You asked for feedback. Here is mine. 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 appointment during school term time or school holidays. Having made that choice you are then taken to a calendar 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 e.g. 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. I have heard horror stories about other prefectures but this was a good experience. Apart from taking far more than I actually needed, but I have heard that the French Interior Ministry have issued new guidelines to prefectures following representations from the Paris Embassy and RIFT. Hope this helps. Please note our continuing worries over the position of my wife and her EU family visa entitlement. It is very easy to get this visa and is free. ND.