Help Please ! Stuck between a CDS and a VISA

Hello All,

I am a little stuck and would muchly appreciate any help!

I have recently returned to Normandie to hopefully live, I am struggling with the CDS/ Visa situation and running out of my 90 days quite quickly…

Having lived here when I was younger and having spent years in education and years working and paying taxes (i have a numero de sécurité sociale) , I unfortuanately had to go back to the UK to care for an elderly parent as so I wasn’t here when it came to applying for the original CDS. This year that parent passed on and now I would like to start again back in France.

Now I am becoming aware it appears that they have stopped accepting online applications for people who are self employed (I have applied to the URSAAF recently to become Auto Entrepreneur as an english teacher/tutor ) but I seem to be able to apply as an employee, which is very frustrating as I recently lost out on a job offer here as I wasnt able to provide the CDS or the recepissé allowing me to work temporarily. If i was to go back to england to apply for my Visa , i will be tight on time and also as an self employed person I guess i would need to provide a business plan to justify that i would be self sufficient?

Basically this bla bla to ask what would the best course of action be ? I dont intend on returning to England but should i must I know i could be refused re entry when they see i am past 90 days stay.

I call Normandie home and really don’t want to have to return to live in the UK. I do apologise for the lenght of this post but i am at my wit’s end!

How long were you a permanent resident of France before you left, and exactly when did leave you please? If you can tell us those details we might be able to help better.

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Hello crabtree and thanks for replying to my topic.
I lived here from 2004-2008 then again from 2013-2018…

Hello! I am Daisy’s mum - hopefully some of the people on here might be able to help and maybe @fabien will have some insight too?


It is possible that you may be entitled to apply for a Brexit WARP (withdrawl agreement resident permit), however it is not as easy now as you are very late in applying. To apply for a WARP you have to do it directly through your prefecture, and impress upon them that you are applying for this particular CDS ( You must also make it clear the application is being made in accordance with "L’accord de retrait Brexit - ARTICLE 50 TUE), as many do not realise that they can still issue it. However, they may still refuse unless you give them a compelling reason as to why you are making such a late application, and you can prove at least 5 years permanent residence in France before the end of 2020.

Otherwise you will have to apply for a visa from the UK. This can be done online, but you must be in the UK for an interview, and they will keep your passport until a decision is made. You want to apply for VLS-TS Visa de Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour (Long-stay visa valid as a residence permit). This visa is for people who intend to become French residents.

Exact dates might be needed here to determine (a) whether you can prove you completed 5 full years’ legal residence between 2013 and 2018 (tax returns including the one showing the date you arrived and the last one showing the date you left?)and (b) whether you can demonstrate you were absent for no more than than 5 years ie the date in 2018 when you left to the date when you returned. If you can show these two things then as said it may be worth enquiring of your prefecture whether they would consider a late application for a warp card.

I am not sure what this bit means, what application are you talking about?

Who’s Daisy?

But yes, as Crabtree says, first try to convince the préfecture to allow you to make a late application for a WARP card. It is up to them whether they allow this or not as I don’t believe this was part of the withdrawal agreement. However if you can prepare a good dossier, with your avis d’impôt etc etc they might be persuaded.

Plan B would be to try to persuade the employer who was interested in you to apply for a work permit for you. With that you can get a visa. There is a process they will have to follow which includes advertIsing for a couple of weeks at pôle emploi.

And Plan C would be to prepare a business plan for being self employed teacher (?) which you will have to get approved by préfecture and can then use to apply for a visa.

You only have to return to the UK for the interview, but don’t overstay your 90 days as don’t want being an overstayer on your record.

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There is more than one way to go. For example if you have savings the visitor visa might be the fastest option and then you can convert this into a work visa if you’ve secured a job before the expiry of your visa (or set up a business). It’s much easier this way but not everyone meet the criteria for the visitor visa and there are a couple of catch obviously. It’s just an example to pin point what’s doable :wink: Knowing that the visa has to be secured in the UK and in person and knowing it takes 30 to 90 days to get it you may have to go back, at least for a little while but I know people who can help if you’d like?

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Not necessarily! Préfectures don’t have to deal with a change of status until the visa is up for renewal, so it would be a year with no working allowed.

Generally it is reported that people are getting their passports back about 2 weeks after interview. The slow part of the process is getting a date for the interview in the UK. .

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You cannot convert one type of visa into another type of visa. A visa is the stamp that is put in your passport to allow you to enter France. I think what mean is that you can enter France on a visitor visa and then later apply for a change of status. But the only way to get a different visa is go back to yourhome country and apply for one.
Call me pedantic but I think it is important to get the terminology right.

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Not necessarily! Préfectures don’t have to deal with a change of status until the visa is up for renewal, so it would be a year with no working allowed.

Not really, you are allowed to change the “reason for the stay” even during the first year and the visitor visa being the easiest to secure it is much easier when accessible :wink: Of course it depends on the person’s situation but you are not in jail you are allowed to change your mind and change the reason for the stay BEFORE the expiry of the visa (although you won’t be able to file the paperwork until the renewal at the prefecture indeed). EDIT: As I’ve seen the other comment I prefer to specify that it’s not really a renewal but rather a “residency permit” application at that stage but most will call this visa extension or visa renewal (me included). EDIT 2: When I say can you can change your “reason for the stay” there are limits obviously but you can come with a visitor visa and 3 months later setup as a micro entreprise but you’ll have to disclose that when you’re considering your visa renewal or extension and they probably won’t like it so you’ll be provided with either another visa (real visa not carte de séjour although technically VLS-TS stands for “valent titre de séjour” so yet another word confusion potentially) or a shorter term residency permit (1 year usually).

That’s why I was mentioning at least 30 days of delay (and please note you can’t apply if the intended arrival date is less than 30 days away).

Hope this helps?

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I don’t want to go into too much details and the wording can be confusing indeed. You are correct in saying a visa can’t be converted but it can’t be renewed either as it expires and it either “converted” into another type (visa with a different “type”) or is now “exchanged” for a residency permit. There are other situations but I’m trying to be as less confusing as possible and it’s a tricky endeavour so I’m making some shortcuts to avoid typing dozen of pages and losing everyone in the process :wink:

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It is quite simple. Meet the criteria and you change status. Nothing complicated. Not sure this helps the OP though?

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But that’s the sticking point. So many préfectures are very hard to get an appointment with, the online system is flawed, and once one has managed to get a dossier accepted there can be an endless wait.

Sounds great, just pop in to préfecture with new dossier full of all the justicatifs for your new business, and you will receive a récépissé and then a new CdS a few weeks later. Sadly the internet is full of people who have not had that experience.

100% correct, but odds of being accepted are of orders of magnitude better for a “business visa” for example compared to what you would experience should you do that from abroad. In both cases you’ll have to deal with annoying paperwork anyway so better do that in France where the odds are in your favour :wink:

I do not understand why you say this. Do you have statistics on refusal rates etc? As @blade46 and others have said, it is simply a question of meeting the criteria. I do not believe it is difficult to obtain a visa with work privileges from your home country, many many people of all nationalities seem to manage it quite easily. If the intention is to work in France it seems to me that arriving on a visa that does not allow work and then applying for a change of status is simplier a more complicated, lengthier and potentially far more frustrating way of achieving this, rather than obtaining the appropriate visa in thhe first place. And of course it creates more work for the French administrations which are already overloaded and ultimately, more delays all round.

This is the first time I have ever seen that said. Normally it is said that visas (stamps in the passport) cannot be issued from within the country.

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I think you’ll find that @fabien said that because it’s something that he’s dealing with on a daily basis and via multiple prefectures. In other words he has a handle on what is actually going on.


I’m closing this thread now as the OP got the info she needed and otherwise Fabien will have to spend the day replying. And he’s busy enough !