The conditions for applying for a “carte de résident” or resident card after three or five years in France

If you have been living in France with valid residency rights for at least five years, or just three years for certain nationalities, you can request a residence permit known as a “carte de résident” which is valid for ten years. It might be issued to you if you meet certain conditions.

Verified by FNCIDFF on 30/05/2022

If you have been living in France with valid residency rights for at least three or five years, depending on your nationality, and want to settle permanently in France, you can request a “carte de résident” or resident card valid for ten years.

The request must be made at the local French administrative authority known as the “préfecture” or “sub-préfecture”.

A “carte de résident” is not issued automatically: the “préfecture” has discretionary power regarding your application. It will be essential to provide evidence of a stable life in France.

Conditions

If you are a citizen of one of the following countries, the conditions apply after three years of residence in France: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia.

If you are a citizen of another country, the conditions apply after five years of residence in France.

The conditions are:

  • you have been living in France without interruption and with valid residency rights i.e. with a residence permit or “titre de séjour” for at least three or five years, depending on your nationality
  • you have resources that are considered stable and sufficient, such as a permanent employment contract known as a “CDI” and the minimum wage known as “SMIC” (other situations and sources of income might be taken into account)
  • you have health insurance in France, state or private
  • you have a level of French equal to or higher than level A2.

Please note that some types or residence permits or “titres de séjour” do not count in the three or five-year calculation:

  • those with a period of validity of less than one year, for example a provisional residence permit or “l’autorisation provisoire de séjour (APS)
  • and those marked as follows:
    • stagiaire” or intern
    • étudiant” or student
    • salarié détaché ICT” or seconded IT employee
    • travailleur saisonnier” or seasonal worker
    • retraité” or retired
    • and “passeports talent”, or talent passports, which are issued to people who come to France to carry out an employed profession, and their family members.

Applicable law: Articles L.426–17 et seq. of the “CESEDA”.

Documents to provide

To apply for a residence card or “carte de résident” based on the time you have lived in France, you will need to provide:

  • Documents proving that you have lived in France for at least three or five years, depending on the rule that applies to your nationality. For example, legible photocopies of your old “titres de séjour” if you have them, except those that are not taken into account (see Conditions).
  • Documents that can prove that you have generated sufficient and stable financial resources over the last three or five years, for example:
    • your last three or five annual income tax notices or “avis d’imposition
    • if you are an employee: a document proving that you currently have an employment contract, known as a “certificat de travail”, dated within the last three months and your last three pay slips or “fiches de paie" and the “fiches de paie” for the month of December for the last three or five years
    • if you are not employed, documents that can prove your financial resources, such as bank statements, declarations of your turnover to the national service that collects social security contributions called “URSAFF”, etc.
  • A document proving that you have health insurance in France:
    • if you rely on the state health insurance system known as “sécurité sociale”: a document known as a certificate of health insurance or “attestation d’assurance maladie” can be downloaded from your Ameli.fr account or collected from a centre of the national health insurance organisation known as the “Assurance maladie
    • if you have private health insurance: a document known as a certificate or “attestation” of your insurance.
  • An official document proving that your French level is above or equal to A2. To do this, you must either:
    • have passed an official French test recognised by the “préfecture
    • have obtained a diploma proving your knowledge of French, recognised by the “préfecture”. For more information, please visit this website.
  • Any document that allows you to demonstrate your willingness to settle in France on a long-term basis: diplomas obtained in France, voluntary assignments, participation in voluntary activities, etc.

Type of “titre de séjour” issued

You might receive a document allowing you to settle in France for a long period of time, known as a resident card or “carte de résident”. It is valid for ten years. It allows you to work.

Renewal

If you have obtained a “carte de résident”, you can have it renewed when it expires, even if you no longer meet the conditions that enabled you to obtain it.

However, there are exceptions. For example, if you leave French territory for more than three consecutive years, the “préfecture” might decide to withdraw your “carte de résident” and/or refuse its renewal.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • La Cimade” is an organisation that specialises in supporting all immigrant and migrant people, and refugees in France, particularly people facing violence.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • They will be able to inform you and support you in your administrative procedures related to the right of residence in France, and direct you to other services depending on your personal situation.
    • Languages available: French, English and Spanish.
    • Contact :
      • without an appointment at a centre near you
      • by telephone on 01 40 08 05 34 or 06 77 82 79 09 on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Gisti” is an organisation specialising in legal advice to immigrants and refugees in France.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • They will be able to inform you about your rights relating to your residency rights and explain how to obtain them.
    • Language available: mainly French.
    • Contact:
      • By phone on +331 84 60 90 26 from Monday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and also from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday. The line is sometimes saturated, do not be discouraged. It is sometimes easier to reach them towards the end of the day.
      • By post to “Gisti, 3 villa Marcès 75011 Paris, France”. Print and complete this form and include in your letter with a photocopy of any administrative documents that could be relevant. Be sure to specify your question as clearly as possible, including all elements that could help the “Gisti” advisor to understand your situation.
  • Associations” are organisations that offer various services. Some are specialised in immigration.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They can inform you about your rights in France, and sometimes support you with immigration procedures.
    • Language available: mainly French.
    • Contact: you can search by region and department in this directory.
  • Authorised associations or “associations habilitées” can offer highly specialised services to asylum seekers.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They can inform you about your rights, advise you, support you in your administrative procedures and come with you to your meeting with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons or “Office français de la protection des réfugiés et des apatrides (OFPRA)”.
    • Language available: mainly French, interpretation possible.
    • Contact: you can find a “associations habilitées” near you in this directory.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

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