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Last updated: June 6, 2023

I arrived in France on a long-stay visitor visa, got married to a Frenchman, and applied for the carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale” (CdS VPF) in Paris. This residence permit provides stability, allowing me to stay in France and work. Since I came with visitor status and I applied for private and family life status, my specific situation is considered a changement de statut (status change).

If you do not currently have a visa and are applying directly for the VPF card, you will be subjected to a process similar to the one described in this post. If you arrived in France on the VPF visa as the spouse of a French citizen, my guide for how to renew your spouse visa will be more helpful and applicable to you.

**Please note that the following post is my personal experience, and I cannot guarantee that others will have the same exact experience. I hope that you find useful information here, but do keep in mind that you should proceed based on your own unique situation. Also note that requirements can and do change! Use this post as a starting point, but stay up to date on the information that is supplied on government websites. Different prefectures might have different requirements regarding paperwork.

Eligibility for the CdS VPF

As the name suggests, the carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale” (CdS VPF) is mainly for family members such as spouses through marriage or partners through PACS (pacte civil de solidarité). Your current status has an effect on the paperwork needed and the fees you will pay for this procedure.

You can apply for this card as a renewal if you arrived on a VPF spouse visa or as a first request if you arrived on another type of long-stay visa (VLS). Those arriving on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV), also known as the Programme Vacances-Travail (PVT), are also potentially eligible if you’re applying through marriage. Keep in mind that you may need to pay some extra fees as this visa is not the typical long-stay visa. Additionally, since this visa is not as well known, be prepared to do some extra advocating for yourself if you encounter difficulties at your local préfecture about your status.

It is possible to apply directly for this card even if you didn’t arrive on any visa at all as long as you meet certain conditions, such as getting married in France and living in France with your partner for at least six months. This is considered overstaying your visit, and you would be required to pay a tax to resolve that. (Although there is a specific procedure to follow for this route, I would not recommend it since it means living in France without papers for a period of time.)

This post will focus mainly on applying for the carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale” as a first request, based on my personal experience in Paris as an American arriving on a long-stay visitor visa and married to a French person. However, I have added some extra tips for other situations including those applying through PACS.

Making an Appointment With the Préfecture

You will need to submit your documents to your local préfecture. Here is the contact information for the Paris préfecture:

Préfecture de Police
Place Louis Lépine
(The closest metro stop is Cité)

Phone number: 34 30 (9am-4pm)
Can you believe that they used to charge 6 euro cents a minute to call this number? It was incredibly frustrating since it usually takes several tries to get through. I’ve had better luck calling first thing in the morning.

You can also send them a message through their contact form.

⚠️ ⚠️ Update (December 5, 2023): As of April 2023, the Paris préfecture has moved to the online télé-procedure for renewals and renewals of the visa or carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale” for certain family members of French citizens, like spouses. This online portal has since become standard throughout France. It is also being used for requesting your first titre de séjour if you arrived in France without any visa at all but subsequently married a French citizen. It is my understanding that préfectures have also moved to the online procedure for changing your status (changement de statut) towards the VPF card for family members of French citizens. Be sure to check on your prefecture’s website for the latest info. The rest of this post has not been updated yet to reflect the new online procedure. However, many of the documents and eligibility requirements mentioned are still current practice. To get a better idea of what the online procedure looks like, check out the new blog post that is dedicated to the Online Renewal of the “Vie privée et familiale” Visa or Carte de Séjour.

If you arrived in France on a VPF visa, you can generally set up an appointment online as a renewal. (How to renew your visa or carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale”) If you will be changing your status, you will need to call to make an appointment. After scheduling a date, they will email you immediately with your convocation paper and a list of documents that you need. Set up your appointment online or call to request an appointment around 4-5 months before your visa expires (yes, really). If you are applying directly for the carte de séjour* because you overstayed your visit, you can call or start the process online.

