New Long-Stay Visa & First Residence Permit Procedures for France

As of June 1st, 2009, holders of long-stay visas no longer have to obtain a carte de séjour after arrival in France or the DOM-TOMS* for students, assistants, lecteurs/lectrices, visitors, salaried workers, temporary workers, and spouses of French nationals (but not other EU nationals – then you don’t need a visa at all).

The visa will be valid for the entire duration of the stay, and visa holders simply need to register with the Office of Immigration and have the medical visit within 3 months after arrival. Then they will receive a registration stamp next to the visa in their passport that will serve as their residency permit.

This also means that traveling throughout the Schengen Space will become easier as there is no longer a restriction against those who have not yet received their first residency card. Free circulation throughout the Schengen Space is allowed during the entire duration of the visa, with a maximum duration of three months outside of France.

Obtaining the visa will become slightly more complicated though as many consulates are changing over to the new biometric visas, which require a digital photograph and all 10 fingerprints to be taken. So very few consulates continue to allow mail-in applications, and the time to receive the visa will increase to 2-3 weeks.

In order to renew the residency permit, a trip to the préfecture two months before the visa expires is still required. A change of status (such as assistant to student) may or may not be granted; it will still entirely depend on the préfecture. And if the renewal or change is not granted, you are supposed to leave France before the expiration date on the visa. I’m not sure what this means for those wanting to travel after the expiration of their visa… But I do think this means that those who successfully renew their residency permit will receive an actual carte de séjour.

For those of us already in France with a carte de séjour, I don’t think anything is changing. These new procedures seem to be only for new visa holders who are staying less than a year.

* New Caledonia in French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna Islands, and Mayotte Island are NOT included.

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  • ksam

    Wait, so now it’s just a stamp on your visa? I thought they were going back to the old -style “vignette” cds’s (that took up a whole page in your passport).

  • ksam

    Wait, so now it’s just a stamp on your visa? I thought they were going back to the old -style “vignette” cds’s (that took up a whole page in your passport).

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    From what I’ve read so far, it’s just being called a “registration stamp.” None of the consulate sites mention an actual vignette, but who knows, it could turn out that way!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    From what I’ve read so far, it’s just being called a “registration stamp.” None of the consulate sites mention an actual vignette, but who knows, it could turn out that way!

  • http://etiennemarcel.blogspot.com/ etienne

    Hey – do you have any links to this new policy? I’ll be dealing with the hassle of renewal in September…ugh
    Thanks!

  • http://etiennemarcel.blogspot.com etienne

    Hey – do you have any links to this new policy? I’ll be dealing with the hassle of renewal in September…ugh
    Thanks!

  • ksam

    I think Candi was the one who called it a vignette after talking to the OFII to get more information for next year’s students.

  • ksam

    I think Candi was the one who called it a vignette after talking to the OFII to get more information for next year’s students.

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    The way I understand it (because now, I need to know these things, long gone are the days where French immigration was the one thing I didn’t need to care or know concerning the French administration) is that:

    -If a renewal is granted, you’ll receive Carte de Séjour.

    -Those who already have a Carte de Séjour are not affected by the change. Except if their status change, in that case they may or may not (depending on their specific case) need ton return to their country to get a new visa there (yes this is non-sense, I know).

    Davids last blog post..Day Three: May 20th – The Island Village

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com David

    The way I understand it (because now, I need to know these things, long gone are the days where French immigration was the one thing I didn’t need to care or know concerning the French administration) is that:

    -If a renewal is granted, you’ll receive Carte de Séjour.

    -Those who already have a Carte de Séjour are not affected by the change. Except if their status change, in that case they may or may not (depending on their specific case) need ton return to their country to get a new visa there (yes this is non-sense, I know).

