Verify my eligibility for French residency rights
This questionnaire has been designed to help you determine the reasons or “fondements” that could…
In order to live and work in France, you will need to apply for a document authorising you to remain in France, known as a “titre de séjour” residence permit, adapted to suit your situation. By thoroughly preparing your application, you will have more chance of success. This page only applies to people already in France.
Verified by FNCIDFF on 30/05/2022
This page is only for people who are already in France.
If you are currently abroad and you want to reside in France, you must first apply for a document called a “visa de long séjour” (long-stay visa) or “visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour“ (long-stay visa as a residence permit) from the French consulate in the country where you live.
If you wish to reside in France for the long term and are not a citizen of a European Union member state, you need to request a document authorising you to remain in France, known as a residence permit or “titre de séjour”.
You can start by completing this anonymous questionnaire to find out which elements of your situation could help you to obtain residency rights, and which residence permits or “titres de séjour” you might be eligible for.
Whatever your nationality or situation, residency rights in France are subject to two conditions:
You may have to pay a fee to receive a “titre de séjour”. The cost will depend on the type of “titre de séjour” and the reason why it is being granted. For example:
For your first ever application for a “titre de séjour” that is not free of charge, you will have to pay 50 euros when you submit the application:
If you apply for a “titre de séjour” while you do not have valid residency rights, you will also have to pay for an administrative regularisation visa or “visa de régularisation”. This applies to you if:
This “visa de régularisation” costs 250 euros.
Unfortunately, the French administrative system does not always function smoothly.
Procedures can be unclear and inconsistent, letters can be misplaced, etc.
Whenever you contact a French administrative authority by post, remember to:
When you receive a letter from the local French administration centre or “préfecture”, it is important to keep the envelope and the proof of receipt of the letter. The decisions of the “préfecture” must be executed or can be challenged from the date you receive the letter, not from the date of the decision. It is therefore important to have proof of the date you received the letter or decision.
Applying for a document authorising you to reside in France, known as a “titre de séjour”, can be difficult. The documents required are not always clear and the French administrative system does not always function smoothly; even making an appointment can be difficult due to internal dysfunctions.
We recommend that you contact an organisation offering free services known as an “association”or a lawyer specialised in the rights of foreign nationals to help you in this procedure.
Although the residence permit or “titre de séjour” application process is slowly improving in some parts of France, there are unfortunately still many issues, including unclear and inconsistent procedures and requirements.
While many employees of the French administrative authorities are respectful and professional, some employees can speak very aggressively or patronise foreign nationals who haven’t understood the administrative process, even if their confusion is due to missing or contradictory information. This is especially known to happen if you do not speak French well.
We know this can be very traumatic, but please don’t be discouraged – there are many qualified professionals out there to help you navigate these difficulties.
There are various documents that allow you to enter and/or reside in France. There are two categories:
Below, you will find the main documents that give the right to enter and/or reside in France.
In France, a “visa” is a document that gives you the right to enter the country. It does not allow you to reside and work in France.
Depending on your nationality, you may not need a visa.
There is a specific “visa” known as the “visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour (VLS-TS)” (long-stay visa serving as a residence permit) that allows you to enter and reside in France, on the condition that it is validated by the government organisation responsible for immigration and integration or the “Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration (OFII)”.
It is valid for up to one year. Once approved, it remains valid until the date indicated on the visa and allows the holder to work.
This visa may be applied for by all foreign nationals with the exception of Algerian and European citizens.
You can apply for this visa in different situations, for example:
To apply, you must complete the application form on this website.
After your arrival in France, you will have a deadline of three months to validate your “visa de long valant titre de séjour” online. After this validation, your “visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour” will then be considered to be a “titre de séjour”.
Two to four months before the expiry of this document, you may request its renewal at the “préfecture” if you still meet the conditions. If your application is accepted, you will normally obtain a document authorising you to reside in France for several years, called a “carte de séjour pluriannuelle”, if you specify that you would like this type of document on your application.
