top of page

Working/Self Employed








This is the card for EU citizens

A new process will be put in place by the French Ministry of the Interior once we know whether the UK will leave the EU under a deal or with no deal.



All registration and processing of applications for residence lies with the préfet of each department. Your application will be dealt with by the préfecture that covers your department. In Paris, it’s the Préfecture de Police. A handful of local sous-préfecture can handle them but France is becoming increasingly centralised and many sous-préfectures are losing responsibilities. The préfecture will usually let you know - online or email what documents they need. You can find your préfecture's website online by adding to your department's name. For more information on your préfecture you can do a search on the main RIFT group Facebook page to get some local experiences (search box is usually on the left hand side for PCs and at top for phones - enter keywords - such as préfecture name). 

The préfecture are all supposed to follow the list for British Citizens sent in May 2018 but each has their own “ways” and “foibles” and available resources. ​They all differ in how they deal with people - some have appointments, some you just turn up when they are open, some ask you to take a ticket and some handle your papers by post. Some have application forms - don’t fill in a TCN one! Don’t have a wasted trip!

A new online system for your initial application is expected to be launched in October 2019. We will release more details as soon as we have them. Expect the new system to require one Préfecture visit for your electronic fingerprinting. EU Citizens who live legally in France are entitled to a card by right.

Cartes de Séjour are for adults only. You can ask for a DCEM for your student children (under age 18). It’s a special card to facilitate travel and prove residence. 

You do not need to speak French in order to qualify for a carte de séjour as an EU citizen, or post any exit from the EU, if already resident. Third Country Nationals do need to speak some French (or be ready to learn some fast). You will need to answer questions in French during your meeting at the préfecture, so those without basic French skills may want to take a friend to help out (or you could try to amuse the staff with some interesting translations from your mobile device).

Renewals - Your permanent Carte de Sejour and in case of no deal (and perhaps deal) your CdRLD will last for 10 years and is renewable. At renewal you need to provide - passport, a set of recent Id photos, proof of where you live and proof you’ve been living in France. Renewal is free in case of deal or no Brexit (small fee if you’ve lost your card) or probably 119€ in case of no deal. To renew a less than 5 years card it’s all the same dossier as your first application unless your status has changed. ​

Renewals must be done within the 2 month period immediately before expiry.

Check that you are “exercising treaty rights” - Under EU Citizens’ Rights tab at the top of page before applying




  • Resident in France Less than 5 years

  • Resident in France More than 5 years


Resident less than 5 years - Carte de séjour UE: 


This is your initial card for the first 5 years and will last for 1 year typically (you may get lucky though and be given more) and is renewable (apply to renew 2 months before expiry). 


Check that you are “exercising treaty rights” - Under EU Citizens’ Rights tab at the top of page


What’s Going In my Dossier


“Paperasse” - a “popular” French word for - RED TAPE!


As a minimum, you’ll need -

your passport, proof of employment/self employment, proof of medical cover, proof of résidence along with a “mugshot” (take the strip you get from the machine/photographer as numbers of pictures vary) - see here


​You will need to include photocopies of every document in your dossier but don’t forget to take originals and don’t hand them over if they cannot be replaced. Original documents cannot easily be returned


More on Proof of Residence 

See standard documents needed by French nationals

We are increasingly being asked for documents / bills with a 2D code on

Examples of documents members have used 

  • Utilities - EDF, Water, Landline Phone (mobile bills usually refused) and attestations from these. 

  • House insurance

  • Your official rental contract 

  • If you don’t pay bills you’ll need an attestation d'hébergement (a bill payer vouching for you) Here is a link to a draft  -


More on Medical Cover

You need to prove you have medical cover - this is usually in the form of an attestation from you health care “caisse”. It’s basically the paper part of your Carte Vitale, proving your rights are still valid. They can usually be printed from your online account or from the machines in the foyer of your “caisse” - often CPAM. Comprehensive private medical cover can also be shown but you may need to explain this to your préfecture who may not be familiar with such documents. This does not mean that you need private health insurance - the French system is enough. You need to be covered to the same level as a French national and therefore a private mutuelle (top-up) is not required.



You don't need to provide a letter of motivation for an application, however, if you prefer to write one that’s fine too.

Check to see if you really need any official translations of documents. ​​​


Evidence of your resources


How much Income?

Generally - 

Employed people don’t need to prove minimum income


Self Employed people need to prove their business is genuine and effective.

It's not at all about how much your business makes. It's about it being a real business. So your Siret and Kbis are needed. Show proof of your payments of cotisations. If you can - 

Show your insurances

Show your medical cover

Show any relevant qualifications

Show registration

Show contracts for sales and stock invoices

Show employee details.

If you are new - show your business plan.

See links for more information on previous cases and here


How long will my card last?

A carte de séjour for a working / self-employed will be for between 1 and 5 years year (some préfectures are more generous). You can renew it after this and should apply 2 months before expiry date.



Same evidence as first application until 5 years of résidence.

If you've now been legally resident for 5 years or more, you've acquired permanent resident rights and your application will be for a carte de séjour permanent


Resident More than 5 Years - EU Permanent card


After 5 years of legal résidence you can apply for a carte de séjour permanent. This means you can live in France without having to meet any further medical/income conditions. 

If you haven't previously held an initial card you still need to prove that you've been legally resident for 5 years

The permanent card is free, lasts for 10 years and is renewable. It will remain valid unless you spend a continuous period of two years outside France (whilst an EU citizen).

In some special cases and if you have been exercising treaty rights as a worker, then you can qualify for permanent residence in less than 5 years - retirement after 3 years work, illness after 2 years of work, work accident, certain cross-border workers.


​Paperasse for my carte de séjour permanent?

It’s the same as the above for an initial card. If it’s your first card you need evidence for a 5 year period. For changing an initial card you have to prove legal résidence since the start of the last card. You must apply to renew your card during the 2 month period before its expiry. Renewal documents are passport, proof of continued résidence and photos. 

bottom of page