    Davids last blog post..Day Three: May 20th – The Island Village

  • http://www.american-in-france.com/ cynthia in chambery

    Well, Im waiting for my new Carte which is the one I get after being married and then I can work. Yippee. But my concern is that twice flying from the US to France (which I do 4 times a year for work), Ive been stopped at the airport and threatened with not being allowed on the plane because I didnt have a Schengen Visa and I had overstayed my 90 day limit. In reality, after speaking with the Prefecture, the Carte de Sejour is a Schengen Visa but the US airline employees dont seem to know this. But Im careful only to fly into France or Geneva (airport is half in France) so I dont get hassled about going to a country where I dont have a ‘residency card’ which is what the US airlines think my Carte de Sejour is. Has anyone else had this problem and found a solution? Thanks, Cynthia in the French Alps

    cynthia in chamberys last blog post..Castles and Ruins of Savoie

  • http://www.american-in-france.com cynthia in chambery

    Well, Im waiting for my new Carte which is the one I get after being married and then I can work. Yippee. But my concern is that twice flying from the US to France (which I do 4 times a year for work), Ive been stopped at the airport and threatened with not being allowed on the plane because I didnt have a Schengen Visa and I had overstayed my 90 day limit. In reality, after speaking with the Prefecture, the Carte de Sejour is a Schengen Visa but the US airline employees dont seem to know this. But Im careful only to fly into France or Geneva (airport is half in France) so I dont get hassled about going to a country where I dont have a ‘residency card’ which is what the US airlines think my Carte de Sejour is. Has anyone else had this problem and found a solution? Thanks, Cynthia in the French Alps

    cynthia in chamberys last blog post..Castles and Ruins of Savoie

  • Leah

    I’ve noticed this across various blogs and internet sights:

    ‘Le titre de séjour “Vie privée et familiale” peut être accordé à toute personne liée à un français/à une française par un PACS après 6 MOIS de vie commune.’

    As I would benefit from this being true- I have been anxiously trying to find official information to back this up (as most prefactures do not agree, of course).

    Have you heard anything about this or know where to look to find it (couldn’t find it on the service-public sight either)?

    Thanks!

  • Leah

    I’ve noticed this across various blogs and internet sights:

    ‘Le titre de séjour “Vie privée et familiale” peut être accordé à toute personne liée à un français/à une française par un PACS après 6 MOIS de vie commune.’

    As I would benefit from this being true- I have been anxiously trying to find official information to back this up (as most prefactures do not agree, of course).

    Have you heard anything about this or know where to look to find it (couldn’t find it on the service-public sight either)?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    @Etienne: You will just renew your carte de sejour like normal. You don’t need the new visa or to follow those new rules because you are already in France.

    @David: Yeah, that’s the way I understand it too.

    @Cynthia: Your carte de sejour is your residency card AND your Schengen visa. The airport workers are just dumb and don’t understand the French system since the visa expires after 3 months. (Luckily that’s changing for new people coming to France.) The other lectrice at my university even had a problem coming back a few months ago because they didn’t read the expiration date on her CDS correctly! Because outside of North America, it’s always day/month/year instead of month/day/year. ::sigh::

    @Leah: I don’t know why some sites are reporting 6 months instead of one year, and I don’t think the law has changed. The only official paper that I’ve found about the CDS due to PACSing is a circulaire from 2004: http://www.ardhis.org/dyn/paragraphe/document/folder_3/Circulaire-Pacs.pdf But it does depend on your prefecture, if they know the law, if they care, if they want to enforce a different one… etc. It’s all very random and unfair!

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    @Etienne: You will just renew your carte de sejour like normal. You don’t need the new visa or to follow those new rules because you are already in France.

    @David: Yeah, that’s the way I understand it too.

    @Cynthia: Your carte de sejour is your residency card AND your Schengen visa. The airport workers are just dumb and don’t understand the French system since the visa expires after 3 months. (Luckily that’s changing for new people coming to France.) The other lectrice at my university even had a problem coming back a few months ago because they didn’t read the expiration date on her CDS correctly! Because outside of North America, it’s always day/month/year instead of month/day/year. ::sigh::

    @Leah: I don’t know why some sites are reporting 6 months instead of one year, and I don’t think the law has changed. The only official paper that I’ve found about the CDS due to PACSing is a circulaire from 2004: http://www.ardhis.org/dyn/paragraphe/document/folder_3/Circulaire-Pacs.pdf But it does depend on your prefecture, if they know the law, if they care, if they want to enforce a different one… etc. It’s all very random and unfair!

  • Zrinka

    Hello

    people from french embassy in london never give you complete info just parts! i am fed up with asking them anything..

    i desperately need proper complete advice as i am hard of hearing and have problems with sorting this info over the phone and french are as you can see..not helpfull.

    i am desperate for info on the application for long stay visa for one year.

    I am also croatian. france has waved visa for Croatia (that info is on their website) so i can go under shengen agreement to france up to 3 months without restriction. i am also legal resident with ‘indefinite remain to leave’ in the UK but not UK citizen.

    i have been ofered ‘un stage assistante linqustique’ post in Cannes for 10 months. I am nto paid for this but I was given the funds for living expenses. the post if subsided by european commision. so not paid employment.

    I just want to make sure that i am not harrased by french airport immigration…i hate that!

    to my undertanding, new changes make it easier for me. or not?

    can i go to france to fill in the application for long stay visa at the perfecture in Nice? alongside medical, ect…

    I am supposed to go there in september but i woud liek to go in august for language adjustment purpose…so i guess that i could then do this from there. just pop to Nice.

    or i have to do it from here?

    i am confused. if i can go to france as croatian citizern and stay until 3 months then i should be able to sort this out there. as i am doing unpaid work placement and training. so i am not burden.

    i would be very grateful for your advice.

    many thanks

    zrinka

  • Zrinka

    Hello

    people from french embassy in london never give you complete info just parts! i am fed up with asking them anything..

    i desperately need proper complete advice as i am hard of hearing and have problems with sorting this info over the phone and french are as you can see..not helpfull.

    i am desperate for info on the application for long stay visa for one year.

    I am also croatian. france has waved visa for Croatia (that info is on their website) so i can go under shengen agreement to france up to 3 months without restriction. i am also legal resident with ‘indefinite remain to leave’ in the UK but not UK citizen.

    i have been ofered ‘un stage assistante linqustique’ post in Cannes for 10 months. I am nto paid for this but I was given the funds for living expenses. the post if subsided by european commision. so not paid employment.

    I just want to make sure that i am not harrased by french airport immigration…i hate that!

    to my undertanding, new changes make it easier for me. or not?

    can i go to france to fill in the application for long stay visa at the perfecture in Nice? alongside medical, ect…

    I am supposed to go there in september but i woud liek to go in august for language adjustment purpose…so i guess that i could then do this from there. just pop to Nice.

    or i have to do it from here?

    i am confused. if i can go to france as croatian citizern and stay until 3 months then i should be able to sort this out there. as i am doing unpaid work placement and training. so i am not burden.

    i would be very grateful for your advice.

    many thanks

    zrinka

  • leo

    I was just granted a long stay visa at the NY Consulate. All they said was “here is your visa, valid sept 09-sept ’10.” It was only after I left that I remembered having to go to the prefecture for my carte de sejour when I had a student visa a few years back.

    It seems weird that they wouldn’t say anything about procedures once I’m in France…and there’s no document on the Consulate websites about arrival in France with a visa de long séjour. So where are people getting this info that the carte de séjour isn’t needed anymore?

    So confused. Le sigh.

  • leo

    I was just granted a long stay visa at the NY Consulate. All they said was “here is your visa, valid sept 09-sept ’10.” It was only after I left that I remembered having to go to the prefecture for my carte de sejour when I had a student visa a few years back.

    It seems weird that they wouldn’t say anything about procedures once I’m in France…and there’s no document on the Consulate websites about arrival in France with a visa de long séjour. So where are people getting this info that the carte de séjour isn’t needed anymore?

    So confused. Le sigh.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Leo, the information is on some of the consulate websites, but not all. I haven’t found it yet on NY’s site, but Chicago’s has been updated.

    The official information from the Office of Immigration in France can be found here: http://www.ofii.fr/visa_long_sejour_titre_de_sejour_193/visa_de_long_sejour_dispensant_de_la_demande_de_titre_de_sejour_915.html

    It tells you everything you need to do after arrival in France.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    Leo, the information is on some of the consulate websites, but not all. I haven’t found it yet on NY’s site, but Chicago’s has been updated.

