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EXPLAINED: The website that speeds up French bureaucracy 'by up to 50%'

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: The website that speeds up French bureaucracy 'by up to 50%'
A screenshot of the log-in page for French government website "démarches-simplifiées" (Photo Credit: The Local)

Notorious for their slow speed, French administrative procedures have become more streamlined in recent years - and now a French government website claims it can speed up common processes like exchanging foreign drivers' licences and renewing residency permits.


From driver's licences to submitting documents related to residency permits for foreigners, the French website démarches simplifiées (procedures simplified) seeks to make it easier - and faster - to handle French administrative procedures online.

The website is a recent innovation by the French government that aims to streamline administrative procedures and make more processes that once required in-person, paper-heavy meetings available online.


According to the site, the goal is to decrease administrative processing times by 50 percent in France. As of mid-December, more than seven million files had been submitted via démarches simplifiées.

It doesn't change the actual processes, or mean that you don't still need a dossier of documents, but what it aims to do is bring a whole host of different processes together on one site.

However, it is still optional for local authorities to use, so exactly what you can do with it depends on where you live - some préfectures seem more engaged with it than others.

You can still do any of these processes directly via your préfecture if you prefer not to use the site.

Why would I use this website?

It has a variety of different processes, but probably the main reasons a foreigner living in France might use this website would be to submit files related to a visa or residency permit renewal or a driver's licence.

More French administrative tasks have been migrating to the site recently, however. For example, the police prefecture for the city of Paris has moved some procedures, like declaring "an animal nuisance" - signalling to local authorities that there may be a rat or pigeon infestation - to démarches simplifiées

READ MORE: Bedbugs, mice, and mould: How to handle infestations in your French home

As more French procedures become computerised, this website might become more necessary in day-to-day life in France, but for now, it is a good first step before making an in person meeting or completing an admin task that requires mailing documents.

How do I use this website?

Some of the website is in English, such as the log-in page, while other parts of the website are solely available in French.

To log on, you can go to THIS link. You can sign in using FranceConnect, or by creating an online account.

Screenshot of log-in page for Démarches Simplifiées

Once you logged in, you first select the type of procedure you want to do, for example Démarches relatives au permis de conduire (tasks relating to driving licences) or Démarches relatives aux étrangers résidant en France (tasks relating to foreigners living in France) for anything relating to residency permits.


You then find an alphabetical list of départements and you can see which services your local préfecture offers online.

If the service you need is not listed under your département name then unfortunately it's back to the old-fashioned method for you.

If it is listed, however, you can go straight to the section you need and make your request online.

If you are looking for options in Paris, for example, the page would resemble the one below:

Screenshot of the 'procedures relevant to foreigners living in France' section of the Démarches Simplifiées website

It seems that préfectures are gradually adding more services to the site, so it's worth checking regularly what your local préfecture offers.

Once you click on the form that is relevant to you, then Démarches Simplifiées will open a file that will be accessible to you in your online portal on the website after logging in.

You can then submit requests online and track your application to see the status of your request.

Is it really 50 percent faster?

That's what the website claims, although we're yet to see any independent verification of that . . .


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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nic 2022/12/28 19:11
I think I'm missing something in the steps, or maybe my region doesn't support this tool. I can log in an see a dossier I opened a year ago to get a carte de sejour, but see no way of opening a new dossier via this site. For example, I want to change my Swedish driver's license to a French one. Any advice from the community?
jephsond 2022/12/22 09:22
I am sure that this works for some but for me this application has been a nightmare. I have tried to change my address for my carte de séjour for over two months via this platform and I am going round in circles. I have contacted the help desk and they keep repeating the same instructions and I cannot advance. Whilst the systems may have improved the people working for the govt have not.

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