Normally, your appointment to renew will not be scheduled any earlier than two months before the expiration date of your current titre de séjour* / visa*. If you are going to be changing the status of your current titre de séjour / visa, you can sometimes schedule it for earlier than that if you feel you have all the paperwork ready. This is called a changement de statut. The préfecture can be reluctant to schedule this before your current residence permit expires but in the case of a change that has a big impact, such as the authorization to work, they can often be convinced!

*Confused by these terms? Read this explanation.


Don’t ask me why France has several official websites, all with more or less the same information. These are my go-to websites for trying to decipher French administrative procedures. I cross-check all of them and will be referencing them throughout this post.

Service PublicLe site officiel de l’administration française.

Ministère de l’intérieur—Search bar to find your procedure

Préfecture de police (Paris)—My least favorite site for its lack of clarity, but a necessary evil

Fees and Cost of VPF Residence Card

The total cost for this procedure and card is 225 euros (about $240). If you did not arrive on a long-stay visa, you will need to pay a total of 200 euros more. Of that extra fee, 50 euros will be paid upfront when submitting your file.

You will settle your balance upon receiving your card. All fees will be paid by timbres fiscaux.

Paperwork for the CdS VPF

After setting up my appointment by phone call, I received two documents (other than my convocation) through email:

Each prefecture will provide you with something similar. The application I’ve attached here is already outdated. The new version now has a specific spot for a mobile phone number. (How modern!)

The instructions indicate that you should bring an original and a copy of all documents, but the agent seemed happy enough when I only offered copies. Truth be told, since most bills are online these days, you don’t really receive an “original” copy of anything anymore. Logically, you will only print out one copy. I think they simply haven’t updated the directions to reflect current practice.

While preparing your documents, keep these two ideas in mind: Ultimately, they want to see that you have a legitimate life with your partner and that you are putting down roots in France.

Personal Documents

  • Appointment convocation
  • Application form
    • They had a huge stack of them at the Paris préfecture and gave you one whether you brought your own or not
  • Copy of passport & arrival stamp into France
  • Copy of visa
  • Birth certificate with apostille and translation (by a certified translator)
  • OFII medical certificate (Certificat de contrôle médical) from medical exam
  • Livret de famille & copy
  • Marriage certificate (dated within 3 months)
  • **If your home country allows polygamy, you’ll need a sworn statement saying that you are not practicing polygamy.
  • Copy of Jonathan’s passport
  • 3 ID photos (They only took 2…)
    • You can get this done very cheaply using the photo booths found in many metro stops in Paris

Proof of Address & Proof of Vie commune

I’m not going to lie. This was confusing and seemed rather subjective. Of the documents listed below, I’m honestly still not completely sure which counted for proof of address and which counted for proof of our life together. There’s a bit of overlap.

From what I understand, proof of vie commune has to come in the form of a document with both partners’ names on it, or else both partners need to supply the same document showing they both receive a service at the same address (like health insurance or a bank account). For example, Jonathan and I have a top-up health insurance (mutuelle) together. This document has both of our names on it. It clearly counts towards our vie commune.

I tried to additionally offer up my document showing that I am covered by France’s health insurance program (Attestation de droits à l’assurance maladie), which also has our address. The agent turned to Jonathan and asked for his proof of health insurance. Jonathan replied, “I’m French. Of course I have health insurance.” End result: The agent did not take my document and explained that in order for it to count we both needed our documents to demonstrate that we separately had health insurance for the same address. Sorry, Jonathan. Even if you’re French, you have to prove yourself.

Burden of Proof

  • PACS partners need to prove 12 months of vie commune in France
    • You can generally start this process before you have 12 full months together and hand in the rest of your paperwork later (as long as you are relatively close to fulfilling the requirement)
  • Married spouses who arrived on a short-stay visa or without a visa need to prove 6 months of life together in France
  • Married spouses who arrived on a long-stay visa, the spouse visa, or a different kind of long-stay visa—6 months of life together in France

People will tell you that the spouse of a French citizen has a right to the CdS VPF. This is more or less true, but don’t go walking into your appointment expecting it will be automatically granted. You still have to prove that you meet the criteria. At least 6 months of life together is a good aim.

