Residency permits For Members

Reader question: How and when do I renew my carte de séjour?

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Reader question: How and when do I renew my carte de séjour?

If you're a French resident you'll know that the admin never ends, but one very important task is making sure that your carte de séjour residency permit is renewed on time.


If you're a citizen of a non-EU country and you're living in France, you will eventually get a carte de séjour residency permit.

But in most cases, this involves regular renewals - so here's when and how to go about that process. 


Your carte de séjour will have an expiry date printed on it and in most cases you should apply once the date is within three months of expiry.

If you are a second-home owner and have the carte de séjour visiteur, you should apply no earlier than four months but no later than two months before the expiry date.


You apply via your local préfecture - most préfectures now have an online process for doing this, but the exact procedure varies slightly from place to place. The best place to start is the étrangers section of your local préfecture's website, which will explain exactly what to do.

If you're in Paris, you go via the Préfecture du Police and the process is entirely online.


Exactly what documents you will need depends on your personal situation (eg student, salaried employee, retired) but in general you will need

  • Your old card
  • Your passport
  • 3 recent ID photos that conform to French standards (ie taken in an approved photo booth)
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of your current status (eg a work contract, proof of study or proof of financial means if you are not working)
  • Timbre fiscale for the price of renewal

If the process is online, it's usually just a case of uploading the supporting documents and filling in the form with all your personal information.

One thing worth mentioning - you should fill in your name exactly as it appears on your documentation, missing out a middle name or describing yourself as Chris rather than Christopher could see your application rejected.

What next?

Once you have submitted the information it then needs to be processed - if your préfecture has an online system you can usually follow the status of your application.

The exact process varies according to the préfecture, but if all is in order you will usually be invited to make an appointment at the préfecture to come and pick up the card, and give fingerprints if you have not already done so. 

Be aware that at some préfectures - especially Paris - it can be hard to get an appointment. You may need to try repeatedly or even lurk online at midnight when the new appointment slots are released. 



Once you have made your application you will usually get a récépissé - either in paper format or as a downloadable document. This is essentially a receipt, but while you're waiting for your new card the récépissé can be used for travel or for proof of your right to live in France.

Récépissé: Your questions answered

We mentioned problems in getting an appointment - if this happens to you (or you experience any other administrative delays) and your old card expires while you are waiting, the récépissé acts as proof that you are legally in France.

If you didn't get a récépissé you can request one, and it can be extended if you are still waiting.

It can be pretty stressful if you're waiting a long time for your new card, but the attitude of French administration is that this isn't a problem as long as you have the récépisse.

Pre-Brexit Brits

If you're British and lived in France before December 30th 2020 (ie you are covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement) you will have the special post-Brexit carte de séjour known as the WARP or Article 50 TUE card.

There are two types of these - short-term 5-year cards, or permanent 10-year cards.

The Withdrawal Agreement gives you the right to stay in France, but you do need to renew the card when it nears its expiry date, to ensure that your paperwork remains valid.

If you have the five-year card, you renew it and go onto the permanent (10-year) card.

The carte de séjour permenant gives the right to stay in France for the rest of your life, but the card itself still needs renewing every 10 years. 

The special website that was used to issue the cards in 2021/22 is no longer in use, instead you do the renewal via the préfecture in the same way as described above. 


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David 2023/07/28 19:25
My prefecture (Gard) hasn't been sending notices that one's renewal card is ready. So, once I know the renewal has been approved I wait a month or two to allow for creation of the new card. Then I just make an appointment to go pick it up, despite all the warnings that you must have received an SMS saying that the card is ready and that you must bring a copy of the notice saying so with you. When I tell them I never received notice that the card was ready they are always completely nonplussed.

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