France introduced legislation to move the residence permit application system entirely online in March and April last year.

But several associations and trade unions raised concerns that it had a negative impact on certain people who were unable to use online processes and/or get help to use them. 

They brought their case to the Conseil d'Etat, who ruled in their favour. 

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