The legal code referencing this six months of life together for a foreigner married to a French citizen is a bit vague. Generally, the six months of “vie commune” refers to the life together in the legally recognized sense of marriage or PACS. To this effect, the proof you supply should begin from the date of marriage or the signing of the PACS.

Zee Proof

This is a list of literally everything I brought with me. You don’t need it all, as you’ll see from my notes, but do bring everything you have. The more trees killed, the better your chances!

  • Attestation de vie commune—Simple document swearing that you have established a vie commune for X amount of time
    • This document is obligatory
  • Renter’s insurance (Assurance habitation)
  • Rental contract (Contrat de bail)
    • The agent didn’t want this even though it’s a standard document to prove life together…
  • Rent receipt (Quittance de loyer)
    • Our rent receipt still hasn’t been corrected to have both of our names on it, so we brought it, but didn’t hand it over
  • EDF—Contract (Attestation titulaire de contrat) or Bill (Facture) or Receipt (Quittance)
    • France’s biggest electric supplier… this is gold for proof of address, etc. 
  • Mobile phone bill (Facture mobile)
    • I didn’t end up giving this, as it seemed we had enough documents
  • Internet bill (Facture Internet)
    • I didn’t end up giving this, as it seemed we had enough documents
  • Joint French tax statement (Avis d’impôts)
  • Health insurance (Attestation de droits à l’assurance maladie)
    • **See story above
  • Top-up health insurance (Mutuelle—Justificatif d’assurance)
  • RIB (relevé d’identité bancaire)
    • We don’t have a joint account, but they took my personal banking account details. You could potentially submit the RIB for both partners going to the same address.
    • Note: A RIB is not usually accepted as proof of address since it’s not dated and could easily be an old document. It is better to bring a relevé de compte (bank statement).

Do you still have questions? Let’s go over your paperwork together.

The Appointment

Note: Your partner’s presence is required at the appointment.

Unfortunately, I have had the pleasure of going to the Paris Préfecture more than once. It specifically says on your convocation that you should not arrive early as you will not be allowed in before your appointment time.

Under normal circumstances, there is ONE huge line outside the préfecture, and they allow people inside in the order in which they arrive with no regard for appointment times. No, you can’t skip ahead. We asked an officer about this, worried we would be late to an appointment, but they said not to worry about it, and that the agents inside would be understanding, because they know the line is long. Apparently, they don’t care if you don’t arrive on time, but if you want a less stressful experience, arrive early. On that note, be ready to spend 2-3 hours there total, so bring a snack and a book!

Update (November 2021): Ok, things are no longer AS chaotic as they were when I originally wrote this post. At this time, it seems they only allow you in, at most, 30 minutes before your appointment. There is basically one funnel to get in with a bit of a bottleneck around the entrance. Don’t be shy about going up to the officers working in order to advocate for yourself. Overall wait times seem to vary greatly between different people, so I still recommend bringing a snack 😉

Covid Regulations

Most recently, we went to the préfecture at the very end of August 2020. For Covid times, there are about four different lines outside in the plaza. There is, of course, no signage telling you the purpose of each line, forcing you to ask an officer. No worries, there are several officers strolling about, because it’s obviously easier to pay people to do nothing instead of taking the time to create signs.

Paris prefecture with long line of people waiting outside
Paris Préfecture

The officers we talked to actually examined my convocation sheet and told us to come back half an hour before the appointment. We came back then and were asked to wait again. We were finally allowed forward to the queue for security 15 minutes before our appointment. Going through security was fast and easy. It was similar to going into a museum.

The Paris Préfecture Labyrinth

Good luck deciphering how to get to the appropriate room. Rooms are numbered of course, but unless you noted it down ahead of time, it likely won’t say on your convocation form. And you guessed it—clear signage is not the forte of the Paris Préfecture. This is your first test! Ok, it wasn’t that bad, just not straightforward. As an American, requesting a family residence permit to stay in France, we reported to Salle 4, which was located near stairwell F, on the ground floor. I think that the rooms are organized by the type of titre de séjour you are requesting and not by nationality.

