Readers' experiences of applying for a carte de séjour

Thank you to all of the people who have sent in emails to Connexion about experiences of applying for a carte de séjour - here is an edited selection.

If you would like to add yours, then please do so in the comments section below.

These testimonies are also included in our 96-page helpguide to Brexit and Britons in France.

The Interior Ministry, in charge of the prefectures, has repeatedly told Connexion that Britons in France have the right to these cards, including the 'séjour permanent' one, if you have been in France more than five years.

It is recommended to obtain one so as to help secure your rights after Brexit.

Agen: 

MY WIFE and I recently applied for a carte de séjour. The process was straightforward and we received our cartes less than three weeks after our application interview.

We went to collect them and officials told us that, after March 2019, it was more than likely that our cartes would no longer be valid as they were issued on the basis that we were EU

citizens and, after that date, this would no longer be the case.

A friend was advised not to bother with his application and to wait until March 2019 and apply under whatever rules may then apply.

Ain:

WE REQUESTED a clarification from the prefecture of the exact documents required to justify our applications. The reply in both cases was simply that we do not need a permis de séjour since we are still EU citizens, without further explanation or help.

Albi:

IN 2001, the prefecture granted us five-year cartes de séjour, but when we applied to renew them in 2006 our application was refused as we were European and didn’t need them. In October 2016, we applied once more and our application was accepted immediately. Just before Christmas we received a text inviting us to collect our cards.

Annecy:

WE WENT to the prefecture to get our carte de séjour permanent and it could not have been easier. We had booked two half hour consultations via the internet, but on arrival were told that both our cards would be processed at the same time. One hour 10 minutes and job done, temporary cards and real ones arriving in three months. They do not run for 10 years from the day they are issued but for 10 years from your passport start date.

Arras:

WE WENT to our local prefecture and obtained the forms, checked the government website for the list of documents to include and took both the originals and a photocopy with us. We set up a meeting using the website, and gave all the papers and copies to a charming lady who returned five minutes later with the temporary cartes de séjour. Two months later we attended a second appointment and returned home with our new cartes de séjour.

Aveyron:

I HAVE commenced my application but the prefecture has said is only prepared to process an application for a five year titre de séjour.

IN RESPONSE to my request for a titre de séjour permanent, I have received the response that the prefecture could refuse to provide any kind of carte de séjour as there is no requirement for a European to hold a residency permit.

Avignon:

MY HUSBAND and I applied for the carte de séjour permanent at the end of last year. It took months to process our applications. Despite my request for the EU permanent residence card we have been granted carte de séjour UE/EEE/Suisse that don’t carry the critical words séjour permanent and are issued for five years.

Béziers (Hérault):

AFTER having gathered all the necessary papers and had them interpreted, my wife and I met with a very friendly and helpful lady who accepted them and had us fingerprinted. Six weeks later we had an email to say our cartes de séjour were ready.

I GOT mine from the sub-prefecture. Their website gave all the information needed for an application. They had a computerised appointment system which worked perfectly. I had all the information specified but no birth certificate which had not been specified. I was asked to produce a certified translation done within the last three months, but the official agreed to accept an old translation.

Charente-Maritime:

I HAVE tried to get an appointment since July 2016. I have written, emailed, tried online and today spoke to a lady at the bureau de droits des étrangers who said the Ministry has declared that they should not give appointments concerning titres de séjour to British nationals.

Châteauroux:

WE CONTACTED our application for the 7 year + carte de séjour and it was not too difficult. They want to know that you have income coming in and, that you are paying the correct amount of taxes. Also, if you are applying for a married couple, you have to duplicate the forms for the other half.

WE HAVE cartes de séjour dated September 2016. However, the cartes do not include the words séjour permanent and are due to expire in only five years. We both receive UK government and UK state pensions and, using our S1 certificates, we obtained our Carte Vitales in 2010. Local friends have been treated in a similar way.

Colmar:

WE WENT to the prefecture to apply for cartes de séjour, with the relevant documents. We were told the carte de séjour UE no longer existed due to the free movement of people across the EU. The non-EU did not apply yet as we are still EU residents.

Dijon:

WE SENT off our completed applications including a copy of the first page of our tax returns for the last five years in France. Both applications have been returned by the prefecture in Dijon asking for copies recto-verso of our tax returns.

Dordogne:

WE HAD three visits to the prefecture, the first to establish what documents we had to provide (20 min wait), to produce the documents (10 mins) and to collect our cards (no wait at all). Our cards were ready after about three weeks, and the experience was trouble-free.

