January 10, 2012

Moving to France Tutorial - Part Six

Hôtel de Ville

Today's topic, the 10 Year Carte de Résident. 

A daunting subject, I know.

Translated from the www.service-public.fr website:
"A carte de résident bearing the words "résident de longue durée - CE" may be issued to any foreigner who has resided legally and continuously for at least 5 years in France.
This card is valid for 10 years.
The applicant must meet several conditions."

Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it?
I'm afraid it isn't. 

French bureaucracy never is.


I've been struggling to write this post for what seems like forever now. More specifically, for about a year and a half. I thought it would be the perfect final chapter of my Moving to France Tutorial, but could never seem to finish it.

The first problem: the laws keep changing.
The second problem: each préfecture/sous-préfecture is its own little fiefdom. So while some friends have applied for the card and unfortunately been denied for no legitimate reason, others just have merely asked and received, without any hassle.

We were two of the lucky ones.
A few years ago a letter came in the mail stating that we were to appear at the sous-préfecture on a given day, at the ridiculously early hour of 8am.
That was it. No more information given.
Which kind of freaked us out.
On the day of our appointment we arrived with our bulky dossiers and stood outside in the dark with the others, waiting for the doors to open. When it was finally our turn to be seen, the man behind the desk explained why we were there and proceeded with the interview, which included a series of questions and a basic test of our French conversational abilities.
That was it. The cards arrived a few months later.

Metro - B&W

So it seems to me that there is no rhyme or reason when it comes to this card, and after 18 months of on again, off again research, I've decided that I just don't feel confident enough to offer sound advice on how to tackle the elusive 10 year carte de résident. Because it is just that: ELUSIVE.

The best I can do is share a link to this French government website.
It is in French of course, which shouldn't be a problem because I assume that if you're reading this and are ready to apply for your carte de résident, you can speak French. (I hope you can, because they'll be testing you!)
The site is updated frequently and lists all the papers you'll need and all the fees associated with the card. After that it's all down to finding a sympathetic fonctionnaire to help you through the process.


If you're in the midst of applying, or are about to apply for the carte de résident, I hope it goes as smoothly for you as it did for us.
Good luck!

As always, I love to hear other French bureaucracy stories, so if you have one to share, please do!

The first five parts of the Moving to France Tutorial.

Part 1 - Why Do You Want to Live in France?
Part 2 - Finding Your French Consulate
Part 3 - Finding a Place to Live in France
Part 4 - The Carte de Séjour
Part 5 - Joining the French Health System

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