UPDATE (November 2021): The Paris préfecture has made great strides in creating a more user-friendly experience (lol). Rooms are now color-coded and there are plenty of signs everywhere. Look for the blue signs to get to Room 4!

Here, we waited in another line and checked in with the person at the desk. She just wanted to see my convocation and then gave me a ticket with a number. In the waiting area, there is a small screen which displays the current number being called and the window you should report to. When your number is called, take a deep breath and put on a big old smile. It’s showtime!

Hi! Please Let Me Stay in the Country!

We sat with the agent for about 15-20 minutes, handing in papers. I was also fingerprinted. The agent might ask some questions or for further paperwork. Don’t be too worried if you don’t have something specific they are asking for. Keep in mind that they’re trying to collect as much evidence as possible, and it’s to help your application. If you realize they want something that you have access to on your phone, offer to email them!

Decision Time

They’ll package up your file and send you away to wait. I believe they hand off your file to someone else who makes the decision, but I am unsure. You’ll be called up later to the same window where the agent will let you know the decision.

Don’t expect any celebration over an approval. If approved, the agent will give you a print out of your récépissé, which is essentially a receipt giving the full rights of the carte de séjour while your file is being processed and your card is being made. Feel free to squeal (on the inside). If your application is not immediately approved, you might be given the opportunity to hand in some more documents within a certain time frame or have another appointment set up for a later date. In case of absolute refusal, read up on your rights.

récépissé for carte de séjour
My récépissé

While you have someone in front of you, ask questions if you have them! Don’t be shy. It is a rare occurrence to have someone knowledgeable about the process right in front of you. (Well, hopefully they’re knowledgeable. Believe me—it’s not a guarantee.) Ask what the next steps are, what the current processing time is, or any other clarifying questions that you have.

Residence Permit Processing Times

Processing times can vary wildly depending on your préfecture. Larger cities generally have longer wait times. In Paris, I’m expecting to wait at least a couple of months, and my récépissé is valid for 6 months. I will update this post when I actually get the card. Hopefully, it’ll arrive before I need to renew it! Since this is my first year with the VPF status, my card will be temporaire, meaning that it will only last one year, instead of a pluriannuelle card, which for the VPF lasts two years.

When the card is ready, you will receive a text message. If you want to check on the status of your application, you can contact the Paris prefecture online.

Ellen and Jonathan happy after a successful prefecture appointment
Happy & relieved! Can you see my smile??

I finished this procedure just in time to celebrate one year in France! What a relief!

Picking Up the Carte de séjour

About a month after my appointment at the préfecture, I received a text message with a date, a time slot, and the amount of tax I would need to pay. The new date was about a month in the future. (There is a new procedure for Paris in which you are notified via text that your card is ready, but you need to book an appointment online to pick it up. )

If you’re not sure if your residence permit is ready or you are having trouble booking an appointment, check out my guide: How to Pick Up Your Carte de Séjour at the Paris Préfecture. There are tips in this post that can help at other préfectures as well.

What to Bring

  • Récépissé
  • Passport
  • Timbre électronique / Timbre fiscal (Same thing—two different names)

The tax is paid online, but you need to provide proof of purchase. You have a few options for receiving the scannable code. I recommend having the PDF emailed to you and then downloading it to your phone. Since it was my first time picking up a residence card, I printed out a copy of the timbre fiscal just in case, but it was not necessary. At the préfecture in Paris, they were able to scan the code on my phone with no problem.

Did this guide help you? Say thanks with a cup of coffee!

Be Prepared to Wait

You will enter the préfecture the same way you did for applying for your card. Show an officer your text message, and you should be allowed to begin queuing for security during your time slot.

There is a special room just for handing out residence permits (Salle des remises – Salle 1). It’s on the ground floor. I waited in the line to enter this room for about an hour. Once inside, the process was again the same as my first appointment. I received a ticket from the receptionist and waited for my number to be called up to a window. At the window, I handed over my récépissé, showed my timbre fiscal, and signed a paper.