Foix:

BOTH my wife and I applied. We had our temporary carte the same day and the permanent ones three weeks down the line. Their service was impeccable.

Gap:

WE ENTERED the building at 09:30 and by 10:00 we were enjoying a coffee in the main square. The official couldn’t have been more helpful. We should receive our cards in about a month.

Gers:

WE CONTACTED our local prefecture and they emailed a list of documents required. Copies required include birth and marriage certificates, passports, five years electricity bills, and letters from the UK state pension fund proving you are retired (if relevant).

OUR prefecture offices open at 08:30 and we arrived at 08:45. We had to wait for less than an hour and left at 10:00 with cartes de séjour valid for six months. We were told to expect a phone call during that time, asking us to call at their office once the final documents are ready to collect.

PERHAPS we have been fortunate but the whole system was streamlined and the staff were very pleasant. We were home in time for lunch.

Haute-Vienne:

WE MADE our applications providing all the documentation specified. We’ve been tax residents in France since 2009 and produced copies of all our avis d’Impositions, as well as taxe foncières and taxe d’habitation to prove stays of more than 183 days each year, and residence as well as ownership of property.

We also provided copies of our Insee registrations and RSI Attestations.

We received a reply requesting proof of our entry into France and photocopies of every page of each of our passports. We provided the latter but our passports were never stamped on entry to France, as we are UK passport holders. We have heard nothing since.

Lot:

I HAVE proof that French authorities are deliberately blocking applications by British nationals for the renewal of cartes de séjour. We submitted all documents in June 2017 to change our cartes to reflect our move from Corrèze to the Lot.

The prefecture in Corrèze has still not sent the necessary documents. Today my wife was told by the mairie that an official block had been put on all such matters covering British nationals due to the Brexit negotiations.

OUR experience so far has been a nightmare. We went with the documents requested on the website but were asked for an attestation from the bank and for health and self-employment attestations. When we went back with the documents we explained we wanted the carte de séjour UE permanent but were told this was not available. We were handed a regular carte de séjour UE for only five years.

I APPLIED for one in June, after the Brexit vote, and was successful. However, when I made my application it was pointed out that they are now only valid for five years.

OUR local prefecture is still churning out the ‘You don’t need one’ mantra and clearly there is some confusion on the part of certain administrations.

La Rochelle:

WE TRIED in vain to get an appointment for a carte de séjour. We can get through to the site, even select a rendez-vous time, but there is no option for new cartes de séjour for UK persons.

I CONTACTED our prefecture last week in order to obtain an appointment and was told that currently they are not accepting applications or issuing cards to British citizens as within two years they would not be valid - we would not be EU citizens.

Mont-De-Marsan:

I GOT mine about 6 weeks ago from the local prefecture in Mont-de-Marsan and it was very straightforward. The lady made photocopies of all the relevant documents. She took prints of all 10 fingers and sent me on my way. I got a letter a few weeks later to say my card was ready for collection.

Nice:

THANKS to your articles I was able to navigate the process reasonably smoothly, having all the relevant documents to hand. However, despite the national rule being that one should be issued with a 10-year carte straight away, I was given a one-year carte, and told I could renew that in 12 months’ time.

I AM 72. I sent a letter requesting an application form. After four weeks I received a letter advising me that applications cannot be dealt with by post as they need a fingerprint record and I should present myself between set hours. On arrival there was already a queue of around 100 people. I waited for half an hour, but then the security officer said I might have to wait three hours and even then might not get seen, and that the queue started at 06:30 every morning. At that point I gave up and left.

WE HAD to queue up but they were pretty helpful. However, they said we had to have a letter proving our pension income from the UK. We spoke to the Pension Office and they are happy to provide this but it will be in English as they no longer produce this in French as they did when we first applied.

Niort:

I WAS not allowed to apply for a carte de séjour at the prefecture at the beginning of this month. I was told that they were not accepting any applications from UK citizens pending clarification from the French government.

Orne:

TO AVOID a wasted trip we asked a court approved translator to phone the prefecture to double check on the documents required for an application for cartes de séjour. She was told categorically that they would not issue these cards to EU nationals and that the right to apply for one didn’t apply here!

WE WENT to our prefecture to ask for an application form to apply for a carte de séjour UE – séjour permanent. We were asked our nationality and when I said “English” the lady said we could not do so because they had not received any texte following the referendum.

