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Applying for French residency

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Just to update you on my plans should Brexit turn sour. I have taken the first step to acquire dual nationality by doing, this afternoon, the French language test. I'll have to wait 3 or 4 weeks for t

I had my appointment at the Prefecture yesterday to sort out my residency card. It was fairly painless as I'd prepared a stack of documents a foot high just in case. They were in fact able to reactiva

No, getting to that level of integration in French society takes years of practice, Olympic-levels of bloody-mindedness, a complete disregard for civilised behaviour, and probably some dodgy handshake

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It's supposed to be a ten-year residency card but will see if that changes due to outcome of the Brexit process. As to the advantage. It's a quick process, certainly quicker than citizenship which can take a couple of years apparently. I'll probably start that process in the summer seeing as I did the French language test last December and that's valid for 2 years. Ed

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14 minutes ago, Paully said:

Many Congratulations....The boy done well🤣....does this now give you membership of your village Jilet Jaune chapter?

No, getting to that level of integration in French society takes years of practice, Olympic-levels of bloody-mindedness, a complete disregard for civilised behaviour, and probably some dodgy handshakes too. I'm nowhere near that yet. Ed. 

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1 hour ago, colin said:

And we don't get nice friendly letters …. just a text message! You clearly are highly regarded....

There appears to be absolutely no standard system in place for these cards. Each prefecture does exactly what they want. I was aiming for a one-year card but she said a ten-year card would be more appropriate. But what I actually get might be a temporary one that can then be exchanged for whatever they deem appropriate post-Brexit. I'll keep you posted. Ed. 

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Down here in the Gard, residency applications are being returned, with the Prefecture basically saying “We’ll deal with applications when we all know precisely what’s happening”.

That seems sensible to me - probably the 1st time ever that they’ve been sensible!  It doesn’t bother me since I’d already decided not to bother until I knew what was going to happen.



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We moved to France in summer of 2016 and applied for our residency card last autumn. They are valid for one year from end-November, the date on which our completed applications – with all correct docs – were officially submitted to the Prefecture here in Caen. This is the Carte de Sejour Citoyen EU. A friend who has recently been issued a similar card elsewhere was told by the official handing it over that when it expires he would qualify for a new CdS "Etrangère Britannique", although exact details and indeed name were "waiting for Madame May".

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  • 1 month later...

I just picked up my Residency Card and it's valid for ten years/until Brexit is decided (delete as applicable). The woman called me up early for my appointment so luckily I was there ahead of time. I suspect she was in a rush to get off on holiday! She said they would 'be in touch' once everything was sorted out and I'd get something Brexit-specific down the line. Ed. 

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  • 1 year later...

Had to look back more than 2 years to find the (fairly) relevant topic. Moving on from residency now to citizenship.

We are on the point of submitting our dossiers for French “naturalisation” (nationality / citizenship). Thankfully, we have a magic adviser / friend helping us avoid cock ups.

Since August 11th, even us decrepit over 60s have to pass a language exam. My wife with MS, unable to write more than a couple of lines without a rest, and with poor concentration, has obtained a medical exemption. She has zero problem communicating and is involved in all sorts of activities, so we have no hesitation in accepting this route.

For me, ah well, back to school. The last exam I sat was my VHF operators’ licence about 30 years ago. Seems my MA Honours in French from St Andrews Uni and a post grad diploma in European Marketing and Languages don’t wash, and, in truth, at uni, many of the big cheese profs could not teach in French ….

Various qualifications are accepted, such as TCF, TLF and DELF to level B1. The Alliance Française in St Malo has quarterly exams for DELF, so I signed up, 150€ total. The DELF exam is explained in French on the link below.
If you can’t cope with this in French, …. well you might want to take lessons? The Alliance Française can help!
Essentially it is in 4 sections, Oral Comprehension, Written Comprehension, Written Proficiency and Oral Proficiency. We had the first 3 in a 2 hour morning session with 11 candidates, and 15 minutes one to one (well, there were two of them …) individually in the afternoon. Well organised, efficient, and friendly. If anyone wants to go into detail, don’t hesitate to PM me. A couple of useful links below, totally back to learning how to pass exams. Understand what they expect in your answers and you have scooped up a bunch of free marks.


I passed …. Only got 93% though. I blame the stupid questions ….

We have over a dozen letters of support from 2 Maires, one former Maire, Presidents of 4 Clubs or Associations and others from “the right people”. We also have a side door support via well placed officials who shall remain anonymous.

Birth Certificates for our 2 sons was easy. Birth Certificates was more complicated, and worse due to lock downs, with Scotland, Northern Ireland and England being involved. Helpful websites and individuals saw us win through. You need originals or certified copies of these documents. Parents marriage and death certificates can be added, but not compulsory, and copies accepted.

Criminal Record checks from UK Police done online.

Then of course a small mountain of photocopies showing bank accounts, tax situation etc to prove we are not going to be immediate financial burdens on any already overburdened state. Thankfully much of what we put together for our Titres de Séjour 2 years ago can be re-used.

Nearly there ….

DELF Certificate.pdf

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53 minutes ago, David Williams said:

Very impressive result, I probably would not get that for an English exam.

I remember failing my English Oral O level as all the examiner wanted to speak about was football and I was not interested !

I would have sod all excuse for doing worse .... For someone who has spoken French most of his life, studied French language and litterature at a high level, worked 6 months on a bl**dy great file on the Renault 12 stub axle carrier production line, and uses it daily, as well as writing in English, French and even German most days, an exam aimed at verifying that I can "cope" was, thankfully, a formality.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Congrats obviously to Colin, who has obviously done his homework in more ways than one!

My spoken French has struggled in the last 12 months, which has mostly been spent either in hospital or housebound / medical confinement. Vocab tends to suffer when for months almost the only French folk you talk to are nurses / doctors and the kiné. 

I think being ill has also slowed down my brain (not surprising after >3 months with no solid food); I'm mostly fine with the more popular news websites in the mornings (Ouest-France, Actu/Liberté etc) but I struggle with Le Monde and find myself clicking on DeepL when it comes to the more serious in-depth stuff. Scary, when I think that 40 years ago in Brussels I was reading EC documents in their original French and earning my living in a mainly French-speaking environment.

My plan for the autumn of this year was to get out and about more to resume normal conversation as I was feeling better, but the latest Confinement has put paid to that. So meanwhile it's a case of work on the written French and watch more French TV.

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