Question: I have applied for my carte de séjour on the website and although I have had my appointment at the préfecture I’m still waiting for the card itself to arrive. So what happens if it doesn’t come before the October 1st deadline?
Firstly – don’t panic. The deadline to have the card now now been pushed back to January 1st 2022 – full details here.
An EU report from September 6th showed that 162,000 people have applied for the post-Brexit carte de séjour residency card in France. Of those applications, 151,300 had been processed, leaving more than 10,000 still waiting.
France extended its original deadline to make the application from June 30th to September 30th, and now the deadline to actually be in possession of the card has been extended too – until January 1st 2022.
So what does that mean in practice after January?
It seems very unlikely that France will immediately start rounding up or deporting Brits who do not have the correct paperwork.
In fact, day to day life is likely to continue as normal – what will change, however, is when you begin dealing with official processes.
Non-EU citizens can be required to show proof of their right of residency in a number of official scenarios including when renting or buying property, and accessing benefits or healthcare, while employers are within their rights to ask staff to provide proof that they are living and working legally in France.
The change to the October deadline was a late one – announced just three days before – so it’s possible that people will still ask for your card after October. You can find the official decree HERE if you need to prove that you have until January to get the card.
What should you do if you don’t yet have the card?
Contact the préfecture
Initial advice to people still waiting was not to contact their local préfecture, since many authorities were struggling to process the sheer volume of applications. People were also advised not to create a second application if their first was still pending, as this too increases the backlogs within the system.
However, campaign group RIFT, which has conducted detailed surveys on the carte de séjour application process, now advises anyone who has made their application but not heard from their préfecture to get in touch.
Applicants receive an automated attestation d’enregistrement (certificate of registration) when they make the application, containing a reference number. The next step is contact by email from your local préfecture, either requesting more information if your application is incomplete or inviting you to an appointment to give fingerprints and photos.
After the appointment, the card is delivered to you by post. Delivery times vary between different areas, but it is usually between two and six weeks.
People who have not heard anything since receiving the automated email should first check their email spam or junk folders and then, if there is no contact from the préfecture, get in touch.
RIFT recommends: “Our recommendation now, if you applied but not been contacted by your préfecture, is to contact them via their website – there should be an email address or online contact form for you to complete. Alternatively, send a lettre recommandée (registered post letter).
“Ensure you include a copy of the acknowledgement email or as a minimum, the reference number and the date you applied.”
Keep the attestation d’enregistrement
In the absence of the card, the attestation d’enregistrement is an official document. The Interior Ministry has previously said that this document could act as proof of residency for purposes including travel for people who had not yet received their cards, so we would advise people to print this out and keep a copy with them while they are waiting for the card.
If you have not yet made your application, you have just days to do so – here’s how.