This post was most recently updated on March 1st, 2021
Renewing my VLS-TS for the first time
I thought I was all fine and dandy to renew my VLS-TS for the first time in good timing, but I was completely wrong.
It is certainly not clear where you need to go to, what you need to do, or who you need to communicate with. There’s no email, no phone call, no text reminding you your permit is about to expire. You have been dropped off and left at the front door and told “have a good time!”
But have no fear ! There is no need to go into panic mode ! You can find a good point in the right direction with just a little bit of research. I started with expat groups on Facebook.
I list a bunch more groups on this post I wrote about things I learned once having moved to France.
Thanks to the following Facebook groups that I was able to put two and two together to figure out where I needed to go to renew my VLS-TS :
- Expatriates In Paris and Suburbs
- America Expats in Paris
- Americans Living in France
- Strictly Legal France
First thing you need to do is a proper search in the group of your intended subject before you make your post. It’s only following the rules. Second, take the time to do your research and reading. You may have to weed through posts to find the answers you’re looking for.
Where Do I begin?
So I remembered somewhere, someone saying that the visa renewal was done through la préfecutre de la police. Since I live in the 1st, I figured I’d take a crack at that because why not? I started with a classic web browser search. The first hit sends you directly to the page where you need to make your demand online. I’ll take you through from the beginning.
Navigating the actual site is a little intimidating at first, but if you look for some keywords that will help you along the way: Particulier, ressortissants étrangers, titre de séjour, ressortissants non-européens, démarches. Don’t let all the text scare you, it’s easier than you think!
The home page for la préfecture de police is pretty straight forward. At the very top, there is a banner that is called Démarches & Services (procedures and services). You simply need to click on the link that is Réssortissants Étrangners (foreign nationals).
When you click on the link, it will take you to another page. Consider this the homepage for foreigners within the Préfecture’s website. The menu list to the left under Particulier will drop down the full menu for ressortissants étrangers. You’ll want to click on the Les titres séjour – ressortissants non européens.
Once you click on the link, you will be directed to yet another webpage that gives several examples of different situations. You’re looking for the link that will take you to the information for renewing your permit. (hint, it’s n°5).
When you find the link and click on it, it will take you farther down the page where it goes into a little bit more description of this specific step. Because there are several different types of the VLS-TS, you need to pay attention to which suits your case. If you’re here on the VLS-TS VPF like me, you’re parts of the “other types”.
There are two things you need to do: 1. print out the form Fiche ETR and fill it out in black ink. 2. click on the rendez-vous link to schedule your appointment to submit your paperwork.
NOTE: The paperwork I received with my visa at the beginning of the year said that I should apply for my renewal appointment within two months of the expiration date of my visa. I did not think to check sooner, but it says under the title Vous souhaitez renouveler votre titre de séjour that you should start this process 4 to 5 months before the end of your visa. My visa expires 3/3/21, I applied on 25/11/20. I feel I should have started this process at the end of September / beginning of October. I think I would have gotten a much earlier appointment .
Scheduling your Appointment
Now that you’ve figured out where you’ll be making your appointment, it’s time to get to work !
When you click on the link to schedule your appointment, you’ll be taken to an online portal that will ask you for some various information.
NOTE: the n° de votre titre de séjour is the number that you are given on the confirmation form of the validation of your visa. This number will follow you on all your French administrative endeavors.
I got hung up at this part. I did not realize that they were not asking for my actual visa number, but the 10-digit number that was assigned to me when I validated my visa after arriving in Paris. This number is known as your AGDREF, application de gestion des ressortissants étrangers en France, the management applicaiton of foreign nationals in France. I guess I would consider this the French equivalent of my American Social Security number. This is the number that will follow me for all of my French governmental administrative procedures. I was not asked for this when I opened my bank account at La Poste; it was included in the paperwork that I sent in to apply for l’assurance maladie.
Once you have been found in the system, you will be asked for further information.
You will need to input your AGDREF number again, as well as your date of birth, the expiration date of your visa, nationality and the arrondisement (if in Paris) that you reside in. I recommend downloading the link, CST1, at the top of the page. This is a 2-page document that lists all the items that you need to bring with you to your appointment.
When you click envoyer (send), you will be directed to the next step, where you will be given a list of dates and times for your appointment. Choose which ever works for you. I thank my lucky stars that my appointment is 7 days before my visa expires. I wasn’t planning on doing it that close to the date, but I didn’t think to check sooner. See NOTE above. I despise leaving things to the last minute and knowing how things can go when dealing with French Administration, I do not want to risk my chances. Here’s to hoping all is well.
Once you have selected your date and time for your appointment, you need to fill in the recaptcha code and you will be taken to a final screen that will confirm your appointment choice as well as supply the address of your appointment. There is also a link to print off your convocation (I’m sensing a theme with these convocations), a link to download the form that lists all the documents you need to bring with you and an option to cancel your appointment.
Now, I wait.
I’ll print off all the documents closer to the day and triple and quadruple check that I have all the documents necessary. If anything, I’ll be over prepared. In the times of Covid, I’ll make sure that I am there no more than 30 minutes in advance. Most places are not letting you in any earlier than that.
Here’s to hoping that all goes well and I’ll receive my récipissée with no hiccups.
Stay tuned for a follow-up post about how the process went!