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Living in France: Renewing My Carte de Sejour Mid-COVID

Renewing my Carte de Sejour mid-COVID was a task I dreaded. Truthfully, renewing my Carte de Sejour is a headache at any time. But it’s the only way I can continue living in France.

The Prefecture appointment to update my Carte de Sejour was last week. The time spent worrying about it was not wasted. Compiling the dozier was agony. The restrictions for COVID didn’t help.

Renewing My Carte de Sejour Mid-COVID

My appointment at the Prefecture in Nîmes was at 8:45 am. That meant that I had to leave Uzès very early. Harriet from Renestance in Montpelier had met me there even earlier. As in years past, Renestance has helped with the paperwork, translations, and the in-person interview, which is in French. This year, my request for a 10-year CDS meant more paperwork. More requirements.

Here is this year’s list of documents for 1-year CDS renewal in the Gard. Requirements may vary by region and by your individual circumstances.

  • Current Carte de Sejour copy front and back
  • Copy of passport: Identity page (photo page), Visa pages
  • Copy of birth certificate (with a certified translation)
  • Copy of marriage license (with a certified translation)
  • Divorce (copy and translations)
  • Proof of residence (no more than 6 months old)
  • 3 recent photos (format 35 mm x 45 mm )
  • Proof of Financial Resources
    – French Bank Statements – most recent 3 months
    – Foreign Pension Statements (certified translation)
  • Movement of Funds to France 2019
  • French Taxes (as many years as you can gather)
  • Proof of Medical Insurance – copy of Carte Vitale (front and back)
  • Application form
  • A handwritten letter :
    Je sousigné BINE Deborah, atteste sur l’honneur de n’exercer aucune activité professionnelle en France.    Fait à (your address), le (date), signature

Additional information required for a 10-year CDS

  • Health card (Carte Vitale) and complementary insurance certificate (private “top off” insurance)
  • Housing taxes for the years 2018 – 2015
  • Income tax notices for the years 2018 – 2015
  • Level A2 certificate in French

The COVID “Zinger”

Some observant readers might have noticed the requirement for a “Level A2 certificate in French.”  If you remember my issues with learning the French language, it should make you gasp. Fortunately, by attending French classes at IS-AIX-en-Provence a couple of years ago, I somehow qualified for a Level A2 certification.

“Can understand isolated sentences and frequently used expressions relating to immediate areas of priority (e.g., simple personal and family information, shopping, immediate environment, work). Can communicate in simple, routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe with simple means his training, his immediate environment, and evoke subjects corresponding to immediate needs.”

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Nevertheless, I was counting on Harriet to come in with me for the interview to help translate. A conversation with an agent at the Prefecture goes beyond a  “simple and direct exchange of information.”

Due to COVID restrictions, Harriet was not allowed to accompany me. I was on my own.

All I can say is that I survived. Actually, I surprised myself. I understood most of the questions the agent threw at me. Even when she asked about my language proficiency. I pulled out the A2 certificate right on cue. Apparently, she was surprised to see me hand it over to her. My poor speaking skills had convinced her I didn’t understand a word she said. So when I presented the certificate, she showed it to another agent — perhaps to prove it was authentic. Not to be outdone, she asked for the “attestation” for my Carte Vitale. It was not on the list.

So it’s back to the Prefecture next week to add the Carte Vitale “attestation” to my dozier. Meanwhile, life goes on. I may receive a 10-year Carte de Sejour when they call me back to pick it up … I may not.

Stay tuned …

Statue in front of Nîmes Arena (Circa 70 AD)


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