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Bitesize Guide to applying for a Carte de Séjour without a conventional address

Applying for a Carte de Séjour is often a daunting experience, but for those people living in less conventional circumstances, the prospect may feel overwhelming. We don’t know as yet the details for the new online CdS system, but we must assume that proof of residence will be required.

There are many Rift members who have succeeded in obtaining a CdS without a bricks and mortar home, and they’ve generously shared their experiences for the research of this Bitesize.

Although a level of stability is essential, it is clear that a Titre de Séjour should not be refused based solely on the lack of a permanent address;

Droit des personnes sans domicile stable de faire des démarches d’admission au séjour en préfecture

Therefore, there are ways and procedures for those living in France in different situations, to apply for a CdS.

Living afloat

For those with a permanent mooring, and those prepared to stay local, an attestation de domicile can be requested from the Captainerie. As moorings are hard to come by and being at anchor may be the only possibility, an attestation de mouillage could be requested. These requests would certainly be looked on more favourably if you were well known within the community, and could provide proof of lasting links. One Rift member was advised by the préfectureto remain locally, while building up his residence years towards a permanent card, to avoid different interpretations on his validity of residence if renewing at another préfecture.

Staying with friends and family

When you have a home but your name is not on the rental agreement, the house deeds or the essential services bills, an attestation d’hébergement is required. The form can be printed off here: it is completed by the householder, who also adds a copy of their passport, identity card or CdS and an essential services bill in their name. This is your proof of residence.

Here you will find an excellent explainer on Attestations d'Hébergement from a grouping of Avocats. Note the 6 key requirements on the pictogram as well as the descriptions.


We note the following from explainer :


A certificate of accommodation is an official act by which a person attests to being the lodger of another person. It is a letter in which the host assures on his honour that the person concerned is living with him. It may be written when the person accommodated does not appear on water or electricity bills or on any taxes, in order to enable him to complete his administrative requirements


As domiciliation is an essential condition for access to various services, this document is practically indispensable for people who do not have a rental or own a property. 


The accommodation certificate may be required as part of routine administrative procedures, such as :

The creation of identity documents, such as a national identity card or passport 

The issuing of a driving licence or a car registration document

The opening of a bank account

Applying for a telephone line

Setting up a business

Being allowed the status of micro-entrepreneur

Applying for a residence permit


Obtaining an accommodation certificate is subject to a number of conditions:

Free accommodation

A person accommodated can only apply for a certificate of accommodation if they have free use of their home. No profit must be made by the person providing accommodation, who must make the accommodation available to the person without asking for payment of rent. If this is not the case, enjoyment of the accommodation is automatically requalified as a rental contract, according to the law of 6 July 1989, amended by the Alur law. If the host is also a tenant, the requalification makes it a sublease. In both cases, the lodger cannot obtain a certificate of accommodation. On the other hand, he can use the rent receipt as proof of residence.

A principal residence

Although the accommodation provider may accommodate a third party in a secondary residence, the accommodation certificate required by the administration concerns only the subject's main residence. Thus, if a dwelling other than the main residence is used as temporary accommodation, the information in the certificate must relates to the main residence and not to the secondary residence.

A minimum length of stay

To be able to apply for an accommodation certificate, the person accommodated must have been living in the accommodation for at least 3 months. If he or she has not yet reached this statutory period, the host will not be able to certify on his or her honour that he or she is living at the address concerned.

Other conditions to be met by the host

Apart from the time of residence and the free use of the accommodation, no other criteria are applied for the person accommodated. Regardless of his or her nationality, whether French, European Union national or from a third country, a person has the right to apply for an accommodation certificate, as long as the conditions mentioned above are met.

There is no age limit for the applicant. Moreover, it is quite possible to draw up an accommodation certificate on behalf of a minor or a retired person, if the person is accommodated free of charge. As an example, parents can write an accommodation certificate for their minor child, as part of administrative procedures such as the creation of an identity card or passport.

In addition :

No family ties are required between the host and the lodger. Whether you are staying with a friend or a family member, you are perfectly entitled to ask them for a certificate of accommodation. French administration does not carry out any checks on this point.

The host can only issue an accommodation certificate if he or she is an adult.

The person providing accommodation must also be able to prove that he or she enjoys the property as a tenant or owner.


The certificate of accommodation is a simple declaration and must be attached to a few supporting documents. Without these documents, this declaration on honour will have no legal value, and will not be admissible.

The accommodation certificate must be accompanied by:

A photocopy of an identity document of the person lodging (national identity card or passport);

A photocopy of an identity document of the third party accommodated;

Proof of address of the host.

Documents that can be used as proof of residence:

Proof of housing tax

A title deed

An energy, internet or fixed telephone bill

An insurance certificate

A certificate from the CAF

A tax notice

A rent receipt

Other circumstances 

If living in a caravan, or a yurt on someone else’s property, the attestations de domicile or d’hébergementmay also be suitable. If not, there is a further solution for an address in France. Une demande de domiciliation des personnes sans domicile stable; a request for an address to receive mail, for those temporarily without one.


A request for this service can be made at the centre communal d’action sociale (CCAS) or the centre intercommunal d’action sociale (CIAS), or at the mairie in small towns without a CCAS or CIAS.


There are conditions that need to be met in order to apply. The conditions require a level of stability and investment in the local community, for example, to be employed or to be a parent of a school child within the commune.

If accepted, there is a time limit of 12 months as it’s not meant to be long term, rather a stop gap to provide a temporary solution during a difficult period.


The following links all point to official information sources:
1. This document (in French) by the Comité pour la santé des exilés (Comede) outlines the law
relevant to people without a permanent address.
2. Standard form for an attestation d’hébergement.
3. Information about the French government service to provide a postal address for people
without a permanent address.



This is one of a series of guides and information sheets produced by Remain in France Together
(RIFT). RIFT is a statutory association governed by French law and managed and run by volunteers.
It exists to uphold the rights of British citizens living in, or moving to, France affected by the UK
withdrawal from the EU.
The information is for general guidance and does not constitute legal advice. It is offered free for
personal, non-commercial use.
The main source of information to keep up-to-date with developments in citizens’ rights is our
When using our printed guides, you should check the website to make sure that you have the latest
Original author/date: Julie Hall, May 2020
This guide was last updated: September 2020.

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