Renewing Your Carte de Sejour in Lyon

Expect immigration to tell you to come back in the middle of the night & wait in line for 7.5hrs outside with your newborn in a dangerous neighborhood, so that you might be able to get a ticket that will let you wait inside. Once inside, you might be seen by someone who has no idea what they're talking about before 1 p.m. and they'll let you know if you brought the right documents.

Note: Every single person working with immigration will interpret what counts as an acceptable document differently.

I feel like the stick figure on this sign today. What the heck?!

They'll probably say you haven't and make you start the process all over again the next day.

After chatting with other expats/immigrants, we've come to the conclusion that you should expect to go through this at least 3 times - every single year. This year it took us 4 tries, and it's the third year we've been through this!

Tips for Getting Through

• Start waiting in line at 3 a.m.
Laurent showed up at 3 in the morning the day we were finally accepted, and we were one of the last families to get a ticket for the day. All the people who had shown up after 3:30am? They were rejected. It was Tuesday, and the Prefecture doesn't even open until 8:30. We then had to wait until 11am before being seen, just so we could drop off the documents.

• Bring copies of absolutely everything
If one stamped page of your passport is missing they can refuse they whole thing.

• Bring documents, with copies, that they haven't even asked for.
Ex: Fiche de paie (for both of you), your birth certificates, your renting contract, a bank statement, etc. If it has both of your names and/or your current address, you'll probably need it.

• Save up a few vacation days
You and possibly every member of your family (depending on the Titre de Séjour that your asking for) will need to take the entire day off school or work to wait in line with you. It's best to plan ahead.


Thank heavens it's over for this year!

But before you think I don't enjoy being an expat, make sure you check out the post I wrote over on Amberly's blog today! It's all about the perks of being married to a Frenchman. ;)

Happy Wednesday Friends!


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