FRIENDS of mine obtained theirs with no problem. I asked my mayor, whom we have known as a personal friend for thirteen years and he said they are not necessary until Britain leaves the EU.

Périgueux:

I TRIED for a UE carte residence and was told by the prefecture that even if I were granted one it could be useless after Brexit as I would no longer be an EU citizen.

Perpignan:

HAVING decided to apply for carte de séjour UE permanent we made an appointment with the prefecture. Our couple of queries were promptly answered by email enabling us to provide the complete dossier. We received our new cards three weeks later.

Privas:

THE prefecture is digging its heels in, saying I do not need a carte de séjour and to use my passport. I emailed again to say that although I know a carte is not obligatory it is an option I’m requesting – I await a reply.

Rennes:

I WAS informed I was not entitled to a permanent carte de séjour, even after 10 years in France. I insisted she check with her boss. Same reply: you must hold five temporary ones before a permanent one can be issued. After some months it came, and expires in December.

SO FAR not good. I made an initial application via email as instructed on the prefecture website and received a reply saying that I would receive a form to complete within five working days. Ten working days later, I have received no reply. And the email warns not to send another email, nor go to the prefecture!

Roche-sur-Yon:

WE CONTACTED the prefecture in our department and also at Nantes. In both cases we were asked our nationality and when we replied ‘British’ we were told that it was not necessary for us to have a carte de séjour at the moment.

I WENT to the prefecture and she said ‘don’t worry, you are English, you don’t need one’.

LA ROCHE-SUR-YON are not issuing cartes de séjour - we went with all the relevant docs only to be told by a very intransigent official from the bureau d’étrangers that as we are still European until such time as advised otherwise, the prefecture were not entertaining the idea at all.

WE WENT to the prefecture and were told the French Minister has stopped and blocked anyone getting a permanent residence permit.

ARMED with all the necessary documentation I went to our local mairie, who said I would have to go to the prefecture. The lady there refused to allow me one as I was European. I insisted, to no avail.

Saint-Lô:

I ASKED the documents required for an application and they wrote a list. I came back a week later with all, they filled out forms and said they would contact me in three weeks. Sure enough, they emailed to tell me that the cartes de séjour had arrived and were ready.

WE ASKED for a carte de séjour UE permanent after 10 years of residency in France. We are aged 64 and 61 respectively and have been classed as inactif as not in receipt of British state pensions. We proved sufficient resources to continue to reside on France and not be a burden on the state. However, we have only been offered a carte de séjour inactif temporaire for five years.

I TRIED to get a carte de séjour permanent but was told my husband and I would have to prove we weren’t in any way reliant on the French state.

Saint-Brieuc:

THE MAIRIE obtained the relevant forms from the prefecture, which I duly completed and sent back. After a year I’d heard nothing so went to see my mairie again. They were told that my application would not be processed as ‘it was not a priority’. I had hoped to apply for citizenship but abandoned the plan.

MY WIFE and I applied for a carte de séjour permanent, four weeks later we collected them. They have the words permanent on them. So no problems in Brittany. Our friends also had a similar experience.

I AM awaiting notification that my carte de séjour permanent is ready for me to collect. I made two visits to the prefecture, as the first time I had not thought to bring some papers which had not been mentioned in the online information. On both occasions I was dealt with kindly and efficiently. Once I had moved on to the stage where my finger prints were being taken, I knew my paperwork had been accepted and I was on my way.

Tarbes:

WE MOVED to France in 2002 and acquired our carte de séjour fairly promptly. Our cartes were due to require renewal in March 2008 but we were told not to bother as they were no longer needed.

A month ago we attempted to re-activate our cartes and ran into a wall of bureaucracy. We have been asked to provide our marriage certificate translated into French, birth certificates, five years’ tax returns, bank statements, domestic supplies receipts, passports, four photos, and proof of ownership of our house.

WE APPLIED several months ago for carte de séjour having lived here for 13 years. We were told at the original interview that these would be valid for the length of validity of our passports (10 and 4 years) and would be renewable. However, when we collected them we found they are valid for one year only.

Touraine:

WE HAVE applied a few times for a carte de séjour and been rejected each time. We tried again in May. The man that we saw said that he had seen loads of Brits and sent them all away without a carte de séjour.

Vienne:

WHEN I moved to France over 17 years ago a carte de séjour was obligatory and issued with no problem, valid for five years. At renewal the prefecture said it was no longer required for EU citizens in France so could not be renewed. I asked about a carte de résident de longue durée and was told they would consider it if and when Brexit happened.

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