Do I have to agree to Republican values to get French residency?

A contract is required for most people signing multi-year residency agreements

Those looking to stay in France for the long-term will need to sign a contract to uphold ‘Republican values’
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Reader Question: I have been asked to sign a contrat d'intégration républicaine as part of my residency application, and I do not know much about the document. Does it mean anything political, such as I cannot be a monarchist (I like Charles III!)?

The contrat d'intégration républicaine (CIR) is signed by non-EU citizens who are applying for a multi-year residency permit to live in France (titre de séjour pluriannuel or 10-year carte de résident).

However there are some exceptions, such as for Britons with a Withdrawal Agreement residency card, who do not need to sign it.

It is also not required for those visiting the country on holiday (either with a three-month Schengen visa or visa-free access of 90 days to the Schengen area) or those coming to France on a visa for 12 months or less.

The CIR is presented during your first interview with the Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration (Ofii) as part of the application process for residency.

It is provided both in French and your native language – you can find a copy in English here.

You must take ‘civic training’ and pass language test

Alongside the ‘republican values’ it asks you to adhere to (see more about these below), the document requires you attend ‘civic training’ about French life, covering a total of 24 hours, usually split into multiple sessions over the course of four months.

It also requires proof of your French language level, either via previous qualifications or by agreeing to obtain a certain level in a language test given by Ofii.

Those applying for a multi-year permit are expected to reach at least the basic level of A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

If your French is below a certain level at the time of application you must agree to attend free or subsidised French language classes accredited by Ofii. The level required is A1 (very basic) for ordinary multi-year cards (usually issued for four years) and, for a resident’s card, the slightly higher A2.

Read more: A1, C2: What is the CEFR language rating in France?

The contract is completed after one year during a second interview with Ofii, with evidence of having done any training requested and that you are well integrated in France.

It can be terminated prior to this if you fail to uphold the rules laid out.

Is the contract political?

The CIR does not make mention of any political choices (such as being a republican instead of a monarchist).

However, it does require those who sign it to respect the essential values of French society and of the Republic.

These values include freedom of expression and belief, freedom of political opinion, and laïcité – the latter referring to the fact that the state is secular and does not impose any particular religion.

It also includes equality of citizens with regard to characteristics such as gender, race and origins and sexual orientation.

You can find a list of other such ‘Principles of the Republic’ on the official Élysée Palace website here.

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