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CDS Artical 1st March 2004


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Its a bit long this, I scanned it in so forgive the OCR errors but it seems we have all been wrong about a few things (exactly when the law was passed for example 26th Nov 2003 effective 1st Jan 2004) but in some cases backs up what others have said about it being a easy type of ID. I thought the bits on the second reading of new EU law interesting as it the bit on new EU member states. There is also a good artical at http://www.frenchentree.com/fe-lavie/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=693

Anyway enough of that on to the artical, it's long.

Daily Telegraph's Expat newspaper

It's au revoir to residence permits
By Annette Gartland
(Filed: 01/03/2004)

A huge weight has just been lifted off my shoulders. Under new French law, EU nationals are no longer obliged to have a residence permit to live in France. For me, with yet another one-year permit about to run out, that means a lot less paperwork to grapple with in the coming weeks.

Anyone who lives in France will tell you that the food and wine are great, and the countryside is gorgeous, but the bureaucracy can make you weep.

Obtaining a residence permit, or carte de sejour, hasn't been particularly difficult for people coming to France to retire. For those who own property, and have plenty of money in the bank, getting a carte de sejour has been fairly straightforward. If you have a full-time contract with a French employer, there's been no problem either.

For a freelance journalist like myself, with erratic earnings, and numerous employers in different countries, things haven't been quite so simple.

At the local town hall, I'd be told I didn't really need a carte de sejour, so why was I getting into a flap about it, but various administrative offices were asking me to produce one and one employer even insisted on seeing my carte de sejour before I could be paid. It was a classic vicious circle: I was told I couldn't renew my social security cover without a carte de sejour and I couldn't get the carte de sejour without social security cover. I won out eventually, and got my cover, but I had to be persistent.

Since I first applied for a carte de sejour four years ago, I've had three one-year ones and, each time, I've had hassle getting the paperwork together. You can take half your filing cabinet with you, but someone will always ask for the one document you left at home, or refuse to accept something because it's written in English.

Last year I argued, to no avail, that I was fed up reapplying every year and should now be given a carte de sejour for five years. I really did live and work here, I grumbled. I might not be wealthy, but I paid into the social security system and was eligible for local taxes. Other people I knew fiddled around with their bank accounts to look well off, and were given a five-year carte de sejour, no problem. Some pretended they had jobs here when they didn't, and got 10-year permits.

All this palaver should finally be a thing of the past, as long as you don't live in a backwoods where news of the new legislation hasn't filtered through. A spokeswoman for the British consulate-general in Marseilles says it can take time for such information to get through to everybody. Even though the law is clear, there might be some places where cartes de sejour are still being asked for.

"Officially, EU nationals never needed a carte de sejour for working. It was always a residence permit, not a work permit, even though it was sometimes looked upon that way. Temping agencies were always asking for it."

Previously, EU nationals were supposed to apply for a carte de sejour once they had been in France for more than three months, but the whole issue has long been steeped in confusion. Many Europeans have lived and worked here for years without ever having a residence permit, but others would prefer to keep one.

I find it useful to carry around in case I need proof of identity, so that I can leave my passport at home," says Sally Vincent, a former software engineer who retired to the Languedoc.

Paul Herbert, who lives in the Dordogne and provides information about holiday accommodation via his company France One Call, also finds the carte de sejour useful as ID. "It gives me a certain degree of security as a resident of France. It proves that you have actually been living here for a period of time and that you are then entitled to certain benefits."

Mr Herbert does, though, find France's bureaucracy maddening. "I can remember trying to register with the Chamber of Commerce. I couldn't until I'd got the carte de sejour. When I tried to get my carte de sejour, I couldn't because I wasn't registered with the Chamber of Commerce."
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Well if the British Consulate can't put pressure on the Prefectures.....the Ministre de l'Interior can. And the Consulate should perhaps lean on the Ministre. The law does say that cards should be issued to whoever wants them, if they qualify.

And it was someone who deals with this at the Ministre de l'Interior who told me that......and not to hesitate to contact them if I had any problems.

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  • 2 months later...
Yes, but I bake my own bread anyway. It is just I really do like the odd sliced loaf.... in fact I really enjoy it.

And our local artisanal boulangeries, well, there are three here and I am loathe to purchase from any of them. One used to be very good, but has gone right down the nick. I actually think that the flutes and baguettes were better years ago.
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