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General Articles

French Expat News: Residency in France


As an expert in French administration, I get asked pretty much every day questions on residency options and of course since Brexit I have more and more English clients asking what they should do to prepare for ‘it’. Contradictory and often confusing information from various sources, websites and forums are often unclear for the person who is just looking for a solution.

As most people know, when it comes to immigration, one rule or more importantly one list does not fit all and each prefecture applies their own rules. In addition the powers that be in the government are unable to dispel the uncertainty surrounding the situation and so just what do people have to do?

Quite simply if your paperwork is in order, why would you wait? Why not take control of your destiny and choose and option and go for it. A certain amount of preparation and patience will be needed but the end result will be worth it. No more uncertainty.

To help you determine which process would be the most appropriate for you, here are some key highlights of each process.


This European residency card allows you to prove that you have the right to live in France as a resident, with no other conditions. Makes life much easier for all your future paperwork processes and there is no language test!

Some key pointers for this carte de sejour European:

General Criteria & Key information

  • Applicable to Europeans or Suisse

  • It’s free of charge

  • Managed by your local Prefecture

  • No language test involved

  • Can be applied for if you are a salaried employee, retired or student

  • Usually quite quick once file is validated by prefecture, you receive a receipt and your carte de séjour is delivered within 4-8 weeks (depending on your prefecture)

  • Good solution for interim period during Brexit negotiations and will hopefully facilitate any other paperwork needed in the future.

Tips on documents needed

  • Passport

  • Birth certificate with legal translation

  • Continuous residency in France for the past 5 years (1 document by semester)

  • Five years worth of tax documents (income tax, tenants tax….)

  • Proof of financial situation (salary slips, business documents or retirement notifications)

  • Bank statements

  • Photos

More information here

Prefecture (and no one) can say what will happen to this card once the UK is officially out of the EU!


You can apply for French citizenship if you are married or pacs’d with a French person or if not you can apply by time criteria ‘decret’. Depending on which option you choose (marriage or decret), the documents can be different. Each prefecture manages their process so ensure you contact your local prefecture before finalizing your file. A little more complicated from a paperwork perspective and time. You can find the complete list needed for both options

General Criteria & Key information

  • Must be over 18 to apply

  • Costs 55 euros

  • Managed by your local Prefecture

  • Proof of language proficiency at level B1 will be needed (if you are over 60 you are exempt from the tests)

  • Takes from 12 months to 2 years, depending on prefecture

  • You don’t have to give up your UK citizenship

  • You will have an interview with the authorities

What you will need to prove:

Amongst others and depending on your situation, you will need:

  • Proof of residency in France for the past 3 years (1 document by semester) and longer if you can. This will reduce the time it takes for them to respond.

  • That you have access to healthcare in France (attestation)

  • Proof of your income for past 3 years (pension, pay slips, business documents)

  • P237 from your local tax office

  • Proof of no criminal record

  • Identity Photos

  • Proof of your civil status: legal translations of: birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce statements(if applicable)

  • Proof of civil status of your parents

  • Language diploma less than 2 years old

It’s a longer process but a definitive solution for expats who have been living in France for many years and are sure they are staying.

A last word of advice, when preparing your files, more is always better for a carte de sejour. For the citizenship, stick exactly to the document they provide you with, no more, no less.

For more information on French Naturalization or other paperwork processes, contact Tracy Leonetti at

Tracy Leonetti
Leonetti Business Services
Your Relocation & Paperwork Specialist in France – Making it Happen!

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Monday, 1 October 2018    Section: General Articles
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