Update (November 2021): It is now easier to navigate the Paris préfecture due to new signs and a color-coded system. Follow the purple signs to get to Room 1! Hopefully, you’ll be in and out in under an hour.

An hour and half after arriving at the préfecture, I left with my plastic card. It has been valid starting from the date of my first appointment, meaning that I will carry this around for only 10 months. Can’t wait to start this process over again when I renew my carte de séjour!

carte de séjour

How I Got the Carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale” Through Marriage
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25 thoughts on “How I Got the Carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale” Through Marriage

  • December 8, 2020 at 7:03 am

    Hi there! Thanks for the great information. I have a quick questions for you – I recently got PACSed and they obviously took my birth certificate and apostile. I am from Texas and only can get 10 copies in a lifetime – so do you think they will accept photo copies of birth certificate/apostile with translation? Thanks so much!

    • December 8, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Hi Morgan! I’m so glad you’ve found my blog to be helpful! It’s ultimately up to the préfecture to decide what they will accept. As indicated in my list of personal documents above, I submitted a photocopy of an “old” birth certificate (the one I had used for my wedding) and it was accepted. Hopefully, that will work for you, too.
      Good luck with everything 🙂

  • December 28, 2020 at 2:25 am

    Hello, and thank you for your taking the time to write this.

    I’ve got a question about something which I can’t seem to make heads or tails out of.

    I myself am engaged to a French woman, having arrived here on a Schengen (90 day) visa , and we are getting married in a month or so.

    How is it possible to be married, IN FRANCE, for six months while on a three month Visa? How did you get around this yourself? Is there something I missed in your info and the resources you cited??

    I really appreciate you providing all this information, and i would be really grateful if you could let me know how you got around this.



    • December 28, 2020 at 11:36 am

      Hi Kaleb,

      Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! 🙂

      Without knowing your nationality, I’ll do my best to clarify some points for you.

      I arrived in France on a long-stay (one-year) visitor visa. I applied for and obtained this visa in the United States, and I explicitly stated that I intended to marry a French citizen and settle in France. There is no special fiancé visa for France like there is for some countries. Furthermore, only long-stay visas can be (legally) changed into “cartes de séjour”. Anything shorter than a one-year visa is meant to be temporary and not supposed to be used to establish residence.

      After arriving in France on my visa, I married my husband, and I changed to the “carte de séjour vie privée et familiale” as the spouse of a French citizen, without returning to the United States. At no time was I without either a visa or a residence permit.

      As I mentioned under the heading “Eligibility,” it is possible to obtain a “carte de séjour” even if you didn’t arrive on a visa. (The Schengen visa for Americans isn’t really a visa but an exemption for needing a visa for a visit of up to 90 days.) To be very clear with you, obtaining a residence permit in this way involves staying illegally on French territory. Paperwork moves very slowly here, and especially so during Covid times, so one would be without papers for longer than three months.

      I did not choose that route nor would I recommend it, even though there is a specific procedure to follow (everything is linked above under “Eligibility”), as I’ve heard that this can cause problems with other procedures, like obtaining citizenship, for example.

      Good luck getting everything sorted. I know it’s a lot to figure out.


  • December 31, 2020 at 7:36 am


    Thank you very much for your response. I really appreciate it.

    I am also an American citizen, and am currently in France on a Schengen Visa…. Yes, there is quite a lot to get sorted…

    Thank you again for your time,


  • March 16, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Ellen, thank you for sharing your experience. I have a quick question, did you have the right to work with the récépissé while your resident card was being processe? Thanks in advance.

    • March 17, 2021 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Jose,

      I’m glad that my experiences have been helpful to you.

      I was given the right to work with my récépissé. You can see in the photo that it states, “Il autorise son titulaire à travailler.”

      The right to work with a récépissé for the first request of a CdS vie privée et familiale is not a guarantee, however. I received the right to work specifically because I was applying as the spouse of a French citizen. There are many other cases as well where the full rights of the carte de séjour are granted with the récepissé but I am not an immigration expert so unfortunately, I can’t really supply further details. If you need more information, I recommend the Facebook group, “Applying for a French CdS (Carte de Séjour).”


