Angouleme - possible complications arose concerning my wife's situation

My prefecture is Angouleme. I decided in February to apply for a CdS permanente EU.

This prefecture offers an online appointment booking service for a half hour appointment. You are given a choice between an appointmnet during school term time or school holidays. Having made that choice you are then taken to a calender of availability. I chose term time and was then offered a selection of dates and times in May and June. Opening times are limited and by appointment only here. I chose June 7th to give me plenty of time to get documents together. I received an email confirmation immediately of time, date and place.

I then emailed the chef de bureau des etrangers for a list of documents and in a quick reply was told I needed originals and a copy set of passport (ID page), 3 photos as for passports, 1 bill per semester ( 6 months) since my arrival in France (2004 in my case),French  income tax assessments, birth certificate, full form showing parents, place and date of birth, marriage certificate if I am currently married- both translated by a court approved translator, proof of health insurance, justificatif of residence less than 3 months old bill.

I set about and succeeded in obtaining all this, although it was difficult as I had destroyed bills over 5 years old and had to contact the utility companies for duplicates who were not very resposive, but in the end  I got there.

Yesterday I attended my appointment. The office there used to be bedlam as it dealt with many things, including before the appointment system all carte de sejour. Now all of that can be done online,. The place had been refurbished and was pleasant and calm. I took a seat in the waiting area. I was called within 5 minutes of the appointment time to a pleasant booth with 2 chairs and the fonctionnaire on the other side of a glass screen. We started the process. She was efficient and pleasant throughout. We spoke only French. For those who find that difficult I would advise taking a friend who speaks French.

 I was only asked for sight of originals of my passport , birth certificate and marriage certificate and their translations which were given back and I also handed over copies. 

Then I was asked for the last 5 years of bills. I indicated that I had brought them all from 2004 as asked and showed her the email. No she said no need, just the last 5 years and just give me the copies. I handed those over and she checked them and said OK.

 As I am an inactif in France she then asked me for proof of means. I asked if my avis d'impots for the last 5 years would suffice. She said yes and I handed over only copies again of the years 2013 -2017. She checked them and again said ok. I asked if she needed anything else eg recent proof of address? No, the recent bills do that, thank you. 

I was then fingerprinted. All 8 fingers and both thumbs

She then asked me a few questions, the answers being entered on her system, including when did I come to France, what languages I spoke. English, obviously she said, yes I answered. And I think French too as you are doing fine today, she said. Yes I replied, assez bien!

She was curious that I am married to a third country national who is not resident here in France. I explained that my wife visits me on a Schengen EU/EAA citizen family member Short Stay multiple entry visa, and I also visit her in her country. I said she does not presently want to live in France as she has a business to run in her country. I said this works for us now, but had no idea how brexit would affect that, when I cease to be an EU citizen. That is a huge worry for us.

She then went off to get a recipisse, a receipt and temporary CdS, which had 1 of the 3 photos on it and an expiry date in December. It is linked to my passport by my passport number. She said I would get an email from them when my definitive card is ready and I will need to go and collect it from the prefecture. She could not say how long that would take. It is outsourced.

That was it. All completed within 30 minutes.


Valence - Carte de Sejour before the UK even joined the EU but a very different experience now...

I have lived in France for over 20 years. I live in the department of the Drome, my prefecture is at Valence. 
When I first came to France it was still normal if not required to have a Carte de Sejour, so I had one in the past. I think the last time I renewed it at the local Mairie was in the early 2000's, in those days if was for 5 years if my memory serves me well...
I stopped renewing the Carte de Sejour when it became a requirement to go to the Prefecture, and under European rules it was not longer necessary. 
Applying for a Carte de Sejour had always been simple as I easily satisfy all the requirement. French tax returns going back years..
With Brexit, last year I decided to apply again for a Carte de Sejour. This time the process was difficult, more complicated, time consuming and unpleasant. I needed to contact the British Embassy, MPs, MEP's and the labour party for help. The process took 10 months in total. 
Each stage requires that you go to the Prefecture, about 2 hours each way. They refuse to make appointments, so you have to go and queue. Normal waiting time is about 1 to 2 hours. So it is at least half a day for each visit.
The first response from the Prefecture was that they would not process my Carte de Sejour because I am British, and they were waiting for instructions from their Minister on Brexit. They also said it was not necessary to have a Carte so it was a waste of their time. Then they required documents they had never required before. A Birth Certificate that was translated by a Court approved translator, proof of income, 5 years tax returns etc. They eventually agreed to process my request. Under their own rules they have to take no longer than 6 months to process if from accepting all the papers, they took 5 months 3 weeks. I was then summoned to go to the Prefecture to collect the Carte de Sejour. So 10 months after my first visit to the Prefecture I finally had a 10 year Carte de Sejour.
I would add, that they wanted to issue a 1 year Carte de Sejour, I had a considerable argument about that with them.

