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AMERICANS IN FRANCE

Reader question: Do I need to change the address on my carte de séjour if I move house?

Non-EU citizens, including Britons, living permanently in France who do not have dual nationality of another EU country are required to hold a residency permit, known as a carte de séjour.

Reader question: Do I need to change the address on my carte de séjour if I move house?
Photo: Jean-Pierre Muller | AFP

Once you receive your card, you will notice that your home address is printed on the document.

So if you subsequently move after receiving your card, you need to change the address.

You have three months from the date you move to inform authorities of your change of address. In common with many aspects of public administration these days, the process can be started online here

If you are moving house but staying within the same département, your address change is handled by the préfecture which issued your card.

If you have moved to a different départment, you will need to contact the préfecture responsible for your new home. Again, the process can be started online. Be aware that additional documentation may be required.

Requests made online will be directed to the préfecture or sub-préfecture of the place of residence for further directions. 

Once you have made the request you do not need to do anything else unless you are contacted with a request for extra documentation.

Once the renewal process is complete, and all requested documents verified, a new carte de séjour will be issued.

Problems accessing the online portal 

Many of you have written to us after experiencing difficulty accessing the online platform to change your address. 

The online process is fairly new and it seems that it doesn’t work for everyone, with several Local readers who got the post-Brexit carte de séjour for UK nationals reporting that their card number is not recognised. 

In order to create the online account necessary to change your address, you must enter your visa or titre de séjour number (also known as a numéro AGDREF). This is a 13-digit number which on a standard carte de séjour is either along the top or the side, as below.

On the post-Brexit carte de séjour it is listed as the Numéro personnel and is just above the signature on the card.

Unfortunately, the online portal often bugs and displays a message indicating that your number is not recognised. 

If this happens, you need to book an appointment at the préfecture which issued your card in the first place. If the system doesn’t recognise your card number then it may not be possible to use the préfecture’s online booking system.

Préfecture appointment

If you’re unable to use the online booking system you will have to either email, call or show up at the préfecture and explain the situation in as much detail as possible. It may be worth taking screenshots showing that the online system rejected your card number.

Different préfectures have different systems but in Paris, where carte de séjour applications are dealt with by the Préfecture du Police, the online form to send such a mail, can be found here or email [email protected] 

Préfectures will then send you either an appointment, or a letter inviting you to visit when convenient. Some have their own list of required documents which can be different to the ones demanded by the online portal, so take careful note of what they are asking you for.

READ ALSO Visas and residency permits: How to move to France (and stay here)

Is the carte de séjour compulsory? 

The residency permit has always been required for non-EU nationals and since Brexit that includes Brits.

Under the Brexit Withdrawal agreement, Britons who were already resident in France before December 31st 2020 have the right to continue living here – BUT they need to apply for the carte de séjour.

Application for this is compulsory for almost every Briton – including people who have been in France for a long time, people married to French or EU nationals and people who previously held a European carte de séjour. Only those who have dual nationality with an EU country are exempt from this requirement.

The deadline for applications for the post-Brexit residency cards was September 30th – but Brits have until January 1st 2022 before they are legally required to be in possession of the card.

Member comments

  1. We’ve not moved, but we have been given a “proper” road name and number (was Lieu-Dit…) Should we still have this corrected?

  2. We moved house a few weeks ago and have to make an appointment online to be able to collect the new cards from Laval.
    There are 3 cards which need a separate appointment for each of us. Bizarre as the originals were sent by registered post.
    There is a fee payable for the new cards too which has to be paid by Timbres Fiscal/stamps. It is either 25 or 29 euro’s, unfortunately the price is handwritten on our letter and is illegible.

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For members

CULTURE

A guide for how to survive fall in France for homesick Americans

Looking to recreate American autumn festivities while living in France? Here are some of The Local's tips for how to avoid the seasonal homesickness this year.

A guide for how to survive fall in France for homesick Americans

For many, fall or autumn is a sacred time in the United States, marked by spooky cobwebs, weekends filled with visits to pumpkin patches, jugs of apple cider, and searching for the perfect Halloween costume. 

It is an easy time of year to feel homesick for Americans living in France, especially when it feels like you are missing out on holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving with friends and family at home.

READ MORE: Readers’ tips: How to create an authentic Thanksgiving in France

While it might never be the same as a New England fall, here are some tips on how to make autumn in France feel a bit more like home:

For when you miss pumpkin patches:

Yes this is possible in France! Pumpkins grow in fields across central France, and they are available in most supermarkets once the fall season has begun. However, if you are looking for a traditional pumpkin patch experience, that might be a bit trickier to find. If you devote yourself to a bit of research, then you will likely be able to find a ‘Fête de la Citrouille‘ or ‘Foire à la citrouille‘ (Pumpkin festivals) near you. These are more like fall fairs, complete with ‘heaviest pumpkin’ competitions and food stands.

While these might be a bit different from what you are used to, they are a great way to enjoy pumpkins (in a French way).

