They gave me a short-stay visa... but I need a carte de séjour
September 7, 2012 11:36 AM   Subscribe

The French consulate in Toronto gave me a three-month visa, but I was planning on staying for 9 months to a year. I don't know why they gave me a three-month visa when I clearly stated I was planning on leaving in June, but someone just told me I can't apply for a carte de séjour with a three-month visa. HELP!

I am in France now. I had no idea of this rule, the people at the international students' office did say that it was weird that I only had a three-month visa, but they didn't seem concerned. I was just having a drink with a guy I know here and he said you can only apply for the carte de séjour with a long-stay visa:

A carte de séjour (CDS) or titre de séjour is an official residency card in France. You must have a long-stay visa (Type D) in order to receive a CDS. There is a new law that states you cannot move to France and obtain a CDS without a long-stay visa even if you are married to a French citizen (either before or after entering France.) This law went into effect a few years ago, and not very many people know about it. So do not come to France with the intention of obtaining a CDS without a visa, unless you don't mind wasting money on a plane ticket to go back home just to get a visa.


Obviously I am emailing both the consulate in Toronto and the international students' office here, but since it's Friday, I don't expect a reply from them soon.

Canada and France have some kind of agreement (Visa 2B) so it might be different, but at the moment I have no fucking idea what's going on, why they gave me a 3 month visa and what the hell I do now.
posted by kansakwens to Travel & Transportation around France (6 answers total)
First of all, you should be talking to the Canadian embassy in France.

It sounds like they should have given you a student visa.

I went through this, although as an American.

There are different kinds of visas--what kind did they give you? I don't know what a "three-month visa" is. Three months is the maximum Americans are supposed to stay as a tourist (no visa necessary), but I can't imagine that Canadians need a visa for France just to be a tourist.

Are you a student? When I applied for my student visa I needed to provide my acceptance letter from the French university, proof that I could pay for myself while there without taking jobs from French people, etc. One usually needs some justification to stay longer than the tourists' three months--a job, a place in a school, an au pair gig.

Again, all this is as an American and Canada and France may have some kind of other arrangement.

I don't think France will allow you to change your visa status while in France. You might have to return to Canada, or at least go to another country's Canadian embassy and then re-enter France. But I'm sorry to say that my money's on having to go back to Canada.
posted by thebazilist at 11:48 AM on September 7, 2012

Response by poster: They gave me a visa type D, but on the bottom it says Echenges de jeunes/Canada

I did the whole application, including all the stuff you mentioned. This is the one I applied for:

Under Échanges inter-universitaire, where it clearly says the maximum stay is 12 months.
posted by kansakwens at 11:53 AM on September 7, 2012

Response by poster: I think I found the answer. In this document, the only visa that matches mine is ONLY given to Canadian students. It USED to be given to other people, but it seems that for some reason, France and Canada have come to an agreement wherein they issue this old visa, and it is good for applying for the carte de séjour (so says the French consulate in Toronto, who I just emailed, and they actually got back to me right away).
posted by kansakwens at 12:10 PM on September 7, 2012

Response by poster: Indeed, my visa says on the bottom "carte de séjour à solliciter dans les deux mois suivant l'arrivée''
posted by kansakwens at 12:25 PM on September 7, 2012

...who I just emailed, and they actually got back to me right away...

I see you got your answer, but I wanted to add: even once you get to France, keep doing your emails! The best way to get in touch with the Prefecture de Police (the people who do the carte de sejour) and other government agents in France is email. Apparently there is a law that requires them to reply and limits the time that they have to do it. Email, email email!
posted by whatzit at 1:12 PM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just a quick note, when I was in France (2003-2005), everything was paper-based (no computers). If one town turned you down for a carte de sejour, some people would (ahem) just go to a different one that was more friendly to get the result they wanted.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:33 PM on September 7, 2012

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