As part of my 2C visa (student internship visa), I needed to apply for something called the Carte de Séjour (CDS), or the “residence permit”. The CDS is needed if you’re staying in France longer than 6 months, as the 2C visa only lasts 3 months, after which the CDS covers the duration of the internship. What an adventure the last couple months have been! While there are resources online about getting a CDS, information for a Canadian student living in Paris and interning in France was scant.
2B and 2C Visa Warning
You can only start working on a 2C visa and you cannot work while on a 2B student exchange visa. The 2B visa lasts for 6 months and cannot be cancelled, which means starting an internship immediately after the school semester ends (4-5 months) isn’t possible.
2C/Resident Permit Application Process
Step 1: 2C Visa – The 2C visa only lasts 3 months so a residence permit is needed cover the rest of the internship. You’re supposed to apply within 2 months of entering France for the residence permit.
Step 2: Residence Permit – Récépissé- Many people apply for a residence permit so you’re given a “récépissé”, which is a temporary residence permit that covers you until your actual residence permit application. The wait for the actual appointment is months.
Step 3: Residence Permit – Actual – After successfully applying for a residence permit it takes an additional 6 – 8 weeks to manufacture the permit.
Fun. This meant:
- Visiting 4 different offices
- Being mistaken for as a full-time student in France, thus being sent to the different (and wrong) offices
- Being told I had to apply in person a month after being told I could – and did – apply by mail
- A lot of this
- Vague requirements with nothing put in writing
In the end, I visited the central Préfecture and submitted these documents:
Hôtel de Police
114/116 avenue du Maine
Tip: Go in the afternoon when it’s less busy
Documents submitted for the residence permit récépissé:
- Passport with 2C visa
- Lease contract in French (or a housing attestation in French + copy of ID card of person who’s accommodating you + original electricity bill with the landlord’s name)
- Original birth certificate with full parent’s names/birth places + copy of the birth certificate translated into French. Contact the French consulate for a certified translator to translate these documents
- Internship contracts in English and French (also used for the 2C)
- 4 photos (35mm x 45mm)
Note: Requirements differ by city