Where is it?
Getting your residence permit
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.
Good to know:
- 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:
- Civil status documents sent by OFPRA (birth certificate and marriage certificate if you are married)
- Email with the decision of the OFPRA or the CNDA granting you the status of refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection or stateless person
- Evidence of residence less than 6 months old (or proof of address or proof of accommodation)
Good to know: Proof of address is requested, which does not mean proof of accommodation. 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: an accommodation certificate from the person hosting you, a copy of their identity card (or residence card) and proof of address in his name (electricity or telephone bill).
- 3 e-photos
Good to know:
To have an e-photo, you must go to a photo booth or go to an official "Online Service" photographer (approved to take photos for identity documents). To find a photo booth or an official photographer, you can look at the geolocation map by clicking on this link. You must indicate the code written on the photo board.
> 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.
> To read: the Refugees.info sheet “Create a personal account on Foreigners in France”.
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.
Good to know:
If you are unknown to the administration (family member of a refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection or stateless), and if you do not have a foreign number or visa number, you must go directly to the prefecture to apply for a residence permit.
Once you are logged into your account on the Foreigners in France website, click on “I request or renew a residence permit” to complete the residence permit application procedure.
You have to complete 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 limit, you will receive an 'instruction extension attestation' (API). This is a temporary residence document which proves that you have the right to be in France legally and that you can work. This attestation replaces the récépissé and is valid for a renewable period of 3 months.
When the prefecture has validated your application, you finally receive a "favorable decision certificate" which is valid until your residence permit is available.
Good to know:
For stateless people, after submitting the residence permit application file to the prefecture or sub-prefecture, you will receive a temporary residence document called a receipt. This document allows you to be in a regular situation in France during the study of your file. It also allows you to work.
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).
See the Réfugiés.info sheet on the purchase of a tax stamp .
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.
Good to know:
If the CCC has not been able to provide you with a solution, you can go to your prefecture to be accompanied by the digital reception point reserved for foreigners present in France. To contact the digital reception point closest to you, you can search on the internet by writing: “foreign prefecture digital reception point” and adding your department.
If you are unable to obtain your residence permit even though you have presented your birth certificate and proof of address, you can contest this decision.
To challenge the decision:
- you have to go to the Administrative Court
- you can get help from a lawyer for free if you have little money ( see the Refugees.info sheet on legal aid )
- you can get help from an association for helping foreign people (such as Cimade for example)
- you can contact the Defender of Rights, which is an administration that helps people who have difficulty accessing their rights
If you change your address, you must declare it online on the Foreigners in France (ANEF) website. This Refugees.info sheet explains how to > “Declare a change of situation on Foreigners in France ".
Good to know: The production of a new residence permit (paid) is not compulsory in the event of a change of address (you can, when declaring online, choose whether or not to produce a new permit). To justify your new home, a certificate will be available on your personal account after instruction.
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 .
Good to know: The members of your family must prove their identity and the family ties between you (with a marriage certificate, a family record book, a birth certificate, for example).
The card given to the members of your family authorizes them to work in France.
Good to know: Minor children do not need a residence permit. But from the age of 16, they must apply for a residence permit if they wish to work or do a professional internship. Depending on their situation, they may have a temporary residence permit or a resident permit (find the conditions by clicking here).
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.
> To read: the Refugees.info sheets “Requesting a DCEM” / “Requesting a travel document” .
The request must be made between 4 and 2 months before the expiry date of the document:
- online on the Foreigners in 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.
Good to know: After 4 years of residence in France with the beneficiary card for subsidiary protection or stateless person status, you can apply directly for a resident card (10 years).
> To read also: the Refugees.info sheet "Renewing the residence permit" .
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