Updates: French long-term residency cards and UK life certificates

We reply to a reader’s concern about applying for carte de résident de longue-durée and look at a MP’s feedback on life certificates

Pension recipients must currently send in paper life certificates so that the DWP can ensure that pensions are paid correctly

There is, in principle, no risk involved in applying for a carte de résident de longue-durée if you meet the criteria, an immigration lawyer has clarified.

In the worst-case scenario, he said, officials just ‘implicitly’ refuse this by renewing the previous residency card a person held instead.

The Connexion contacted him after a reader asked if a refusal would impact their status in France.

The carte de résident de longue-durée is the main option for non-EU citizens who have lived in France for at least five years on cartes de séjour to obtain a more secure status, which is not dependent on means or how they earn (or do not earn) a living. 

The card lasts 10 years and allows them to apply for jobs without the employer having to obtain a work permit for them.

Read more: Permanent residency cards in France: 2024 renewal rules

Official sites say people qualifying should apply two months before their existing card expires but lawyer Alexandre Gillioen, from Lyon, said you can apply as soon as you qualify. 

Criteria include a full five years stay without long periods away, income equal to the minimum wage (€1,766.92 gross a month and 1,398.70 € net), integration, and passing a French test if aged under 65. 

Even if it is refused, he has not heard of people being told to leave France, unless they are deemed ‘dangerous’.

UK life certificates deemed ‘antiquated’

The UK’s pensions minister believes the current system of checking that state pension recipients overseas are alive by asking them to send back paper ‘life certificates’ is “antiquated and needs to be moved to an IT solution”, says UK MP Roger Gale, who had a recent meeting with him. 

Mr Gale said that making sure the DWP has a valid email address for you is likely to help with the process. 

A DWP spokesperson said: “DWP continues to keep the operation of the life certificate process under review, which includes exploring electronic solutions to modernise and improve the process.”

Read more: Do UK pensioners in France now have to use digital life certificates?

Life certificates are used by the DWP to ensure that pensions are being paid correctly to recipients overseas. 

Then pensions minister Laura Trott said last year the ministry was ‘looking into’ a digital format, however it has not as yet been clarified if paper ones would be stopped altogether and we are not aware of any precise timing for this.