Many of these events will be announced on Facebook, so you can start by searching there. 

If you live in the Paris region there are a few pumpkin patches not too far outside of the city. The ‘Fermes de Gally‘ host a yearly pumpkin picking and carving festival. You could also visit “Ferme du Logis” or the “Vergers de Champlain.”

For when you want to celebrate Halloween:

You have a few options for trick-or-treating, if that’s your thing. You can always organise a private event with some other Halloween enthusiasts. Though, keep in mind that in France people say “des bonbons ou un sort” instead of ‘trick-or-treat’ in English. The other option is to see whether your local mairie is hosting an event. While Halloween is definitely not as popular in France as it is in the United States, it is becoming more common. 

If you are looking for a more official, organised event, you might consider going to the “Disney Halloween Festival.” During the festivities, the ‘villains’ take over the park, which is fully decorated for Halloween. When you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by smiling scarecrows with pumpkins on their heads, lanterns lighting up the park, and characters in ‘scary’ (kid-friendly) costumes.

During the actual Halloween weekend, the park hosts dedicated soirées. Tickets usually go for 79€ to 89€ per person.

Another option, particularly if you have older kids looking for a scarier Halloween, might be Parc Asterix. Each year, usually for the entirety of the month of October, the park is decked out in autumn colours with pumpkins, corn, and even straw bales. If you want to take younger children, you can go to the ‘Petit frisson’ (small scare) section. 

For when you miss pumpkin flavoured everything:

You do not have to give up pumpkin spice if you stay in France this fall! Starbucks (with locations across the country) sells pumpkin spice lattes.

If you want to make your own PSL, you can find ‘pumpkin spice’ in France (with a bit of effort). Carrefour reportedly sells the seasoning (see HERE). For the truly determined, you can find pumpkin spice on French Amazon too. 

The best bet for finding pumpkin spice – for all your baking and coffee needs – is to see if there is a local American épicerie or store near you. You might try the “Brooklyn Fizz” store in Lyon; “The Great McCoy” market in Paris; or the “Épicerie Americaine” in Bordeaux.

If there are not any, you can always try the online store “My American Market.”

For pumpkin scented candles, you can either replace with another fall scent (search: “bougie parfumées automne“) or you can order a Bath and Body Works candle online – see HERE

Finally, if you are looking to make a homemade pumpkin pie, consider doing so with an actual pumpkin. Pumpkin purée is hard to come by in France, but chopping up the pumpkin yourself is certainly one way to satisfy the craving.

For when you miss apple picking and cider:

In France, Normandy and Brittany are known for apple production, with their own apple cider traditions. Take a trip to Normandy and enjoy apple and cider festivals – learn more HERE.  

READ MORE: French figures: The drink that sparked a regional crockery battle

While the festivals might be lacking in apple cider donuts, you can always try your hand in making some homemade. Most of the ingredients should be accessible, though you might struggle a bit early in the season with locating nutmeg (muscade en français). As the fall season goes on, most large grocery store chains ought to stock up.

For apple pie cravings, consider trying the French equivalent: tarte aux pommes. Though it might be exactly the same as American apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top, it is still delicious and available in most boulangeries. 

If you live in the Paris area, or you are visiting, you can check out Boneshaker Donuts. The owners combine French and American traditions, and always have a full fall assortment. 

For when you miss American football:

Another source of homesickness for many Americans is the lack of American football on television in France. 

If you have a VPN on your computer, you might not run into this issue as much, but for those looking to simply watch football on cable TV, you have some options as well.

Comparitech recommends France’s two official NFL broadcasters: L’Equipe and beIN Sports. L’Equipe reportedly airs every Sunday game and playoff live, including the Super Bowl. It is free to use, so you do not need to purchase a premium subscription to view NFL games. 

Another tip might be to visit Irish, British or Scottish pubs in your area. Oftentimes, they will have access to sports channels that air NFL games too. 

For college football, Hulu’s live TV option should allow you to stream most games. 

Unfortunately, the ESPN + subscription will locate your IP address, so this is not possible without a VPN. However, you can purchase the NFL Game Pass and use it from France. You can choose between watching the Redzone or simply a single, specific game. This also allows you to split your screen, so you can watch multiple games at once.

For when you are just generally homesick:

While this might not be the perfect antidote, it might be an opportunity to make the most out of France’s fall traditions. You can start creating new hobbies and pastimes that might just become your craving this time next year. Visit a spooky French cemetery, go to your local market and buy fresh squash and Brussels sprouts, sip mulled wine, or even go out foraging for mushrooms.

The Local put together a full guide to autumn in France HERE.

READ MORE: 11 ways to make the most of autumn in France

If you are missing the foliage, consider going for a hike or weekend trip to any of these French locations that are known for stunning fall views. 

At the end of the day, if you really cannot handle being far from home during autumn, consider simply visiting the US. While flights to the US are always going to be pricey, the trip is usually cheaper in autumn than during peak times, such as summer vacation or Christmas. This off-season trip might be what you (and your wallet) needs.

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