A receipt or “récépissé” is a document that the “préfecture” gives you when you submit an application for a “titre de séjour” or its renewal. It allows you to reside in France while waiting for the response to your application.
Its period of validity is specified on the document. Generally, it will be valid for one to six months.
A receipt or “récépissé” may allow you to work. This depends on the “titre de séjour” you have applied for. The “récépissé” given to you at the time of application for the renewal of your “titre de séjour” will usually authorise you to work if your current “titre de séjour” authorises you to do so.
If you are unsure, you can ask the agent at “préfecture” when they give you the “récépissé”.
A provisional residence permit or “autorisation provisoire de séjour (APS)” is a document that permits temporary residence in France.
It is generally valid for a maximum of six months.
A provisional residence permit or “autorisation provisoire de séjour” may be offered if you are in one of the following situations:
In some situations, the holder will have the right to work. If this is not the case, you will be able to apply for a work permit if you find a job in France:
The temporary residence permit or “carte de séjour temporaire” is a residence permit that allows you to reside in France on a temporary basis.
It is valid for up to one year and can be renewed.
It allows you to work, except for the “carte de séjour temporaire visiteur” for visitors and the “carte de séjour retraité” for retirees.
The multiannual residence permit or “carte de séjour pluriannuelle” is a residence permit that allows you to reside in France on a temporary basis.
It is valid for a maximum of two to four years and can be renewed.
It allows the holder to work.
To apply for this, you generally need to:
The residency card or “carte de résident” is a residence permit that allows you to reside in France long term.
It is valid for ten years and can be renewed, except in certain cases (e.g. if you leave France for more than three consecutive years).
It allows the holder to work.
In order to make an application, you must prove that your French language level is A2 or above. To do this, you must either:
There are three situations, depending on your current administrative status:
If your residence permit or “titre de séjour” is about to expire, it is recommended that you apply for a renewal two to four months before the expiry date.
This deadline may be different in some departments. Contact your department’s “préfecture” to find out more about the current timelines. You can find their contact details in this directory.
If your “titre de séjour” is conditional on living with your partner, known as having a “vie commune”, and you leave your partner due to domestic abuse, you must inform the “préfecture” as soon as possible:
You might be about to keep or obtain residency rights under certain conditions. You can complete this anonymous questionnaire to find out which elements of your situation could give you the right to reside in France.
Once a “titre de séjour” has been issued to you, you must inform the “préfecture” of any change of address, including if you leave the family home because of abuse.
This can be done directly online on this website under “je déclare un changement de situation” (declaring a change in situation).
Alternatively, you can notify the “préfecture” by post:
you will find their contact details in this directory
send the letter by registered post with recorded delivery or “lettre recommandée avec accusé de réception”. This is the only way to prove your letter has been received. Keep the receipt as proof of postage, as well as a copy of the letter.
If your personal situation has changed and it could have an impact on your residency rights, but you still meet the conditions for obtaining another “titre de séjour”, you must inform the “préfecture” to request a change in status.
For example, if you had a “titre de séjour” specifying “salarié” (employee) and you lost your job because you resigned, but you are also the parent of a French child, you can request a change of status.
In France, applications for residency permits or “titres de séjour” are made to the local French authority responsible for residency rights of the department where you live. These are called either the “préfecture” or the “sous-préfecture”.
To find out which department you are in, you look at the postcode of the address on the document that you will provide to prove your place of residence, referred to as a “justificatif de domicile”.
Then search in these directories to find the contact details for your “préfecture” or “sous-préfecture”.
On this page we will only use the term “préfecture” for simplicity.
Many “préfectures” only allow you to book an appointment online.
To find out how to make an appointment, visit the website for the “préfecture” of your place of residence by selecting the “préfecture” of your department from this directory and clicking on “site web”. Once you are on the website, you can type “titre de séjour” in the search bar for more information.