  • May 23, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    Hi and thank you for this! super helpful. So i’m actually planning to move from the UK to marry my fiancé in France (Lyon). We have our registry booked in June and I was wondering if I am able to just apply for the visa after the ceremony. I know that my british passport has 3 months of short stay visa but I was wondering if this is easy to do in 3 months? would I be able to receive the cds within the 3 months and do you know if there will be any challenges we would be facing

    • May 25, 2021 at 9:22 am

      Hi Ria,

      I’m so glad that my blog has been helpful to you.

      Visas can only be applied for in your country of residence. Please check out my guide to get a detailed explanation on the difference between a visa, the 90-day visa waiver, and a carte de séjour.

      As noted under “Eligibility,” without having arrived on the required long-stay visa, you would not be immediately eligible to apply directly for the carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale.” First and foremost, you would need to prove at least six months of life together with your partner in France. There are links above to relevant sources.

      Unless something prevents you from doing so, returning to the UK after your marriage and applying for the spouse visa from there would likely be the easiest and quickest route. Here’s the official website for French visas:

      Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! Best of luck to you on your new adventure and life in France 🙂


  • May 26, 2021 at 5:20 am

    Thank you for taking the time to explain the process. Sorry to bother you with one more question but do you know what happens if you’re unable to reach level A2/B1 before the renewal of your carte de sejour? thank you so much your help x 😀

    • May 26, 2021 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Ria,

      When you arrive in France on the spouse visa, you’ll validate the visa online and receive appointments with OFII (The Office of Immigration & Integration).

      At your appointment, you’ll take a French test. If you do not meet level A1, you’ll be assigned French classes. Level A1 is a fairly basic level and is required for the renewal of your carte de séjour. Without meeting all requirements of the spouse visa in your first year, you will likely not be granted the 2-year card and would remain on the temporary 1-year card. Read more about the requirements and integration contract here:

      Level A2 is required for a 10-year resident card and Level B1 is required for nationality. If you cannot prove these levels, you simply cannot apply for these statuses and would remain on a 2-year card.


  • September 27, 2021 at 4:45 am

    Hi , I am an American and looking forward to getting married with a French woman. Simply want to thank you for this clear post about your experience. It’s very hard to get clear cut information here about bureaucratic processes. This is clutch!

    • September 28, 2021 at 7:42 am

      I’m so glad you’ve found this post to be helpful, Steven. Best wishes on your upcoming marriage 🙂

  • November 4, 2021 at 8:38 am


    Have a quick question, if you completed all the OFII civic classes, why did the give you CDS just fir 1 year?

    • November 4, 2021 at 3:38 pm

      Hi James,

      I arrived in France on a long-stay visitor visa. Under this status, my only requirement with OFII was the validation payment and medical exam. Then I got married to my French husband and I subsequently changed status to the Carte de séjour “vie privée et familiale.” That’s what this post is about—how I obtained this status for the very first time. When you obtain this status for the first time, you are given a one-year temporary card.

      Under this new status, I was called in again by OFII to fulfill new requirements, namely, the integration contract, the language test, and the civics classes. After fulfilling these obligations and as my one-year card came to an end, I applied for a renewal and got a two-year card. I wrote about my renewal here:

      I hope this clears up any confusion.


  • December 1, 2021 at 7:30 am

    Thank you so much, Ellen! This was my exact situation and your guide was so helpful 🙂 Just got my récépissé !!

    • December 3, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Hi Charlotte,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me this message. I’m glad to hear that my guide helped you. Congratulations on the récépissé!! 🥳


  • January 7, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Ellen,
    I’m trying to get my first rdv to change my VLS-TS étudiant to VPF too and your blog is super helpful. Surprisingly I got through the phone 3 times but every time they told me that they couldn’t find my file when searching for my OFII identifiant number which was really weird. Hence, they couldn’t book me in :(. Have you heard of such cases or it’s not the OFII number that we have to give to them on the phone but something else?
    Thank you!!

