How to apply online for a French residency card 

You can submit applications for some cartes de séjour - including for renewals - via the official website, but Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cards still require a visit to the prefecture

Close up of Visa for France
In person applications at the departmental prefecture are still a requirement for Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cards - including for renewals.
Published Last updated

Online applications for new cartes de séjour and renewals are available for various types of residency cards, including student and visitor cards, but not Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cards. We look at how this works in 2024.

The French authorities had planned for all residency card applications to happen online, however this process has been delayed. In 2024, some cards still require a visit to the prefecture. 

In person applications at the departmental prefecture are still a requirement for Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cards - including for renewals.

Which French residency cards can you apply for online?

You can apply for the following cards on the website of the Administration Numérique des Étrangers en France, or Anef, here:

  • Visa Etudiant - for students staying for longer than three months

  • Carte de séjour visiteur - for people who want to live in France on a long-term basis (more than three months) but without working. 

  • Passeports talents for certain highly-qualified workers 

  • Carte de résident de longue-durée UE (EU long-term resident card). This is for people who have lived in an EU country for at least five years, meeting certain ‘stable and legal’ residency criteria, including earning at least the French minimum wage.

Read more: What are the various kinds of French residency cards?

You can use the same website to request duplicate residency cards due to loss or theft or to signal a change of situation (change of address, name or family status).

How to apply for a residency card on the Anef website?

For first time applications, click Je demande un premier titre sans numéro étranger, sans visa.

For renewals, click Je demande ou renouvelle un titre de séjour.

If you need a new card due to other circumstances (loss, change of address, etc.) click Je déclare un changement de situation.

For this, will usually need your numéro d’étranger which can be found along the right-hand side of ordinary French residency cards printed between 2011 and 2020.

On cards printed since October 2020 you need the 10-figure number marked numéro personnel printed in the middle of the card near the bottom.

Read more: French residency permit delays spark protest - how long should it take?

Applying for a residency card at the prefecture

Applications for other cards - including Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cards - are still made on paper at prefectures, as are their renewals.

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

If in doubt contact your departmental prefecture – you can find its contact details online. 

There is one main prefecture per department of France and sometimes also smaller sous-préfectures but usually the latter do not deal with residency. Many prefectures have a section of their website relating to étrangers (foreigners).

Applications frequently involve a visit to the prefecture to provide supporting documents for review, as well as to give passport photographs and have your fingerprints scanned.

Once this is done and officials are satisfied they have everything required they will give you a récépissé – application receipt – which constitutes proof of you having carried out the process.

When your card is ready you might have to visit again to collect the card. Prefectures typically notify people of this by text message.

The Anef has a ‘questions’ section with tips at:

What types of photographs are accepted for French residency cards?

Photographs should be taken in official booths featuring the French ‘Marianne’ logo. Usually, these can be found in train stations or post offices in France. 

If you need a photo for online purposes, look for a booth that allows for the creation of digital photos stored online. These are printed out and include a code that can be entered on websites to retrieve the photo.

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