If necessary, you can try to call the “préfecture” to find out how to make an appointment. Please note before calling:
In some parts of France, booking appointments has become increasingly difficult. This is one of the major dysfunctions within the French administration.
Unfortunately, you might need a lot perseverance to make an appointment, especially online where finding an available time slot can be very difficult.
If this happens to you, these steps will be vital to assert your rights:
If you are unsure of the reasons that enable you to apply for a “titre au séjour”, you can complete this anonymous questionnaire. You can also get help from an “association” or a lawyer specialising in the rights of foreign nationals.
When you apply for a “titre de séjour”, you must specify the main reason you want to remain in France, sometimes referred to as “fondement” (foundation). Examples include family ties, work and health.
If you have different reasons or “fondements” for requesting residency rights:
Even if it is not compulsory, it is strongly recommended to include a cover letter with your application. It could increase your chances of success and give you more opportunities to appeal if your application is rejected.
You can download and complete this cover letter template.
The letter must contain two elements:
At the time you make your appointment, the “préfecture” is supposed to provide you with a list of all the documents you need to include in your application.
Unfortunately though, sometimes these lists are unclear or incomplete. This is a frequent dysfunction within the French administration. It is therefore recommended that you include as many documents as possible as evidence of your personal situation.
We have listed them all below so that you can check whether you have them.
In general, to apply for a “titre de séjour”, you will always need to provide:
These are documents that can prove that you have a right to a specific “titre de séjour”, for example the judge’s decision if you are the beneficiary of a protection order called “ordonnance de protection”.
You can consult our records by type of residency right to discover the documents you are required to provide depending on the reason or “fondement” you are applying for a “titre de séjour”.
You can also find the French government's official list of documents to be provided on this website.
In addition to the documents requested, it is recommended that you include in your application any document that may enable the “préfecture” to assess your whole situation, documents relating to your work, the school education of your children or the abuse you have experienced, for example.
All the documents you include in your application must be written in French or accompanied by a translation.
The translation must be carried out by a sworn translator or “traducteur assermenté”. This type of translation costs between 30 and 80 euros per page, on average.
It can take up to two weeks, so be sure to do it well in advance.
You can search online or ask the embassy of your country in France for a list of “traducteurs assermentés”. However, if you are a political refugee in France, you must not contact the authorities of your country of origin. Instead, please contact an organisation that offers free services called an “association” that specialises in rights of refugees.
If there are fees to pay for your application for a “titre de séjour”, they are paid by purchasing specific financial stamps called “timbres fiscaux” for the amount requested.
This will normally be indicated to you with the notification asking you to come and collect your “titre de séjour”. If you submit your application in person, you can ask the “préfecture” for the amount you will have to pay at the same time.
You can buy the “timbres fiscaux”, in a cigarette shop called a “bureau de tabac” or online from this website.
If you buy them online, they are then called “timbres dématérialisés” (non-physical stamps). They can be sent to you in two different ways:
If you have purchased more “timbres fiscaux” than necessary, you can get a refund. The refund request must be sent to the tax department.
Before you go to your appointment with the “préfecture”, carefully check that your application is complete:
If the application is incomplete, the “préfecture” may not register your application.
If the application is submitted in person at the “préfecture”, the form to be completed will be given to you when you are there.
A few tips:
At the end of the appointment, the “préfecture” is usually obliged to provide you with a provisional document known as a “récépissé” or receipt. This document authorises you to remain in France while waiting for the response to your application. In some cases, it may allow you to work. If you are not automatically given this document, make sure you ask for it.
Unfortunately, the “préfecture” often doesn't issue a “récépissé” on the first application for a “titre de séjour”. If this happens, be aware that:
If you submit your application online, you have to select the main reason for requesting a “titre de séjour” before accessing the form. If you are unsure of the main reason for your request, please re-read the section on how to prepare your application above.
You will then have a form to complete and will need to upload the electronic version of the requested documents.
If you do not know where to upload the cover letter or do not know where to download the documents online, you can send your application by post after submitting your request (see section below).
