Residency permits For Members

Récépissé: Your questions answered on France's temporary residency permit

The Local France
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Récépissé: Your questions answered on France's temporary residency permit
A préfecture employee fills out documentation (Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP)

These rather flimsy looking pieces of paper carry a lot of weight in France - here is everything you should know about récépissés.


Getting a récépissé is a common experience for anyone renewing or applying for a French residency permit.

Essentially it is a receipt, or confirmation that you have submitted your application.

The piece of paper or cardboard might not look particularly official, but it more or less allows you to retain the same rights or privileges you had on your previous residency card (if you are renewing).


According to the French government, it is defined as "a document proving that your application for a residence permit has been registered at the préfecture (or sous-préfecture) of your place of residence."

Crucially, they add "it authorises you to stay in France for the period it specifies".

It is very common to get one of these documents while you're going through the process of either applying for a residency card (carte de séjour), renewing one or changing the status of your existing card or visa.

If you applied online, then you might receive this document as a downloadable form. If you applied in person, then you likely received a paper document at the end of your appointment. 

Here The Local answers some common questions on récépissés.

Is a récépissé an official document? Can I travel on it?

Many feel confused when they first receive a récépissé, as the document oftentimes does not look like it would carry institutional value. Oftentimes, for a paper copy, the photo of the person is simply pasted onto the paper while if you receive a downloadable version you can print it out.

However, récépissés are considered official documents by the French government, and as such can be used for administrative tasks and travelling. They give you the same rights to travel and remain in France as a residency card, during their period of validity.

Here is an example of what a récépissé might look like:

A sample image of a récépissé (photo credit; Genevieve Mansfield, The Local)

You can travel with a récépissé if it is still valid and if it is accompanied by the permit to be renewed (ie your old, expired card). You will still need to use your passport for travel, but the récépissé informs border control that you have a right of residence in France.

There are some exceptions - if this is your first time applying for a titre de séjour and you have travelled outside of the Schengen zone, then you may - depending on your country of origin - need to request a return visa to come back to France.

However, if you are covered by the 90-day rule (meaning, you do not need a visa to enter France as a tourist for under 90 days), then it is unlikely you will encounter any difficulties on your return. 


If this is not your first time applying for a titre de séjour - as in you are applying for a change of status or a renewal, then you can return to France as long as you bring the récépissé, your previous residency permit, and your current, valid passport. 

Can I work with a récépissé?

Generally yes - but you should look at the récépissé itself to see whether it specifies that you have the right to work. 

If you are requesting a first issue or renewal of any of the following residency cards (list also found on the ministry of interior's website), then typically the préfecture will give you the right to work with a récépissé:

  • A residency permit with the label "salarié" or "travailleur temporaire".
  • A residency permit titled "recherche d'emploi ou création d'entreprise" (the temporary residence permit for seeking employment or setting up a business)
  • A multiyear residency permit titled "passeport talent", "passeport talent - carte bleue européenne", "passeport talent - chercheur" or "passeport talent - chercheur - programme de mobilité"
  • A multiyear residency permit titled "passeport talent (famille)" 
  • A multiyear residency permit titled "salarié détaché ICT", "salarié détaché mobile ICT", "salarié détaché ICT (famille)" or "salarié détaché mobile ICT (famille)" (seconded employees)
  • A multiyear residency permit titled "travailleur saisonnier" (the seasonal worker residence permit)
  • A multiyear residency permit titled "bénéficiaire de la protection subsidiaire", "membre de la famille d'un bénéficiaire de la protection subsidiaire", "bénéficiaire du statut d'apatride" or "membre de la famille d'un bénéficiaire du statut d'apatride" (this is usually the card issued to refugees/ asylum seekers)

If you are applying for the first time for a temporary 'vie privée et famille' (family and private life) card, then the préfecture may not give you the right to work while on the récépissé. You will need to ask when it is being delivered, or check the document itself.

There are also some exceptions to the right to work with a récépissé for the first issue of a 10-year residency card. Again - France's ministry of interior recommends on their website to verify with the préfecture and the récépissé itself.


For all other cards that do not give the right to work - such as short or long-stay visitor cards - the récépissé also does not give you the right to work.

Can I request a récépissé?

If you weren't given a récépisse and you need one, you can request it. the most common reason for this is delays at your local préfecture with renewing your existing residency card.

It's not unusual for people to be still waiting for a decision (or for an appointment slot) when the card is set to expire, despite applying in good time.

If your card is set to expire, you should request a récépissé so you have proof of your right to remain in France.

In most cases, you can make this request online via your préfecture.


For the Paris préfecture, you first go onto the website for 'demarches en ligne' (found here). Then, you click "Prolongation droit au séjour". This page will give inform you of what to do based on your individual situation.

You will either be advised to send a message to the préfecture requesting via the specialised contact form to request a first récépissé (in this case you should include your convocation, or confirmation of upcoming appointment, and a copy of your previous residency card with the expiration date visible) or you will be advised to use another government website to request an extension of an existing récépissé.

They are usually valid for between three and six months, depending on your situation.

My récépissé is about to expire, what do I do?

French bureaucracy can be slow. It's not unusual for people to be still waiting for that crucial appointment three (or six) months later when the récépissé itself is about to expire.

In this situation, you can request an extension of your récépissé. In order to do so, you can request it online using this French government website.


It is advised to do this at least 15 days before the récépissé is set to expire. 

If this option does not give you a timely response, then you can also call, email, and fill out your local préfecture's contact form. In the email, be sure to attach relevant documents, including the soon-to-be-expired récépissé and the expired titre de séjour.

You can also try to visit the préfecture in person, but you should keep in mind that you may be refused entry without an appointment. 

How many times can I extend my récépissé?

Some préfectures are more efficient than others, and certain times of year are faster than others. In Paris, many people report that even when their card is processed and ready to pick up they simply cannot get an appointment slot, and The Local has previously highlighted problems with bot scammers targeting the préfecture website.

Many foreigners in France find it stressful to continuously extend a récépissé, sometimes for months on end without receiving the actual titre de séjour. Clearly this is not an ideal situation, but remember that the récépissé is a legal document, you do not need to worry about your right to residency in France while it is active, and you can also use it to travel.

It can be renewed as necessary, and the French government does not specify a maximum number of times it is possible to do so. 

Essentially, if you have an active récépissé, even if it has been extended more than once, you retain all of the rights that you had on your previous titre de séjour, including your rights to French social security and healthcare.

There is no penalty for having had several extensions.

READ MORE: What to do if you can't get an appointment at the préfecture to renew your French paperwork

Can I use the récépissé for ID?

If you are asked for a pièce d'identité (ID) you cannot use the récépissé for this, even if it has your name and photo on it. You can use it together with your expired residency permit, or use your passport.

A little piece of history . . .

The récépissé has been a crucial staple of French immigration bureaucracy for centuries, and has barely changed in its format.

Here's one from 1883, on display at the Musée de l'histoire de l'immigration in Paris.

Photo: The Local


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