Another Carte de Sejour issue

Having been second-home owners for a few years, we arrived permanently in France on 30 November 2022 armed with our long-term visas. We could not legally apply for our cartes de séjour until three months before 30 November 2023.

Coming back from holiday, we applied online as instructed, through ANEF, on 16 October 2023. We received a reply two days later to say that we would receive an SMS in our ANEF account. No joy, and I contacted the site in December to be told that a decision had been made by our prefecture (Hérault) and that this decision would be in our notifications on the ANEF site. No joy here, either, more than a month later. We have tried various parts of government related to residency for UK citizens and all direct us to our sous-prefecture in Béziers.

One phone line is entirely automatic and does not deal with residency requests. Another phone line no longer seems to be connected, as with the fax line. We cannot get into the building itself without a rendez-vous, which we cannot get. There is no email address. We cannot obtain a récépissé until we have had our interview and paid up.

Because our visas have run out, we now seem to be in the position of being ‘irregulars’.

My feeling is that we should take all our paperwork, numbers and formal documents when we leave the country and hope that we can both leave and get back in. Has anyone had the same issue? I understand that the current wait for cartes de séjour in our Département is about six months!

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I had a similar problem and the solution was to access the prefecture website where you should be able to book a rendezvous. I had difficulty to start with until I realised prompted by SF that I was no longer a European.

Why can you not get an appointment?

You should have validated you visa within three months of arrival in France.

If you did that then you should have applied for the renewal between 2 and 4 months before it’s expiry.

If you did not validate, then your visa would expire after the third month.

I have tried everything to get any kind of contact with the sous-prefecture. If I click on ‘rendez-vous’ on the very limited website, the response is that this is via the Etat link, which takes me back to the sous-prefecture. I really have tried. Try it for me and let me know if you can get in, please.

Crabtree24 - We did validate our visas as you say. With an annual visa long-term with a view to permanent settlement, it is then not permitted to apply more than three months (not 2-4) before the due date. I tried to beat the time limit but ANEF threw me out every time saying that I had to wait until September 2023. Our visas expired after one year was up.

We applied in October as per the instructions on the ANEF site. The time for processing here is six months and you cannot get a recepisse without an interview, which requires a rendez-vous. We may be offered a rendez-vous by the system in due course, but there is no way to ask for one. Hence our problem. If they issued recepisses after submission and apparent acceptance, life would be a lot easier!

What a total nightmare for you. Every sympathy.

Have you considered/approached your nearest France Services office to see if they have a way of cutting through, or by passing the situation you find yourself in? They’re wonderful at working round and through ‘the system’, to help people who are in similar situations.

It might also be worthwhile writing an actual letter (registered etc) to the Prefecture spelling out exactly what has happened, with evidence and asking them to override the ‘computer says non’ situation.

Please keep us posted and good luck.


speak with your local Mairie and explain the troubles you’ve encountered.

Mairies have their own links to Prefectures and can (sometimes) get a blockage “unblocked”… :wink:

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Just a warning that Sous-Prefectures do not always deal with such matters, our local one did not and only the main Prefecture for 29 at Quimper dealt with CDS/Visa demands until Brexit caused such a traffic jam, Brest which was the main sous-prefecture opened on certain days to take the load off.

Good idea. I have written out a full account of what has, and has not, happened, and given it to our maire (back later today) to help sort out. I hope this might work. More 1600h today!

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In our Département (34), there is the main prefecture in Montpellier and two sous-prefectures, one in Béziers, the other in Lodève. Any attempt to bypass Béziers (local to us) is rejected with the instruction to ask Béziers.

Thanks, George1.

Our local France Services in Murviel says that they do not deal with these issues. They are totally useless, I’m afraid.

Writing a letter may be our last recourse, I guess, short of just trying to blag our way through immigration.

Anecdotal evidence only, but your département does seem to be a bit crap at dealing with CdS stuff.

For a photographer friend of mine who lives near Béziers and moved to France after the Brexit vote but before we actually Brexited, it took 10 attempts for her to get her Withdrawal Agreement CdS approved, including a couple of goes by a specialist firm who supposedly “expedite” visa applications.

Admittedly this was while the Covid fun was happening, but still…

So sympathies, and good luck!!

I live in 34 and my cds was dealt with very smoothly, and I moved end Dec 2020 so just before the drawbridge went up - couldn’t have been happier with the service, so don’t think it’s necessarily the department. Like all things I guess, it probably depends whose tray it lands in!

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I’m dreading applying for mine next year. I suspect asking for Withdrawal Agreement card 4 years late is going to raise an eyebrow or two.

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but… but… but… you do have an acceptable reason for this “late demand”… don’t you???

Ourvarious pleas of “mental incapacity” (barmy) etc etc etc… somewhat stretched the patience of the Prefecture… as we gradually rounded up all the Brits who “hadn’t realized”… and thus hadn’t applied before the deadline… phew !!!

Of course, I currently have a Titre de Séjour Spéciale and wasn’t permitted to request the Article 50 one bit I have it in writing that it’s a valid reason to apply late.


So no worries then :+1:

In theory at least.

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Phew… thank heavens for that… :wink:

You’re not in Strasbourg by any chance?
I know 2 people who recently had to hand back their special TdS because of retirement. They’ve been trying to get appointments with the Prefecture since October, to get WARPs, but despite having a note verbale from the Foreign Ministry are getting nowhere.