I recently completed the process to renew my long-stay visa at the Paris Préfecture on September 8. Less than two months later, on October 23, I received a text message from the number 38656 that my Titre de Séjour was ready to be picked up!

You can select a time that works for you on this French government website.

The message informed me that I needed to pay 225€ in tax. It also gave me a date and time during which I could pick up my CDS as well as what I needed to bring. My time slot was scheduled for November 18, about three and a half weeks later.

Note: Titre de Séjour (TDS) and Carte de Séjour (CDS) can be used interchangeably. They mean the same thing – your French residence permit!

If you’re new here, I’m an American living in Paris and sharing everything I learn about how to navigate French bureaucracy and legally live in this beautiful country.

Paying the Tax

You can easily pay the Visa tax online. I did it using my American credit card. Once you pay the tax, you’ll get a barcode which you need to show at your appointment. 

It’s a bit of a clunky online system but the gist of it goes:

  1. Click “Débuter l’achat”
  2. Select “Titre pour étrangers”
  3. Enter the amount
  4. Click “Valider”
  5. Make the Payment and Enter Your Email
  6. Save the Receipt!
French Visa Tax Proof_Timbres Electronique_IMG_3304

What to Bring

My text message said I needed to bring my passport, my récépissé, my current Carte de Séjour (for me, just the stamp in my passport), and the “Timbres” which prove I paid the tax. 

Picking Up the Card

I arrived at the Préfecture right at the beginning of my noted time slot. They let me through and I made my way to the same outdoor hallway I visited when renewing my visa a few months prior.

How To Pick Up Your Carte De Sejour From The Paris Prefecture_IMG_3302
More leaves on the ground this time around!

After waiting in line for about 15 minutes, I walked up to the window and told the woman my name. She asked me to show her the barcode with my tax. I did so and she gave me a ticket to wait to speak to one of the employees. 

Waiting In Line To Pick Up My Titre De Sejour From The Paris Prefecture
So glamorous

A minute later, my number was called. I sat down at the same kind of little counter that I went to when submitting my renewal application. 

I again gave my name and showed my tax before getting my little Carte de Séjour! 

It is much smaller than I thought, only the size of my credit card which fits nicely in my wallet! For some reason, I thought they were bigger, but alas, they’re quite small and practical. 

The woman asked me to verify that my name, address, and birthday were all correct. I did so and was out the door! 

The entire process took around 20 minutes, much faster than the last time I was at the Préfecture!

I hope your pick-up process goes as smoothly as mine! I recommend taking photos of your card right away in case you lose it! Bonne chance

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  1. I have received notification to pick up my renewal visa; however, I am having trouble securing an appointment with the prefecture. I an unable to get any timeslot. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!

  2. Does a visa that has been renewed (as described in this article) need to be validated once they hand you the little card? You don’t mention it and I can’t find anything on line about it. Thanks!

  3. Hello could you tell me how you didn’t have to have full private medical insurance for the VLS-TS ..I didn’t think that the schengen travel insurance was acceptable? Im currently paying nearly £200 English pounds. month so would love to save some money if the Schengen Insurance is acceptable.

  4. I read here that you are a photographer based here in Paris. So am I! But it is my understanding that I cannot do anything related to photography here in France that might be considered “work” since my visa is an “I’m not working!” visa! All I want to do is sell my photos — online, pop-ups and art festivals. Is your visa different so that it allows you to do photo work? WOuld love to find a way!!!

    1. Hello! No I did not work while on my visa. You would need to get either a “passport talent” or a “profession libérale” visa in order to sell photos in France! Good luck!

  5. Hi,
    Thank you for your helpful info.
    The day you went to the prefecture for the interview (give documents), do they ask you why you(us) want to continue the stay in France?
    I am very worried about this, wonder what to say if asked?
    Thsnk you

  6. Hi there!

    My name is Ashley and I just moved to Paris to be with my French husband in November and received my visa long séjour (in my passport). I have paid my tax but have heard nothing from any OFII office or prefecture to meet for my carte de séjour or formation (civic and langauge classes). Emailing the OFII office doesnt get anywhere and the same for the prefecture – do you have any advice on what to do? The process so far has not been straightforward in what is to come next – they said they would contact me but it has not happened so far. I really appreciate any advice or help!

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