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How do we move from a visa to having a French carte de séjour?

We look at how to apply for a French residency permit as opposed to renewing a visa

We look at the carte de séjour online application process Pic: fizkes / Shutterstock

Reader Question: My wife and I sold all our UK property and moved to France in October on a visa long séjour. The only link we can find on the préfecture website is for the renewal of our visas. We are now tax resident in France and have no other residence so can we not apply for a carte de séjour instead of renewing our visas?

Whether you hold a visa long séjour valant titre de séjour (VLS-TS), which is valid for up to a year, or a visa long séjour, it is possible to extend your time in France by applying for a residence permit (carte de séjour). 

This must be done between four and two months before your visa expires. 

You can begin the application process online, on this interior ministry page, where you should click on the ‘Je demande ou renouvelle un titre de séjour’ (I am applying for or renewing a resident permit) section. 

You will then be asked to enter your visa number, along with its start and end dates before being invited to create an account. 

You will have to provide images of documents including your visa, birth certificate, passport, proof of address, three passport photos, proof of sufficient funds and proof of health insurance. 

The funds that you will need to have at your disposal depend on the type of resident permit you are applying for, but for a carte de séjour - visiteur you should have the equivalent of €15,631.75. 

This can be shown through bank statements from the last three months, pension statements, rental income, dividend statements or any other relevant evidence. You can find out more on the government website. 

The application will cost €225 to be paid in timbres fiscaux, which can be bought from a tabac or online.

If your application is successful, you will be asked to go to your local prefecture to collect the permit. 

If not, you will be notified of the refusal by your prefecture, with the reasons for the rejection outlined. This notification will normally be accompanied by an order to leave French territory, although it can be appealed. 

If your prefecture fails to respond to you within four months, you should assume that your application has failed and you will have two months in which to appeal.

Related articles 

France to develop ‘more demanding immigrant integration process’

Under what circumstances do you need to validate a French visa?

French residency card u-turn - you can apply in person at préfecture

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