Category Archives: Visa

Getting a Residence Permit (Carte de Séjour) in France

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.

French Administration

Fun. This meant:

  1. Visiting 4 different offices
  2. Being mistaken for as a full-time student in France, thus being sent to the different (and wrong) offices
  3. Being told I had to apply in person a month after being told I could – and did – apply by mail
  4. A lot of this
  5. Vague requirements with nothing put in writing

In the end, I visited the central Préfecture and submitted these documents:

Central Préfecture

Hôtel de Police
114/116 avenue du Maine
75014 PARIS

Tip: Go in the afternoon when it’s less busy

Documents submitted for the residence permit récépissé:

  1. Passport with 2C visa
  2. 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)
  3. 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
  4. Internship contracts in English and French (also used for the 2C)
  5. 4 photos (35mm x 45mm)

Note: Requirements differ by city



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Filed under Career, Pre-Departure, Visa

The French Visa – Part 1

Campus France

The first step after getting accepted by SFU International is setting up a profile on Campusfrance (CF).

After filling out your personal details, I contacted the Vancouver CF coordinator to help me fill out the rest of the application. CF is like SFU International, where your exchange school has to “approve” your application. The Vancouver CF coordinator emailed me a confirmation letter I needed for the Visa when ESCP Europe accepted me on CF.

The Visa Application

The Campusfrance coordinator recommended that I apply for the 2B Visa.

Some notes about the 2B Visa:

  • The numbering on the translations page does not correspond with the application form. Get it checked!
  • The required 35x45mm photos are not the same size as Canadian passport photos
  • You need a letter from the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) (not an insurance provider, e.g. Sunlife) stating you have provincial medical coverage
  • SFU Health plan covers additional travel insurance (as of Dec 24, 2010)

After completing the application I booked an appointment with the French Consulate in Vancouver here. They issued the Visa the same day so my advice is to book an appointment early to have enough time to get missing items. I also did not have to pay for the visa, which I’m assuming was subsidized.

Part 2: In addition to this visa, once you’re in Paris and living here you need to go through another application for the “Carte de séjour” or the “Titres de séjour”, which is a residence permit. More on this later..

Update: If you get the 2B visa, you do not need to get a Carte de séjour.

Update 2 (August 2011): It looks like the Campusfrance registration is no longer required making it even easier to get a Visa!

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Filed under Administrative, Pre-Departure, Visa