So the Prefecture Denied Your Renewal...

I'm an optimistic pessimist. Granted that optimism is solely inherent to me being an American, not through any fault of my own. It's kind of hard to grow up in America and not have a little sliver of it. Like most good little pessimists I "prepare for the worst and hope for the best". 

I've never actually met anyone who has been denied a renewal of their residency permit (carte de sejour), but it's not like it can't happen. There is always a chance when you submit your application that things may not go well. Since I didn't have any experience of this happening, and didn't have any second hand knowledge of it, I wanted to learn what actually happens when the Prefecture tells you no. If you think about it how does one uproot their entire lives with little notice? You don't plan on it so when the hammer comes down what does the process entail?

Most of my research took me to sites from UK Nationals who were kicked out after Brexit. The rules may be different for Americans, but this is what I could find...

@ myeyl posted this on Twitter 😟

Turns out it's not an immediate thing. You aren't just given walking papers and expected to leave the next day (in some extreme circumstance you are given 48 hour notice). The Prefecture at some point will send you a written notice (Obligation de Quitter la Territorie Francais) and then this officially starts your 30 day countdown. 

Before this official request for you to vacate the country you have 3 options of recourse. The first option is to appeal directly to the Prefecture. This process is known as recours gracieux. It's your wrriten request to ask the Prefecture to reconsider your application. You must have a genuine reason for why you believe their decison was incorrect. Bonus points if you can cite a law. Here is a handy template from SOLVIT: Recours Gracieux Template

Your next step after that is the write an appeal to the Interior Minister. This is known as recours hierarchique. This would be an appeal based on a rule you think the Prefecture overlooked in your situation. You may use the above template for this as well.

If you have already received the request to leave then your only option is recours contentieux. This can only be filed by an immigration lawyer.  It needs to be filed within two months of your application being denied. 

If none of those options works, and you are asked to leave, you can always go back home and apply for a new visa. Remember visas can only be obtained in your home country. You will never be able to obtain one in France.

I guess just try to remember that living in France is a privilege and not a right. Anytime you submit your application there is always a chance things can go south. If they do, you have options. 

More information can be found here: