Angoulème - Carte de Sejour - If you don't speak French, take someone who does

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.

Périgeaux - Préfecture Helpful and Polite

Our experience of obtaining cartes de séjour was fine and the staff at the Préfecture were very helpful and polite. It was useful that I had gone with our Taiwanese neighbours to help them with their visas/titres de séjour and asked for the information sheet for our cartes de séjour: all the relevant sections were then highlighted so we knew exactly what was required. 

Having lived here permanently for 25 years and 'gone through the system' workwise/pensionwise , the paperwork didn't seem unduly onerous. Just produce what is asked for and don't think that you are exempt from anything. If you don't speak, read or write French it is probably necessary to take someone who does. 

When we went back to the Préfecture with our dossiers, we had the same form to fill in as our Taiwanese neighbours - we're all foreigners after all! - so we were prepared. Interesting - the issue date of our first cartes de séjour was asked for: having still got them we knew the month and year but not the day - there it was, on their computer! 

Our Préfecture is at Perigueux being in Dordogne 24. We haven't come across anyone else in this department who has applied but have spoken to a few people in Gironde 33 who were having problems but maybe by now things have changed. Just to be on the safe side, we have applied for French nationality. 

Maybe after 30 years of holiday/permanent residence, we should have done it before but, to be honest, there seemed to be no great need. After all, we were all EUROPEANS!!So sad. I still wake up in the mornings and can't believe what happened in June 2016.

At least someone's got our best interests (and the UK's) at heart. Keep up the good work. MM.

Bourg en Bresse - Carte de Sejour - Stress and Trepidation?

 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. Thank you for your interest. CP.

Carcassonne - Carte de sejour is a Right, citizenship is a Privilege

Carte de Sejour ... application and receipt Very soon after the Referendum, I pulled together all my papers and applied for a Carte de Sejour, Permenante, 10yrs. The CdS is a RIGHT and if applied for, cannot be refused unless there is something very bad in one’s history/current situation. Citizenship/Naturalisation is a PRIVILEGE and can be refused hence not everyone is successful. My local Prefecture, is in the centre of Carcassonne, Aude. I made 3 visits in all.

The first, I just turned up at the Prefecture, and stood in the appropriate queue, to be given a numbered ticket, and then sat and waited to be called. I had mistakenly thought I would be given an appointment, to go back with my papers. This was incorrect. The lady official explained I did not need a Carte de Sejour. In turn, I explained that at my age, (72 at the time) I needed the Carte de Sejour to prove my residential status in France, and reduce my anxiety regarding my ex.pat. future status in France following Brexit; she understood. She then explained she did not give appointments; I needed to return with all my papers and they would then be checked and passed for inspection/processing/decision.

The second time, I went back with all my papers, stood in the appropriate queue, took a numbered ticket, and then sat down to wait. After about 45 mins my number was called and I went into the appropriate cubicle with all my papers. The lady was pleasant, efficient and while not chatty was not ‘officious or difficult’. After about 10mins. and a few questions for clarification, she put my papers in a ‘dossier’, having copied my passport and anything else, she also took my fingerprints. I received a receipt and was told I would hear in about 5 months’ time.     

  Third, in the event, I received an email saying my Carte de Sejour was at the Prefecture and ready to be collected after about 2months. I had to take in some form of official identification for it to be handed over. It could be collected between certain times (different from the previous two occasions).            

  Fourth, needless to say, I went into Carca. within a couple of days to pick up my Carte de Sejour ! I have also since applied for French Nationality, and am hoping the Carte de Sejour may assist in this respect. Much of the documentation is the same, and as the CdS was so recent, I used the same papers wherever possible. My Dossier was accepted June 2017, and I am waiting to hear re. an rdv in Montpellier. With the influx of applications, I imagine it could be another year before I get an rdv. We could well be out of the EU by then, but at least I will still have my CdS, even if the Govt. and EU are still arguing the toss. Hope this helps. PH.