Obtaining a residency permit
Once you arrive in France with the appropriate long-stay visa you must present yourself, within eight days of arrival, to the appropriate Centre de Réception des Etrangers with your passport and visa to apply for a carte de séjour. (Please note: Students with the appropriate student visa generally have a maximum of 30 days. There is a separate procedure for students and information will be provided upon receipt of the visa).
The French authorities issue three main types of residence permits, Cartes de Sejour, to foreigners who want to reside and work in France:
- carte de séjour temporaire or carte de séjour temporaire salarié
- carte de résident
- carte de séjour mention visiteur (for retired persons)
Cartes de séjour are issued to individuals 18 years of age and older. Parents of children below the age of 18 should obtain a visa de long séjour for their children before coming to France.
Most people coming to France for stays of more than three months are issued a carte de séjour temporaire. This card is valid for up to one year, and may be renewed. If the French authorities decline to renew a carte de séjour temporaire, the bearer must leave France before the initial residence permit expires.
1. A carte de séjour temporaire salarié is valid for a maximum of one year, with the annotation “salarié” or showing the specific professional activity under which the contract was approved, as well as the French department(s) in which the bearer can be employed. This type of card can be renewed two months before the expiration date and upon presentation of a new work contract. After five years of continuous residence in France, the bearer may request a carte de résident, which is valid for 10 years. The 10-year carte de résident is not automatic. The authorities at the préfecture will review the application to determine whether or not the applicant may receive this special residence permit.
2. The carte de résident is issued to foreigners who have the intention of becoming French residents. It is valid for ten years and renewable, if the holder can prove that he/she either is exercising a profession in France or has sufficient means to support himself/herself financially without being employed in France. Applicants may obtain this card only under certain conditions. A medical examination is usually required and specific questions concerning French language skills and general knowledge of French culture may be asked. In order to qualify for a 10 year-card, the foreigner must show proof that he has lived in France for at least five consecutive years.
3. The carte de séjour mention visiteur is issued for retired persons. It allows you to remain in France, but not to work.
How to apply for a carte de séjour in Paris
Within 8 days of arriving to France, you and each member of your family should go to the Centre des Etrangers that corresponds to your local address. You will be requested to show your passport and visa and fill in a questionnaire, after which you will be given an appointment notice (convocation) with the Préfecture de Police, stating the date, time and location of the office at which you will appear. This date is usually fixed 2 to 12 weeks later, depending on the number of pending applications.
Reception Centers for Foreigners in Paris (Centres de Réception des Etrangers)
These reception centers located at the Hôtel de Police at each location below are part of the Préfecture de Police of Paris and are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday; they are not open on French holidays.
If you live in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th arrondissements, you must appear at:
Centre de Réception des Etrangers
Hôtel de Police
19/21, rue Truffaut
Métro : Stations Place Clichy ou La Fourche
Tel: 01 56 95 26 80
If you live in the the 11th, 12st, 13th, 14th, 19th and 20th arrondissements, you must appear at:
Centre de Réception des Etrangers du 14e
Hotel de Police
114/116 avenue du Maine
Métro: Gaité or Montparnasse or buses 28, 58 or 91
Tel: 08 91 01 22 22
On the date of your appointment, you must appear at the Préfecture de Police of Paris to officially apply for your carte de séjour. It is advisable to arrive early as there is often a line to enter and go through security. There is an information desk (Accueil) after security that will direct you to the appropriate office. You will have to take a number and wait for your turn. Do not expect your appointment to happen on time, the wait can sometimes be up to 2 hours.
The Central Office of the Préfecture de Police in Paris:
Préfecture de Police,
Service des Etrangers,
1 rue de Lutèce
(Place Louis Lépine),
Tel: 01-53 71 53 71 or 01 53 73 53 73
Information line: 01 53 71 51 68 (Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm)
In addition to your appointment notice (convocation), you will be required to present these basic documents (others may be required in individual cases):
- Valid passport including long-stay visa (with a photocopy of the title page-photo, name, date and place of birth, validity and French visa page);
- Birth certificate;
- Three (3) identity photographs (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm);
- Proof of financial resources (applicable in all cases) – The most acceptable proof of financial resources is a statement from the applicant’s French bank showing account number and amount or a letter from the French bank certifying that the applicant’s account is regularly credited with a specified amount from a U.S. or other external source.
- A medical certificate issued by the OFII;
- Proof of residence in Paris.
For holders of a work permit and work visa you must submit the employment contract approved by the Services de la Main d’Oeuvre Etrangère.
The carte de séjour is rarely issued immediately. You will receive a temporary authorization (récipissé de demande de carte de séjour) which is valid for up to 3 months, and may be used as evidence that an application has been made for a residence permit. Carry it with you until you receive your permanent carte de séjour.
If you move while your application is being processed, you must inform the police at the “commissariat de quartier” having jurisdiction over your new residence. You will have to present :
- a photocopy of the passport;
- a copy of current residence card, or récipissé de demande de carte de séjour;
- three recent photos;
- an electricity bill or quittance de loyer (rental receipt).
This is especially important if the resident is in the process of renewing his/her carte de séjour as the Préfecture de Police will not approve the application unless the change of address has been recorded by the local police in the appropriate space on the card. If one is moving from another area of France to Paris please call 01 53 21 25 50 to make an appointment to register a change of address.