So all in all a very time consuming, difficult and unpleasant process. 


Bourg-en-Bresse - complications ensued after Carte de Sejour application

My wife and I requested titres de séjour “Citoyen UE/EEE/Suisse - séjour permanent” in April 2017 from the Prefecture of the department of l’Ain in Bourg-en Bresse. We are long-term expatriates having lived first in Switzerland for 17 years and then in France from 1987.

The subsequent sequence of events was long and complicated. Although our applications were identical, mine was returned rejected for lack of correct information and justifications, and my wife’s was apparently lost. Later we heard from the “service des étrangers” at the sous-préfecture in Gex, our home town, with whom we had had contact on the subject, that it had been sent in error to them and that they had returned it to Bourg-en-Bresse.

After many attempts to contact the prefecture by phone, email and letter, to no avail, we finally resubmitted our applications, identical to the first attempt, but informed the sous-préfecture of our action.

Finally in late 2017 we were invited to attend the prefecture in Bourg-en-Bresse. This would have meant a 2 hour journey each way and in consideration of my wife’s mobility problems we requested that we should be received instead at the sous-préfecture in Gex. This was ignored, but finally thanks to the good offices of one very helpful person at the sous-préfecture we were able to collect the temporary documents in Gex during a less than 10 minute interview, and then the final documents a few weeks later.

In summary we were initially met with incompetence, disinterest and obfuscation and it was only due to the kind good offices of this one person in Gex that we finally obtained our “Titres de Séjour”.

If this procedure has to be repeated for whatever documents the French authorities will require us to hold after Brexit, we are in trepidation of the stress and upheaval this could engender once again.

In our opinion, citizens’ rights have not been adequately considered in this whole sorry Brexit process which MUST BE STOPPED! This is not to mention that we were not able to vote in the referendum and it looks as though we will be entirely disenfranchised after Brexit.


St Brieuc - great difficulties following application for Carte de Sejour

I've been full time in 22 Bretagne for 6.5yrs,(2012) working and paying taxes...registered with old RSI/SSI...   Chambre de Metier etc etc  Unfortunately within my first full year I was diagnosed with Cancer, my first full year was just short of what is required for CdS....  but 2014 was all hospital...big operation and chemo & radiotherapy.  I went back to work as soon as radio finished in 2015, but unfortunately I had a huge house fire and should have died .... cause a power surge not my fault.... consequently I got pneumonia that winter and nearly died in hospital in 2016.  I have continued to work and pay into RSI and my other taxes during this time, but my body will only let me do so much....  my oncologist said it would take 2yrs for my body to recover following pneumonia because of the chemo etc....   Im still on treatment not yet in remission,  I have horrid side effects, but I'm still working as much as I can.  This year my thyroid was sorted ... killed by chemo... now on pills....  so I advertised for more work and was successful.  Im building my business up slowly again, I'm a Gardener so work is very physical and due to pneumonia etc I cant now work in bad weather so my work is seasonal too...

BCF pay me an allowance monthly and have done so since 2014...  but I have no paperwork...  I contacted SOLVIT ECEU at the commission....  they stated that I cannot be denied a CdS due to low income and cancer....  so I applied to get a CdS.... I had letters from Mairie and another from the Commune to support my claim....  had all the documentation they I put in a copy in French of the ECEU advice...  but yesterday I received  a letter of total Refusal....  I will be going back to SOLVIT but the stress this is causing is having impact on my health.... Im now on antidepressants and high blood pressure pills on top of the thyroid and cancer pills...  I've been fighting to keep my life going for 5years now...  and it now seams that life is being taken away...  I have nothing and no one in UK....  my maison here is worth very little and would take years to sell....  I will be homeless if they deport me....  I feel Im running out of strength to keep fighting....  to be honest if it wasn't for my little dog I would have given up by now.....  

I have been campaigning hard for over 2 years to keep my mind occupied and to try to ExitBrexit....  but all I get is being called a traitor or scarmonering.... I cant understand why my Government is prepared to use us as collateral damage...  we are British Citizens still....  Please can you  try to raise the issue of CdS registration... we came here in good faith....  I'm not a burden to the state the charity help me, I claim no benefits, Im trying to rebuild my business and continue to contribute to society here... I'm desperately worried ....I'm going to lose everything...  I've had my maison since 2004

I have a lot of other people on my shoulders who need help....  I may not live long enough to see this mess sorted out ....  All I want is to continue my life here .... as Mdme May said we would be able too!!... as long as I live.... 
I know there are so many more people out there in my situation too....  

