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Carte de séjour: What offences can lose you your right to live in France?

More than 28,000 residency card applications or renewals were refused in the nine months between October 2020 and June 2021, the French government has revealed - and it has also explained why.

Carte de séjour: What offences can lose you your right to live in France?
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wants to get tougher on foreigners who commit crimes. Photo: Ludovic Marin | AFP

Those figures are more than 50 percent up on the same period in the previous year, the statement said.

In total, 20,079 were first applications for the carte de séjour residency permit, while 8,031 refusals to renew were reported to a government committee following a directive in September 2020 instructing local authorities to report on the removal of foreigners who have committed serious offences or represent a serious threat to public order.

A further 699 permits have been withdrawn, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry on Wednesday.

A carte de séjour is required for all non-EU citizens who want to live in France.

People moving to France from outside the EU generally need a visa and then, if they want to stay in the long term, they apply for a carte de séjour. UK nationals who were living in France before December 21st 2020 can apply directly for a carte de séjour without needing a visa – but they must make their application before September 30th 2021.

READ ALSO How to get a French visa

So what can lose you the right to reside in France?

Of the residency permits that were withdrawn, rather than refused, 67.9 percent were for ‘public policy’ reasons, almost all related to the person having committed a crime.

A lot of the publicity on this has been around terrorists and extremists, but in fact just 3.2 percent of withdrawals were related to radicalisation.

The bulk of withdrawals were for people who had committed the most serious types of crime including attempted murder, violence, organised fraud and people trafficking.

However 5.9 percent of card withdrawals were of people convicted of driving offences – the Interior Ministry did not specify what type of offence.

The full breakdown for residency card withdrawals is: 

  • 27.6 percent for crimes including aggravated violence, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, organised fraud, and threats to a person holding public authority
  • 9 percent for conviction of drug trafficking and concealment
  • 7 percent for soliciting and begging, theft
  • 6.3 percent for domestic violence
  • 5.9 percent for driving offences
  • 3.2 percent for radicalisation
  • 1 percent for human trafficking
  • 8 percent ‘other reasons’ 

The eight prefectures of the greater Paris Île-de-France region reported 33.9 percent of all first application refusals in the October to June period, and 44.1 percent of renewal refusals.

Last June, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had indicated he wanted to speed up expulsions of certain foreign nationals who had committed crimes in France by asking préfectures to list “the names of foreigners guilty of serious disturbances to public order to be expelled as a priority over the coming weeks”.

In February, Darmanin said: “Foreigners should not be judged for what they are but for what they do for good or bad. And those who commit crimes and misdemeanors must leave.”

Member comments

  1. Do you have the information to follow this up with an explanation for the refusals?
    Might help people who still need to apply.
    BTW, great journal, indispensable.

  2. I agree on the journalism and choice of topics, well done. I look forward to seeing an answer on the Carte de Séjour. Except for essential reasons, applications from US citizens were not accepted during Covid. I don’t know if this has changed.

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How to adopt a pet from a French animal shelter

Around 300,000 pets are abandoned every year in France, many of them during the summer months. So if you're looking for a pet there are many lovely cats and dogs in shelters looking for a good home - here's how to go about it.

How to adopt a pet from a French animal shelter

Where to look

French animal welfare charity the Société Protectrice des Animaux (SPA) is an excellent place to start – it currently lists nearly 4,500 animals available for adoption. 

But there are lots of other smaller, local organisations – it may be worthwhile dropping in to see a local vet as they will generally know of local groups seeking homes for abandoned pets.

There will be paperwork

First-time buyers of cats or dogs have to sign a ‘certificate of commitment and understanding’ before they will be allowed to buy an animal, and the same applies to those looking to adopt. 

After the signed document is delivered to the authorities, future owners have seven days to change their mind – the idea is to prevent people from ‘impulsively’ buying or adopting pets only to abandon them later. 

The SPA, certainly, demands that would-be adopters are of legal age and are willing to take part in a “responsible adoption process”.

These things take time – as you should expect for a commitment that can last more than a decade. As the SPA website says, it seeks to ensure “that each decision is carefully considered and that the adopted animal matches its new family and way of life”.

The process may include home visits, interviews and discussions to help adopters find the animal to which they are best suited – older people may not cope well with an energetic puppy, for example.

READ ALSO What you need to know about owning a dog in France

Shelter animals

Some welfare organisations ensure their animals spend some time with ‘foster families’ until they are adopted. This means that the organisation has a pretty good idea how that animal is likely to behave when it gets to its new adopted home.

It is more difficult to judge an animal’s character if it has been kept in a pen in a shelter.

It will cost money

A financial contribution will most likely be requested by the organisation from which you are adopting. The sum will depend on the age and type of animal being adopted. 

The SPA, for example, asks for a donation to cover vets’ fees of between €250 and €300 for a dog, depending on its age, and €150 for a cat or a kitten.

Another well-known animal welfare organisation in France, Les Amis des Animaux, has a slightly different scale of fees covering the cost of chipping, vaccinations – including rabies/passport in mature animals, sterilisation, worming, et cetera. 

READ ALSO What you need to know about microchipping your pet in France

What else you need to know

Under French law, pet dogs – and cats and ferrets – over a certain age must be identified and registered on a national database. 

The animal must be identifiable by a tattoo or microchip – the latter is the most common method these days – that is registered on the Identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD) database

The procedure to insert the microchip, or ink the tattoo, must be carried out by an approved professional. The procedure should be done by a vet and costs between €40 and €70, the shelter will tell you whether your new pet already has a microchip or not.

You might not believe it if you have walked along certain streets in Paris, but you can be fined if you fail to pick up after your pet. 

The standard fine is €68, but the mayors of some towns have imposed stricter rules in the street, in parks, gardens and other public spaces. 

The French government’s Service Public website lists other rules regarding the health and wellbeing of pets. Read it here.