Carte de séjour: your right despite problems

Readers continue to report problems with obtaining ‘permanent’ cartes de séjour which Britons who have lived in France for more than five years are entitled to.

Published Last updated

Recent issues include being given cards not intended for EU citizens or being charged hundreds of euros and (wrongly) paying for sworn translations of birth and marriage certificates. Another reader was told that ‘permanent’ cartes do not exist.

Other people are seeking French citizenship. According to statistics obtained by Le Monde, 1,363 Britons applied in 2016, up from 385 in 2015; those obtaining it rose from 320 to 439. The Financial Times says 2,369 French people applied for British nationality in 2016.

Here are some key points about cartes de séjour:

  • Britons in France remain EU citizens with full rights until such a time as the UK leaves the EU, which is not expected to happen until at least March 29, 2019.
  • There are only two cartes that are relevant; if you have been in France less than five years it is the Carte de séjour ‘Citoyen UE/EEE/Suisse’ (; if you have been in France more than five years it is the Carte de séjour ‘Citoyen UE/EEE/Suisse – Séjour permanent’ ( The latter has a renewal date in 10 years’ time, but renewal is by a simple process to check you still live in France.
  • Your card must mention EU citizenship (citoyen) and not just EU. For example a Carte de resident longue durée – UE, which is valid for 10 years and allows non-EU citizens to live and work in France without a visa, is not for Britons in France. It does not say ‘citoyen’.
  • EU citizen cards are free. It is incorrect to be charged.
  • EU citizen cards do not require marriage or birth certificates, translated or otherwise.
  • It is advisable to telephone your préfecture first before visiting to check you have the right documents and know where to go. You usually have to go in person, with originals and copies of papers.
  • If you cannot obtain your rights, you can raise a complaint via the EU’s Solvit service: