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Too hard, no internet: 33% of adults in France do no online admin

A new study shows that it is mainly older people, those without higher education and the unemployed who struggle most with online procedures

A study shows that 32% of people in France gave up on an online process after having started it Pic: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

One third of adults in France did not carry out any administrative process online in 2021, a recent study by national statistics bureau Insee shows. 

Of these people, 40% of them did not use the internet at all in this period. 

The report comes as France moves towards making online administrative procedures the norm, in favour of other methods such as letters or in-person appointments. 

Tax declarations are now obligatorily online for most people in most cases, with exceptions for those without access to the internet. It is also still possible for first-time declarations to be made on paper. 

The Insee study, published on May 11, found that 67% of people aged 18 or over living in metropolitan France said they carried out “at least one administrative procedure online” in 2021. 

This is up from just 33% in 2011. 

Of the people who said that they did not carry out any processes online:

  • 30% said they preferred sending forms or applications by post
  • 26% said they carried out administrative procedures in person
  • 24% said they lacked the necessary IT skills to carry out procedures online
  • 20% said they had no need to carry out any administrative procedures in 2021

The study found that it is mainly older people, those without higher education and the unemployed who are most likely to struggle with online administrative procedures. 

In a reflection of the lingering complexities of carrying out procedures online, the study showed that 32% of adults gave up trying to carry out an administrative procedure online at least once in 2021. 

Among them, 75% found another way to do it (for example phoning or going in person). The rest of them gave up completely. 

Of those who gave up on an online procedure, 30.2% reported internet failure as the reason, 29.1% said it was too complicated and 25.7% said they did not even try because they felt incapable of doing it. 

Have you had any issues trying to carry out administrative procedures on a French website? Or have you had any positive experiences? Let us know at

France Services support

In 2019, the government rebranded and updated its network of centres aimed at helping people with administrative processes.

The centres used to be called Maison de Services Au Public (MSAP) but are now ‘France Services’. 

There are over 2,000 France Services points around the country. They are usually small offices or information booths and the government states that at least two trained staff members will be on hand at all times. 

You can find your closest one via this link

You can read more about how France Services works in our article here: What are France Services points and how can they help you?

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