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The French authorities issue 2 types of residency permits to foreign nationals: the temporary residency permit (carte de séjour) and the resident card (carte de résident). These documents are issued to applicants aged18 or over (starting at age 16 for young foreigners authorized to work). Parents of young people under age 18 must obtain long stay visas for their children before entering France.

Application for stay documents is made to the Prefecture in your department. Paris residents must report to either the Prefecture of police, or the Foreigner Reception Centre of their arrondissement. To find the address that applies to you, contact the:
Préfecture de police – Direction de la Police Générale

Sous-direction de l’Administration des étrangers

9, boulevard du Palais

75195 Paris cedex 04

Metro: Cité (ligne 4)


Information and reception: Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm,

Outside Paris and in the provinces, application for stay papers is made either to the prefecture or sub-prefecture of your department or to the local authorities. For more complete information, contact the police station or city hall where you are living. Remember that you can find useful information on the website: www.service-public.fr.

Temporary residency permit

Application for a temporary residency permit is made to the Prefecture of police of your place of residence, preferably within the eight (8) days following arrival in France. The temporary residency permit is valid for one year and renewable. It generally consists of an identity card. There are several types of temporary residency permits, identifying the holder as either “salarié(e)” (employed), “visiteur” (visitor), “profession non-salariée” (self-employed professional), “vie privée et familiale” (family), “scientifique” (scientist), “profession artistique et culturelle” (artist) and “étudiant” (student). When the prefecture authorities do not issue this stay document immediately, they can provide a temporary permit in the form of an “acknowledgement of application for a residency permit” (récépissé de demande de carte de séjour) which is valid for three (3) months. This document must be kept until the temporary residency permit is obtained. A medical exam and blood tests are also required. Application for the temporary residency permit-“employed” cannot be made in France until the following steps have been taken:

  • a potential employer has been found,

  • a job commitment in writing has been obtained, and

  • authorization from the French Department of Labour and a long stay visa have been received from the French consulate of your place of residence in Canada.

It is important to realize that the employer will have to apply to the Department Directorate of Labour, Employment and Professional Formation for permission to hire a foreigner: the employer only can take this initial step. The matter is then dealt with by l’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) which will send its reply to the French consulate nearest the applicant’s place of residence in Canada. The OFII is a public institution responsible for implementing state policy for foreigners entering and working in France. It conducts this procedure working with French consulates and the Department Directorate of Labour, Employment and Professional Formation but does not have the power to issue work permits. If you want more detailed information about all this, contact the:

Direction départementale du travail, de l’emploi

et de la formation professionnelle

210, quai de Jemmapes

75462 Paris Cedex 10

Metro: Jaurès

Service de la main-d’œuvre étrangère



Hours: Monday to Friday,

9:00am to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 pm

Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII)

48, rue de la Roquette

75011 Paris



Website: www.ofii.fr

Hours: Monday to Friday,

8:30am to noon and 12:45 to 5:00 pm

When you arrive in France with your long stay visa and work permit, you must submit the following documents to the prefecture to obtain your temporary residency permit:

  • Valid passport and long stay visa;

  • 3 black-and-white passport photos (3.5 cm X 4.5 cm);

  • Proof of financial resources (bank proof or letter from parent or guarantor);

  • Proof of health insurance;

  • Medical certificate issued by a doctor approved by the French consulate;

  • Proof of residence (rental agreement or a gas, electricity or telephone bill);

  • For students: pre-registration or admission letter, proof of a bank account in France, a letter of equivalence from an official body in Canada (French consulate in Canada) and a financial guarantee of a minimum 430€ a month;

  • For workers: employer contract – OFII;

  • A stamped, self-addressed return envelope.

An application for renewal of this permit must be made 2 months prior to its expiry date along with proof of your situation in France (residence, financial resources, payment of taxes, etc.). Should the authorities refuse to renew, you will have to leave France no later than one (1) month from the date of written notification that renewal has been refused. After three (3) years of continuous residence in France, the holder of a “salarié” temporary residency permit may apply to the prefecture for a resident card.

The temporary residency permit also applies to regroup a family when a foreigner brings in spouse and children under age 18. They will have to produce proof of a stable (professional and financial ‘related to the size of the family’) situation and regular living arrangements in France. The spouse must obtain a long stay residency permit from the French Consulate before arriving in France. Since November 2007, having an evaluation of his knowledge of French, of the values of the Republique and the formation received in his own country. Also the creation of the “contrat d’accueil et d’intégration”. A family fee of 265 Euros will be required.
A foreigner who marries a French citizen is entitled to a “private life and family” (vie privée et familiale) temporary residency permit, provided that he or she has entered France legally with a valid Canadian passport.

Resident card

The resident card concerns foreigners wishing to stay more permanently in France. It is issued as one’s right after living three or five (3 or 5) consecutive years in France (except for students), or after three (3) years for persons holding an annual authorization to stay entitled “vie privée et familiale.

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