Carte de séjour requirement


The French government passed the “loi Sarkozy” on 26 November 2003. It deals with immigration and amongst other things introduces important changes to the carte de séjour (otherwise becoming known as titre de séjour) system for French residents ID.

If you are an EU, EEE or Swiss citizen you no longer legally require a carte de séjour to reside in France, provided you have alternative ID (including proof of address) from your home country. For former UK residents this is your passport plus a document such as an electricity bill showing your address.

This is quite a dramatic change for France, given its history of strict control and administration of non-French residents. In fact, the new law does tighten up a number of immigration regulations for non-EU citizens but for EU citizens it can be seen as another step towards European federalism.

Applicants have been receiving letters like this:

“Je vous informe que la Loi no 2003-1119 du 26 november 2003, publiee au J.O. due 27 november 2003, relative a la maitrise de l’immigration, au sejour des estrangers en France et a la nationalite a modifie l’ordonnance no. 45-2658 due 02 november 1945, relative aux conditions d’entrée et de sejour des ressortissants etrangers en France, en introduisant un article 9-1, qui stipule que ‘les ressortissants des Etats members de l’Union Europeene, d’un autre Etat partie a l’accord sur l’Espace econonique europeen ou de la Confederation helvetique qui souhaitent etablir en France leur residence habituelle ne sont pas tenus de detenir un titre de sejour. S’ils en font la demande, il leur est deliver, dans les conditions precisees par decret en Conseil d’Estat, un titre de sejour, sous reserve d’absence de menace pour l’ordre public’ ” (Our italics)

But in some cases you may be better off or it may still be essential to obtain a CDS.

For example:

– If you plan to work in France you should expect to be asked for a CDS when you apply for work and you may also be expected to obtain one if you set up in business. This is a legal grey area because, historically, the CDS acts as both ID and as right to work, the Carte de Sejour “actif”. Check with your Mairie, Chambre de Commerce or Préfecture to be sure. If in doubt, apply for your CDS anyway if you plan to be economically active in France, at least until the application of the law becomes clearer

– If you need ID on you anyway (which you do by law) and increasingly when driving, when paying for items with cheques etc, then ask yourself do you really want to take your passport and some other address ID with you? Would a small ID card (CDS) be easier?

– There are a number of other document applications (Carte Vitale, Carte Grise etc) which, in some regions, have traditionally required the production of a CDS. Well, now you can argue the toss with them and quote the law, but you might prefer to have a CDS as a more widely accepted and convenient form of French ID until all the processes catch up with the new law.

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