    The official information from the Office of Immigration in France can be found here: http://www.ofii.fr/visa_long_sejour_titre_de_sejour_193/visa_de_long_sejour_dispensant_de_la_demande_de_titre_de_sejour_915.html

    It tells you everything you need to do after arrival in France.

  • Jane

    Leo, or anyone else with experience–
    I foolishly waited until I had all proper documents in place to schedule my appointment with the NY consulate for an ‘au pair’ long term stay visa, and now they are booked clear til next month!
    I am supposed to leave for France August 28th.
    Any advice??? I’m horrified at my own negligence!

  • Jane

    Leo, or anyone else with experience–
    I foolishly waited until I had all proper documents in place to schedule my appointment with the NY consulate for an ‘au pair’ long term stay visa, and now they are booked clear til next month!
    I am supposed to leave for France August 28th.
    Any advice??? I’m horrified at my own negligence!

  • H

    Jane: I had the same problem. Fortunately for me, I kept checking the appointment website and an appointment opened up. Sometimes it is also possible to call or email the consulate and explain your situation.

  • H

    Jane: I had the same problem. Fortunately for me, I kept checking the appointment website and an appointment opened up. Sometimes it is also possible to call or email the consulate and explain your situation.

  • Jane

    H-Thanks for the advice and glad to hear that you were able to secure an appt. I was monitoring the calendar for cancellations quite closely as well, and both called and emailed the office to explain my situation and ask for advice. It was only once I found a colleague who had a contact at the consulat that I made any headway. Gratefully, will be going in this week.

  • Jane

    H-Thanks for the advice and glad to hear that you were able to secure an appt. I was monitoring the calendar for cancellations quite closely as well, and both called and emailed the office to explain my situation and ask for advice. It was only once I found a colleague who had a contact at the consulat that I made any headway. Gratefully, will be going in this week.

  • Louise

    Hi there, I am hoping to move to New Caledonia to teach & be with my boyfriend who is French. I understand that the above rules exclude NC. So what is the procedure as it is hard to obtain information? From my understanding, I have to apply for a long stay visa in the UK (I am a UK resident) and then apply for a carte de sejour when I arrive in NC. Is this correct? Will this then allow me to teach English in private schools in NC (as I believe it is nearly impossible to get a work visa). Thanks for your help.

  • Louise

    Hi there, I am hoping to move to New Caledonia to teach & be with my boyfriend who is French. I understand that the above rules exclude NC. So what is the procedure as it is hard to obtain information? From my understanding, I have to apply for a long stay visa in the UK (I am a UK resident) and then apply for a carte de sejour when I arrive in NC. Is this correct? Will this then allow me to teach English in private schools in NC (as I believe it is nearly impossible to get a work visa). Thanks for your help.

  • Felipe

    Does anyone have experience with getting an long term visa after already arriving in France? Is this even possible??

  • Felipe

    Does anyone have experience with getting an long term visa after already arriving in France? Is this even possible??

  • Channing

    I am an au pair who came to Paris in September 2009–my visa is for August 28, 2009 to August 28, 2010. Does anyone know if I can travel for a few weeks in Europe after my visa expires? I have asked around and been getting conflicting information. The woman at the visa office in Chicago said it was okay, but I keep reading and hearing that it would technically be overstaying. Would I need to apply for an extension on my visa if I wanted to travel before returning home to the USA?

  • Channing

    I am an au pair who came to Paris in September 2009–my visa is for August 28, 2009 to August 28, 2010. Does anyone know if I can travel for a few weeks in Europe after my visa expires? I have asked around and been getting conflicting information. The woman at the visa office in Chicago said it was okay, but I keep reading and hearing that it would technically be overstaying. Would I need to apply for an extension on my visa if I wanted to travel before returning home to the USA?

  • danny

    how i can replace Resident permit in greece with Resident permit in sweed

  • danny

    how i can replace Resident permit in Greece with Resident permit in France

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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