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French authorities warn over 'black market' in paid residency permit appointments

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French authorities warn over 'black market' in paid residency permit appointments
Local authorities have warned against paying for appointments. Photo: AFP
12:42 CEST+02:00
Foreigners in France trying to settle residency permits have been warned against paying for appointments to obtain a carte de séjour.

The préfecture of Seine-Saint-Denis is one of several areas of France where it is so difficult to get appointments for residency permits that a 'black market' has sprung up in people offering to arrange a rendez-vous in exchange for money.

As revealed by The Local earlier this month, in several areas there is such high demand for appointments that securing a time slot can be extremely difficult.

However, this week the Seine-Saint-Denis préfecture has posted a warning on its website about these practices.

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The authority warns: "Be very careful, do not accept any paid online appointments. 

"We recommend that you do not follow up on offers to make paid online appointments and that you do not forward these offers to third parties in any form whatsoever.
 
"The prefecture reminds residents that all appointments offered on its website are free of charge."
 
As The Local's investigation revealed, there are several Facebook pages and websites that are offering to arrange speedy appointments at préfectures in exchange for fees of between €20 and €120.
 
Although the appointments are free many local authorities - especially in areas where there is a large British population - have reported being swamped by applications for the carte de séjour residency permit.
 
And it seems that some people are resorting to paying in an attempt to jump the queue - leaving others facing even longer waits.
 
The situation for British people is further complicated by uncertainty over Brexit - with some local préfectures saying they will no longer accept applications from Brits until after Britain has left the EU, which is currently scheduled for October 31st.
 
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