Confusion reigns visa renewal

Good eveing had initial LSV TS for 1 yr, our 2nd visa residency card is nearing end. we’re in visitor category, early retirement but living fr full time. Does anyone know if can change our visa with this being our 3rd renewal ?

Is it a VLS - TS as in visa long séjour - titre séjour?

Was the first visa the same or did you get a VLS-T for the first year? Normally when you get to the end of a VLS-TS you embark on the residency procedures with OFII medical and language test etc etc. And after you have renewed 4 times you get longer term residency .

You renew on this site

This info in english from service public, and link to welcome to France info.

Long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS)

You MUST validate your VLS-TS within three months of arriving in France.

If you fail to do so, you will no longer be legally present in France and will be unable to re-enter the Schengen Area.

The validation procedure is now completely online. To begin, please visit the following website:

You will need to provide:

  • The information on your visa;
  • The date on which you entered France;
  • Your residential address in France;
  • Your credit card to pay online the issuance fee for the appropriate residence permit or electronic stamp for your circumstances, which you can purchase at any newsagent.

The OFII (French Office for Immigration and Integration) reserves the right to call you for a meeting to carry out further formalities, have a medical check-up and/or sign an integration contract.

NB: at the end of the validity of your VLS-TS and if you wish to remain in France, you will have to apply for a residence permit according to the procedures described on the website

A support unit has been set up at the Directorate-General for Foreign Nationals in France, phone number: [0806 001 620](tel:0806 001 620) – e-mail:

Good evening long stay visa first year gotten in uk was registered as required. Second year (current) is resident card which runs out this May. Am now wanting to change to working or Micro E . Wonder if possible or have to continue on current route of renewal up to 5 yrs . ££

OK, understand now. Your original post was not that clear.

Apparently it is immensely hard to change from one visa type to another, it can take a very long time - years even. It is generally recommended to start again and reapply for the right visa via application portal, then book appointment in UK and go back to UK for interview and until get passport back.

Never had to do it, so no direct knowledge.

You say third renewal but if your first year was 2021 on a visa valant TdS, and at the end of that you renewed in 2022 and this is the card you currently hold, then I think this will be your second renewal coming up not your third? So I think you could apply for a “permanent” card in either 2026 or 2027. I do not know whether you have to have lived in France for at least 5 years at the time of application which would mean 2027 or by the time they get round to dealing with it which would be 2026.
If you want to change to a different kind of TdS then from what I have heard and as Jane has said, apparently it is better to start again with a new visa application for the type of visa you want. Renewing means exchanging like for like, you simply have to show that you continue to meet the same conditions. Changjng to a different type means that you have a different set of criteria to meet and your justificatifs have to be assessed so in effect it is like a new application. It is the same criteria whether you apply through the visa authorities in the UK or the préfecture in France. The difference is that visa authorities are set up to process applications swiftly and efficientloy because it is what they do, but préfectures are not, they are set up to process renewals. Also I have heard that the visa authorities in the UK are more helpful and they will ask for extra information if your dossier is not complete, whereas the préfecture is more likely to simply refuse it, then you have to appeal and it drags on and on.

Thank you both for your replies. I do get mixed up so be patient ! After our first year (post Brexit) we applied for the resident card last year and received that which is due for renewal this year.
What we are trying to do is change current ‘visitor’ visa ( had to come over under this heading) to Micro E . We have submitted the appropriate paperwork but alas as we are under Visitor type visa we can not change. I am trying to confirm that we have to stay on this ‘visitor’ Visa for a period of 5 years and paying every year then try for a longer visa. Also after that period wonder if we would try again to change to Micro E ?
The idea of returning to UK to re-apply makes me shudder , would we start again it was bad enough 1st time, the potential cost alone would not make that an option id like to have to choose.
Do you know also if you are able to B&B without Micro E / work visa ? Thanks again ,helpful, may have to ‘bite the bullet’ then.

If you don’t have a work visa, you can’t work. Work in this context means do an activity for money. It doesn’t matter what it is, if it is paid for or even if you get payment in kind, then it is work.

The problem is that in order to get the visa you currently have, that gives you visitor status, you had to write out a statement confirming that you were not going to work in France. That is one of the conditions for “visitor” visas. If you have changed your mind and you want to work, then visitor status is no longer the right status for you. So one way or another if you want to change status you will have to put together a new application, because to qualify for a different status you have a different set of criteria to meet.

