What is it?
When you are granted refugee, stateless or subsidiary protection status, you have the right to settle in France on a long-term basis and to work there. You must then apply for your residence permit (also called " residence title ").
- Statutory refugees are entitled to a 10-year 'residence' card in France.
- Subsidiary protected persons and stateless persons are entitled to a 4-year "pluriannual" residence permit.
The prefecture has a minimum of 3 months after the OFPRA decision to give you your card. It may take longer depending on your situation and the prefecture.
- For refugees and subsidiary protected persons, the application for a residence permit is now done online. You have to send everything online and you no longer have an appointment at the prefecture to submit the documents. You will only have to go to the prefecture in person when you receive your residence permit.
- For stateless persons, the application for a residence permit is still made at the prefecture.
How to do it?
To apply for the residence permit, you need these documents:
- Letter with the decision of the OFPRA or the CNDA granting you the status of refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection or stateless person
- Proof of address of less than 6 months old (domiciliation certificate or accommodation certificate)
- If you are without stable accommodation and you only have a postal address to receive mail, the usual domiciliation certificate is accepted.
- If you are staying with someone (family, friend, volunteer, etc.), you must send: a certificate of accommodation from the person hosting you, a copy of their identity card (or residence card) and proof address in his/her name (electricity or telephone bill).
- 3 e-photos
> To read also: the Refugees.info sheet "Making and using an e-photo".
- If you are married: declaration on honor of non-polygamy (the fact of being married to several people) in France if you are a national of a country that authorizes it.
If you are a refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection, you must apply for a residence permit online on this site: https://administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr/
- Connect to your Foreigners in France account: click on your name at the top right of the home page, and select "Access my account" .
- Or if you've never done it, create your account.
Stateless people cannot yet apply on this site. If you have been recognized as stateless, you must go directly to the prefecture near your address to apply for a residence permit. The documents requested are the same as the request on the internet.
Once you are logged into your account on the Étrangers en France website, click on “I request or renew a residence permit” to complete the residence permit application procedure.
You have to fill a form and send the documents.
> To read also: the Refugees.info sheet “Scanning a document”.
After applying online, you will automatically receive by email a "deposit certificate" which proves that you have sent your file. This document does not grant any rights, it is only a proof.
If your file is complete and sent within the requested time, you will then receive an "certificate of extension of instruction" (API in French). It is a temporary residence document which proves that you have the right to be in France in a regular situation and that you can work. This certificate replaces the receipt and is valid for a renewable period of 3 months.
Once the prefecture has validated your application, you finally receive a "favorable decision certificate" which is valid until your residence permit is available.
Your application for a residence permit is studied by the competent prefecture or sub-prefecture according to your declared address. The processing times for applications are different in each prefecture.
To find out how your application is progressing, log into your personal account on the Foreigners in France website, click on your name at the top right of the home page, and select " Access my account".
There are four stages:
- Submission of the request: your request has been received.
- Investigation in progress: the prefecture has begun to study your request, its processing is in progress.
- Decision made: your request has been processed, a decision has been made.
- Residence permit available: your card is available. An SMS will tell you how to recover it. If you do not receive any SMS, you must go to the website of your prefecture to find out how to retrieve your residence permit.
The day you pick up your residence permit, you will have to prove that you have paid €25 in tax stamps (with proof of payment of the stamp duty).
Tax stamps are sold only on the timbres.impots.gouv.fr website and in tobacconists).
What happens next?
Your residence permit is valid:
- 10 years if you have refugee status, it is the “resident” card,
- 4 years if you have subsidiary protection or stateless person status, this is the “multi-year” card.
If you have a technical problem (blocked page, error message, etc.), you can contact the Citizen Contact Center (CCC):
- by telephone on 0 806 001 620 (free number),
- or with the contact form ("Contact" button at the bottom left of the screen). You must clearly explain your problem and send screenshots (site, date and time visible) with the error message if you have one.
If you receive no response from the prefecture or a negative response to your application for a residence permit, although you have sent all the documents within the deadline, you can contest this decision (saying that you don't agree).
To challenge the decision:
- You must enter the Administrative Court of your place of residence. To get the contact details of the Administrative Court of your department, click here.
- Seek help from a lawyer. If you don't have a lot of money, you can apply for legal aid to cover all or part of your legal costs.
To read: the Réfugiés.info sheet on legal aid .
- You can get help from an association dedicated to helping foreigners.
- You can contact the Defender of Rights, an administration that helps people in difficulty to access their rights.
If you change your address, you must declare it online on the Étrangers en France (ANEF) website. This Refugees.info sheet explains how to > “Declare a change of situation on Étrangers en France ".
Your status as a refugee, stateless person or beneficiary of subsidiary protection allows members of your family to have the same card:
- The person you are married to, if they are over 18 and you were officially married before applying for asylum,
- Your children under 19,
- Your parents if you are still a minor and unmarried,
- The person with whom you live as a couple , if they are over 18 and if they have been authorized to stay in France with family reunification (if you had a sufficiently stable and continuous life together before the date of your asylum application ).
> To read: the Réfugiés.info sheet on family reunification .
The card given to the members of your family authorizes them to work in France.
To travel, minor children must present a circulation document for minor foreigners (DCEM). This document must be requested by parents from the prefecture. It is valid for 5 years in the Schengen area. To have a DCEM, you can do the process online by clicking here. Outside Schengen, you must apply for a travel document for children, with a visa depending on the country.
The request must be made between 4 and 2 months before the expiry date of the document:
- online on the Étrangers en France website if you are a refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection (log in and click on the same button “I request or renew a residence permit” and follow the steps),
- at the prefecture if you have stateless person status.
> To read also: the Refugees.info sheet "Renewing the residence permit" .
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