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I am currently in France for an internship. I have a long-stay visa that expires after seven months. I was under the impression that a long-stay visa was valid for a year though. I obtained my carte de sèjour (or a titre de séjour? I'm not sure what the difference is, but this is a sticker in my passport) in the correct time frame and that is all set now.

How long does the carte de séjour last? Does it expire the same day my visa does, or does the carte allow me to extend my visit? Namely, I was hoping to stay for 8 months, nothing longer than that. But of course I want to be out of the country by the correct date. I'm just confused about the information I've found.

  • What does the sticker say exactly? A carte de séjour is usually a separate document, a plastic card. – Gala May 16 '17 at 7:25
  • It doesn't have a title. In fact, maybe I was mistaken and it is not a carte or a titre. The consulate said I would have to register within three months of my arrival in France, so this is the result of that. It has my name, address, passport and visa numbers, and a stamp from the OFII – Leah Thomas May 16 '17 at 7:47
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    Oh, that… Indeed, it's not a titre de séjour, just a requirement for some long-stay visas. Your long-stay visa is your titre de séjour, you are only allowed to stay until the expiration of the visa, the OFII stamp does not change that. Depending on your citizenship, you may be allowed to stay for another 90 days under short-stay rules, as your long stay does not count toward that limit. – Gala May 16 '17 at 8:24
  • As a US citizen, I think I could stay. Would I have to leave the EU for say, a weekend, and come back though? – Leah Thomas May 16 '17 at 9:03
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A titre de séjour is literally something that allows you to stay in France. It's a legal concept and the title of a chapter in the Code de l'entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d'asile. A carte de séjour is a specific document and a type of titre de séjour but there are others, like the carte de résident. In practice, it will say “Titre de séjour” on the top of the document with the specific type down below, under the heading “Nature du titre”.

Roughly, a carte de séjour is a 1 to 3-year renewable residence permit and a carte de résident is a long-term or permanent residence permit but there are many different types of carte de séjour and a bunch of other special documents (autorisation provisoire de séjour, récépissé of an application or renewal of another document, etc.)

Once you have a carte de séjour, you don't need a visa anymore, the carte de séjour replaces it. Unlike the US for example, France does not require you to have a visa to (re)enter the country if you have a residence permit. Schengen countries also have similar rules and honour other Schengen residence permit so you can use your French residence permit to reenter through another country.

Typically, new residents enter France with a long-stay visa valid for one year and then secure a carte de séjour which they renew regularly. After that point, they don't need a visa anymore. But a long-stay visa need not be valid for one year, that's only the maximum. It can have any validity between three months (the threshold for short-stay visas) and one year.

In any case, the carte de séjour is valid until the date that's printed on it, unless the préfecture explicitely cancels it. Unlike many other countries, France does not have residence permits that implicitly lose their validity based on some external condition like losing your job. So the conclusion of all this is that you can have to go by the date printed on the last titre de séjour you got (whether it's a visa or card).

  • Okay, I was told the reason that I got the sticker was to register with the OFII that I was here. There's no date on it, so I assume that I need to stick with the date on my visa? – Leah Thomas May 16 '17 at 7:44
  • @LeahThomas Yes, that's correct, I edited my answer accordingly. – Gala May 16 '17 at 8:25
  • "unlike the US": that's mainly because the US doesn't have residence permits (unless you count the permanent residence card; permanent residents indeed do not need visas to enter). – phoog May 16 '17 at 8:51

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