But you do not have to return to the UK as such to apply for a new visa. The application process is all online, you can do it from France. But you would have to go back for the interview and you would have to submit your passports and wait to get them back, so you would be stuck in the UK for a few weeks.

Perhaps you can wait for five years and hope they will then give you a card giving you “full” rights. But I do not know if this happens automatically, I think that under the current rules there are extra conditions to move from visitor status to having “full” rights, including a French language test? and it is possible that the rules might change between now and then so it might be a bit of a gamble.

I do not think working as a visitor without the right to work is a good idea because although it is probably possible, when you apply to renew they will look at your income and if they think you have broken the conditions they may refuse renewal. I do not see how you can do B&B without working. Your guests will not make their own beds and clean their rooms and cook their own breakfasts and wash up will they, they are paying you to do that, so it seems to me that you are working and being paid for it. Also B&B is not the sort of activity you can hide because you have to register at the mairie I believe and you have to advertise or you will not get any customers.

It is deliberate dishonesty, and as we have more than enough home-grown crooks we tend to tell foreign ones to go home.


You basically have two options:

  1. Wait until your 5 years are up, but you cannot do any type of paid work whatsoever until then.
  2. Apply for a working visa including an interview in UK, then get a CDS. Bear in mind that the application may be unsuccessful.

Back in the good old days when you had to have a CDS to live here, we were warned by our maire not to try and buck the system as the paper trail always leads back to the authorities, hence why we hotfooted down to the prefecture within a couple of days and applied for the CDS but OH had to get his SIRET first as it turned out, so it took a few weeks and hey presto all legal and above board and no worries if the flic should call as they well might have

What was it bad? The visitor visa process seems v straighforward.

To confirm what others have said, you cannot run a B&B or microenterprise on a visitor visa. And after 5 years of legal residence (which means meeting all the criteria) you should then get an all purpose visa. But if there are gaps or oddities then the préfectures can adjourn this for a further year or two.

Personally, if this is what you want to do I would start to flesh out a business plan to check it is feasible (and which you will need if go for entrepreneur visa straight off) and think through reapplying. Do you have driends or family you could stay with for a couple of weeks?

Good morning all,
Kass, we are in a similar situation you but a year behind, so will be interested to see what transpires. I too would like/need the right to work and do not wish to wait five years…
I found this advocat website interesting and to some extent reassuring. they list each type of carte and put some meat on the bones regarding the process which I could not find anywhere else. Hopefully it may be of help to you.

Best of luck,

Interesting website, but on a quick read doesn’t say anything different from the official texts just adds a bit of colour to it.

I have recently read of one person who did manage to change their titre de séjour from within France via the préfecture. It took 18 months, and a lot of repetitive paperwork. But still same process of needing to get a business plan signed off first.

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Thanks Jane. As you say it all takes time. I am loosing hope of gaining the right to seek work here, which is a shame as I have a provisional offer with the service technique in our commune, but they aren’t about to sponsor me. Back to the drawing board…I cannot wait five years (or another four).

What a shame…why won’t they sponsor you as this seems quite a simple step? Is it because they haven’t done the necessary to show there is no european that wants to do the job?

I think that it is as you say, because it has not been advertised yet. I have not pushed the issue as we are still on visiteurs visa extensions awaiting our titres de sejours. I have heard that these pluriannuelles can vary from 1 year to 4 years depending on the departement/prefecture & the circumstances of the immigrant, and that they may or may not grant one the right to work.

Hi we have someone to look into this at the moment it is frustrating

I couldn’t agree more, but I don’t want Brexit to beat us…

It seems to me it is the French immigration process you are up against, not really Brexit because Brexit is history.
One conclusion I have arrived at after more than half a lifetime living in France is that when it comes to French administration, it is no use trying to swim against the current because all you will do is tire yourself out, the current is too strong. In the end you have to go with the flow so you will save a lot of time if you do that to start with. If you want to work in France, find an employer that will sponsor you or put together a convincing business plan. It is what every non EU person has to do if they want to live and work in France. Or marry a French person, or find a French ancestor, or if you are young enrol at a French university. There are various routes available, choose one and follow it, because simply saying I am British and I

is not likely to get you very far. Many people of all nationalities would like the right to live and work in France but France does not want them all.