I will continue to campaign and fight but we are running out of time.... I will be an illegal immigrant with no citizens rights at all if this matter is not addressed.... 30th March 2019... and the re are many others too 


Quimper - Four differing experiences

These three are experiences concerning Quimper Préfecture (Finistère):

  1. We went to make an appointment around the beginning of August 2018. Our appointment was for mid-September 2018 - about 6 weeks away. The man at the desk wrote us a list of the things we needed and which we should have officially translated (proof of ongoin g income in our case).
    When we arrived (at 8.15a.m.!) for our appointment, we were quickly ushered in. I speak quite a bit of French, but was pleased we had taken a bi-lingual friend with us as the lady interviewing us was very harrassed (she started the interview with …”I hate my job, I am bored, you only have 17 minutes…). Our friend soothed her over time with empathy and reminders it was Friday!
    My husband, whose interview was first, had carefully put copies of all the requested documents into a folder very neatly - one for each of us. WRONG! The lady snapped: “I do not want them in a folder; get them out of the folder; put all the copies on one pile here and the origianls in the other pile there. You only have 15 minutes left.” My husband got very stressed.
    Eventually, all went well (and I had been quietly taking everything out of my folder ready for my interview!), fingerprint and thumb prints were taken and our files went off for “further examination” We await the result. (Update : Carte de sejour was received with no further query after about six weeks - though they did send us to the wrong place to collect it on our first attempt)

  2. Two of friends went last week to get an appointment. Theirs is next June 2019….9 months away

  3. Another friend went today…but they were told there were no appointments left and they would have to go back next week to ask for an appointment…not good.

  4. KB went to Quimper for an appointment and was given a list of things he must produce and which translations he needed. As a micro-entrepreneur, the requirements were different from his friends. His appointment was within a month, he was asked for one further document (attestation from the Mairie) which he had not got (and had not been previously requested). However, the fluent French speaker he had taken with him persuaded the official that the regular payment of Foncière and Habitation were sufficient attestation in thier own right and he is currently awaiting notification his card is ready for collection.

    CJ - Data Officer, LibDems in France

Stage 1 Carte de Sejour experience

We went to our local Prefecture in Finistère to make an appointment. Based on a separate experience, we were expecting a wait of hours to get to the desk, so we were pleasantly surprised to be only minutes away from our turn.
Here, a man (who spoke only French) wrote down the documents we needed and told us which we needed translating. These will be different depending on your set of circumstances. We were then given an appointment 6 weeks ahead. We struggled to know quite how to "prove enough income going forward" (which proof we have to have translated) and decided on the annual pension statement from the government. Subsequently, a friend has informed me that you can obtain an official statement of entitlement from the Overseas Pension Team (in relation to the State Pension) Here's a list of numern that might come in useful for that:

State Pension
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 218 7777
Textphone: +44 (0) 191 218 7280
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Pro-rata Employment and Support Allowance (PRESA) 
If you were given PRESA under European Community regulations.
Telephone +44 (0) 191 218 7680
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 
If you were given ESA under UK regulations.
Telephone +44 (0) 191 218 2050
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)
Telephone +44 (0) 191 218 7650
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

Jobseeker’s Allowance 
Telephone +44 (0) 191 218 7652
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

Bereavement Benefit or Widows Pension
If you’re under UK State Pension age
Telephone +44 (0) 191 218 7608
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

Incapacity Benefit and Maternity Allowance
Telephone +44 (0) 191 218 7644
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

Monte de Marsan - Carte de Sejour - Efficient Prefecture

We live in Les Landes and our prefecture is in Mont de Marsan. We had looked on-line and benefited from the experiences of two more sets of people who had applied successfully for the permanent carte de sejour. We were seen privately by a very pleasant lady. At first she queried our need for the card. I said one word 'Brexit' and she said that she now understood. We produced two sets of the required documents (one for each of us) and the form was filled out there and then. We were required to have our fingerprints taken but this was painless and clean. It was done by the aid of a kind of 'light box' and I assume that a check was then made with the police authorities. The letter telling us to collect our cartes was sent two weeks later. We were very pleased by the efficiency of the prefecture and by our own ability to produce the correct documents on our first and only visit!

Gill : Les Landes

Carte de sejour - I have not applied

I have not applied for a carte de sejour as yet. I have lived in France nearly 15 years and have declared as resident with the local tax office ( impots) and have kept all documents .

Before moving I notified HMRC and have my old age pension paid directly to my French bank acc. My small private pension sadly will only pay me in Sterling and I have to keep my current account in the UK.

I am still taxed PAYE in the UK, although , in September I will have NO REPRESENTATION while still being a tax payer . I moved to France age 60 to spend my retirement near my only daughter and my two French born grand kids , little did I know that at almost 75 my happy life would become a nightmare !

The only hope I have is for another vote ( which of course I won't be eligible for after August .) And the voices from the European Parliament and my membership of LibDems. It cannot be right to change the rules under which we all bravely moved to another EU country retrospectively. That is not Democracy! Sadly from EC ,living alone in southern France .