At the end of your online application, you will receive a provisional document called an “attestation” to download and print. This document authorises you to reside in France while waiting for the response to your application.
If the “préfecture” refuses to accept some of the documents included in your application, such as the cover letter, you can send them by post after submitting your application.
Make sure you:
The “préfecture” does not have the right to refuse to register a “titre de séjour” application unless there is a legitimate reason, such as your inability to provide one of the documents requested.
If the agent at the “préfecture” refuses to register your application or asks you for documents that you think they are not authorised to request, you can seek support from an “association” specialising in the rights of foreign nationals.
The “préfecture” normally has four months to respond to a first application for a “titre de séjour”, or two months for an application for renewal.
You should receive a response by post or email to the address indicated on your application. If you receive a registered letter or “recommandé avec avis de réception”, it is very important that you go and collect it from the post office. If you do not collect it within 15 days, it will still be deemed that you have been notified of the decision.
If your application is approved, the “préfecture” will send you a letter, email or message on your phone to notify you.
They will ask you to come and collect the “titre de séjour” in person, specifying the opening hours.
If you have fees to pay for your “titre de séjour”, you will pay them when you go to collect it. These fees should have been specified to you when the application was submitted. We explain how to pay them here.
If your application is rejected, you will receive a letter sent by registered post with recorded delivery or “lettre recommandée avec avis de réception”.
In the event that your application is rejected, you may be issued an order to leave France called “Obligation de quitter le territoire français (OQTF)”.
You can challenge the decision of the “préfecture” by making an appeal to the administrative judge within 30 days from the date you received the letter of rejection. You cannot be taken out of the country during this period, but this does not mean you have residency rights.
It is strongly recommended that you seek support from an “association” or a lawyer specialised in law for foreign nationals for this procedure.
This is another major dysfunction of the French administration system.
If the “préfecture” has not responded after four months for an initial application, or two months for a renewal, this usually means that your application has been rejected.
However, your application may not have been processed yet due to delays, especially in the Paris region where processing times are several months.
If the “préfecture” does not respond after this time, you can send a letter to the “préfecture” to ask if your application has been rejected and if so, why. The “préfecture” is obliged to state the reasons why it will not issue you a “titre de séjour”.
To ask the “prefecture” to give reasons for its decision
If you do not receive a response one month after sending your letter to the “préfecture”, you may consider making an appeal to a special court called a “tribunal administratif”.
It is strongly recommended that you seek support for this procedure from an “association” or a lawyer specialising in the rights of foreign nationals.
If your application for a “titre de séjour” is accepted, the organisation responsible for immigration and integration, called the “Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration (OFII)”, may ask you to sign a document called the “contrat d’intégration républicaine (CIR)”, or integration agreement. This is an agreement entered into between the French state and a foreign national who wants to settle permanently in France.
Some people do not have to sign it:
If you are required to sign this integration agreement, you will receive a document called a “convocation” inviting you for an interview at “OFII” specifying the date, time and location of the appointment.
During the interview, you will need to take a test to assess your level of written and spoken French and whether you need to take French language classes.
At the end of the meeting, you will be asked to sign the agreement. By signing it, you agree to undertake to take training that will help you learn about life in France:
It is important that you sign this document because you will need it, duly signed, for the renewal of your residence permit. Obtaining a multiannual residence permit or “carte de séjour pluriannuelle” is subject to compliance with this agreement.
If you were not offered to sign the “CIR” when you were first issued your “titre de séjour”, you can ask to sign one by writing to the organisation responsible for immigration and integration, called the “Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration (OFII)”, of your department. You can find a template for the letter here.
“La Cimade” is an organisation that specialises in supporting all immigrant and migrant people, and refugees in France, particularly people facing violence.
“Associations” are organisations that offer various services. Some are specialised in immigration.
“Gisti” is an organisation specialising in legal advice to immigrants and refugees in France.
A lawyer's role is to defend your rights before, during and after legal proceedings.
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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