    • January 9, 2022 at 7:24 am

      Hi Amy,

      There are so many numbers that we are assigned when we enter the country! There is one number that has remained consistent for me throughout my visa and my two cartes de séjour. On my OFII visa validation sheet, it was called a numéro de référence (numéro d’enregistrement). This same number was called a numéro AGDREF on other OFII paperwork, such as my medical exam. On my récépissé, it was simply listed as N°XXX. And on my current carte de séjour, it is referred to as my numéro personnel. If you arrived on a long-stay visa, it should begin with 99.

      This is the number that I supply whenever I contact the préfecture.

      Here is a PDF that might help you verify that you are giving the correct number:

      I hope that this helps you and allows you to book an appointment, but if you’re certain that you’ve supplied them with the correct number and are still not able to book an appointment, please let know.


      • January 10, 2022 at 8:08 am

        Hi Ellen,

        Yes that’s the number that I was giving them. On mine, it’s identifiant instead of référence but surely is the same thing that starts with 99. They gave me an email to ask why my number isn’t available in the system but it’s been a week with no reply. My visa expires in May, do you think it might be too early to book an appointment and that’s why the number didn’t come up? though it shouldn’t be the case…

        • January 12, 2022 at 6:09 am

          Hi Amy,

          Sounds like you are providing them with the right number. During my first year in France, I called the préfecture long before my visa was due to expire and they were still able to look up my information, so I don’t think that that is the issue.

          When I’ve been in situations where I’m not getting an actionable answer, I continue calling and pushing back until someone is able to help me. Eventually, I’ve found someone who is willing to look into the matter and figure it out. In my experience, emails often take weeks to months for a response, so I opt for calling (even though it’s incredibly frustrating).

          Are you in Paris? The main préfecture is likely the agency that needs to help you since they’re in charge of status changes, but I know in Paris there is also a préfecture that deals with students. That could be another option for getting answers. Perhaps it’s possible that since you are a student, you are not registered in the same database that the main préfecture has access to?

          I haven’t heard from anyone in this situation before. I would recommend also checking out the Facebook group, “Applying for a French CdS (carte de séjour) and/or visa.” There are many people in this group with varying experiences.

          I wish I could give you a more solid next step! I know how frustrating it can trying to figure this kind of stuff out!


          • March 1, 2022 at 5:20 pm

            Hi Ellen,

            So after 2.5 months of frustration and endless “fight” with the prefecture, ants, ofii… I have called, emailed, sent lettre recommandée countless times. Finally, my husband called 3430 this morning and magically they FOUND me and gave us an appointment in March (2 months ahead of my visa’s expiration date). I still don’t know what triggered this change, I updated my civil status to married on etrangerenfrance a few weeks ago so it can also be that or who knows! Anyway just want to give a little update in case someone else will have the same problem.

            I do have another question pls, as the system for the validation of visa has changed and we now do it online. I paid the taxes and all but with a student visa, we don’t get a medical appointment from OFII at all I think, do you know anything about this?

          • March 3, 2022 at 9:13 am

            Hi Amy,

            Thanks for the update! I’m glad you were able to work that out.

            In the case of changing to a different type of residence permit, the préfecture is generally responsible for forwarding your information to OFII who will then contact you for any appointments. Being on a student visa previously, you may be exempt from some or all of the typical requirements of the carte de séjour VPF. You can find more info in my post on the medical appointment: and my post on the integration contract and civics classes:


  • May 10, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    Nice blog!
    One thing which is a little “irréaliste” : getting an appointment by phone, I doubt seriously 🙂
    Either you have a chance to win a lotterie ticket or there is a special number of us citizens.

    • May 20, 2023 at 5:33 am

      Pas irréaliste du tout, Electronico. Just sharing my experience 🙂

      Thank you for drawing my attention to this post though. This procedure moved online about a month ago and I haven’t had a chance to update it yet with current practice. I’ve just added a note in the section about making an appointment so that others can be aware until I have the time to do a complete refresh.

      If you have any specific questions or concerns, let me know and I’ll do my best to help.


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