How I Got a Carte de Séjour Salarié: Part 3 (Or Renewing a TDS During a Pandemic)


APRIL 2021 UPDATE: As of April 1st 2021, the process to sponsor a foreigner for a work permit has changed. Previously processed through the DIRECCTE, as of April 6th companies need to apply via a new online service, with the request being treated by the company’s local prefecture. How they make their decision has also changed, as they now take into account the unemployment rate for that occupation in that geographical area, among other criteria. I don’t know if it’ll make the process simpler or more difficult. For more information, visit the service public page or read the official decree. I’m keeping up my blog posts unaltered in case some information may still be relevant but please keep in mind this is no longer exactly how things are done. This concerns Part 1 of the series in particular – as far as I’m aware, the steps related to VFS & OFII (Part 2) and applying for a CDS at the prefecture (Part 3) have not changed.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer or an immigration expert, and I cannot promise that following my advice will guarantee you a work permit in France. I am just sharing my own experience. There are many variables involved that will influence whether or not you’d be approved to get a carte de séjour salarié

Over a year ago, I published the second instalment of my three-part series on how to get an elusive carte de séjour salarié. While I intended to publish the third part in March 2020, shortly after my prefecture appointment, this was delayed – like many things – by the pandemic.

With the prefectures closed to the public during the confinement, my rendez-vous was promptly cancelled, the Prefecture de Paris updating an FAQ on their website every few weeks regarding what the next steps would be. During this time, my rights to live and work in France were thankfully protected by an emergency decree that extended the visas of those who had expiring documents by three, then six months.

Months later, my appointment has come and gone and I’m now waiting for an SMS to go and pick up my card. While my path to this ended up being a bit out of the ordinary, I decided to complete this series all the same, as renewing during a pandemic or not I believe this information could be helpful to others!

Step-by-Step Process to Getting a Carte de Séjour Salarié

In my first post on this subject, I covered points 1-5 of the following list of the necessary steps to take to get salarié status. I covered steps 6-10 in the second part. The remainder will be covered in this third final part:

  1. Find a company who is willing to sponsor you,
  2. Have the company advertise the job on Pôle d’Emploi or another job posting organism for 2-6 weeks (the longer, the better),
  3. Together with them, put together a dossier to send to the DIRECCTE, that presents you as a foreign candidate that they’d like to hire,
  4. Wait for a response from the DIRECCTE. If approved, it will be sent to OFII.
  5. OFII will transmit your papers to your local embassy,
  6. Your local embassy will contact you to make an appointment to receive your visa,
  7. You will receive a temporary work visa, which allows you to enter France and begin work,
  8. You will need to register with OFII upon your arrival,
  9. Undergo a medical control, after which you will receive a certificate,
  10. Do a personal interview with OFII and attend civic classes,
  11. Once you have all your OFII documents, you can make an appointment at your local préfecture to request a carte de séjour salarié a few months before the expiry of your visa.
  12. Once you’ve made your appointment, you’ll need to prepare your dossier.
  13. On the date and time listed on your convocation, you’ll need to go to the prefecture to renew your titre de séjour salarié and request a card.
  14. A few weeks to months following your appointment, you’ll receive a SMS from the prefecture asking you to come pick up your carte de séjour salarié.

11. Making an Appointment at the Prefecture to Renew Your TDS

Following the end of my OFII classes last summer, I was advised by the instructors to begin looking for an appointment 4-5 months prior to my expiry date. While I’d always heard that 2 months prior would suffice, this is not the case for every TDS! If you’re a holder of a VLS-TS as I was, it is in fact instructed on the prefecture website to make an appointment 4-5 months beforehand.

So roughly 4 1/2 months before, I did as instructed and booked an appointment online. To do this, you need to enter the following information: Your full name, your birthdate, the expiry date of your titre de séjour, and the number of your titre de séjour. Be careful with the latter: the number is not the one written on your visa, but in fact the one found on your OFII documents. It is also the identifiant you use when logging into the Etrangers en France website.

After having entered this information way back in October 2019, I was presented with available appointments. The earliest was March 30th, which I promptly took – afterwards my convocation to enter the prefecture and my list of documents to furnish were generated and I was able to print them out.

Sadly, this ended up being smack dab in the middle of confinement, so I never got to go. Instead, post-confinement, in June 2020 I followed instructions and tried to email or call the prefecture to get a new appointment, as it was no longer possible to do so online. After weeks of trying I finally managed to get through by dialling 3430, your one-stop (paid) telephone number to reach the prefecture.

After sharing my information with the operator – nearly identical to what had been asked online – they offered me an appointment for the following week. Having been scared I wouldn’t get a new appointment before 2021, needless to say I was over the moon!

12. Preparing Your Dossier to Renew a TDS Salarié

The morning after speaking with the operator on the 3430 line, I received an email from the prefecture containing my convocation and the list of documents to furnish. These had slightly changed from what I’d been asked to bring back in October. Now, to renew a titre de séjour salarié one must bring:

  • Passport
  • Scans from your passport of relevant pages: your ID photo, French visa, past visas, and pages that show your entries/departures from France
  • Justificatif domicile less than 6 months old (I brought an EDF bill and attestation of housing insurance – both in my name)
  • 3 identity photos
  • CERFA forms from your current employer
  • Attestation d’activité from my employer stating all the details of my job, contract type, etc.
  • Attestation d’activité downloaded from Mes Droits Sociaux (a document that curiously doesn’t exist – or didn’t exist at the time I applied. I printed out the webpage and the email from the webmaster stating this attestation didn’t exist on their website)

Not on the list, but things I thought were essential to bring included:

  • Birth certificate
  • OFII documents (integration contract, medical exam, certifications of completion for each civic class, letter stating I didn’t need to take French classes)
  • Job contract
  • Last 3 payslips
  • Job contract
  • RIB from my bank
  • Attestation of having a French social security number, downloaded from
  • Scans of my carte vitale and mutuelle card

Many of which came in handy! I also made two scans of each document, just to be safe.

13. Renewing Your TDS at the Prefecture

Convocation, overstuffed dossier, and face mask in hand, I went to the Prefecture de Paris at Cité one hot Tuesday morning. There were queues around the block to enter, but a policeman explained that was for people who had questions or wanted to request an appointment. As I had a convocation, I was let in right away.

After going through security, I went to my designated room and braced myself for a long wait, as had always been my experience at the prefecture (where having an appointment at 9am and seeing someone at 2pm is the norm).

However, once I handed in my convocation to the front desk, to my utter surprise they asked to see me right away. I do not know if this is protocol for salarié renewals, or if it was because I’d had an appointment cancelled during confinement, but whatever it was I was very thankful to not have to sit in the waiting room for hours on end.

During the appointment, where a sheet of Plexiglass separated myself and the interviewer, I was asked to fill in a basic form which asked for details such as my name, address, my parents’ names, my country of origin, my last date of entry in France, and whether or not I’d had a titre de séjour before. Afterwards the interviewer went through the list of documents and asked for them one by one. On top of what was asked, I provided all my OFII documents, a copy of my birth certificate, and my payslips from the past 3 months.

After all of the documents were taken, I was digitally fingerprinted, handed a six-month récepissé, and then informed that I would be receiving a 4-year carte de séjour! While she didn’t specify why I would be getting a 4-year card as opposed to a 1-year card, I highly suspect it’s because I had completed all of the OFII requirements, held a CDI contract, stayed with the same employer during my first year, and was still with that employer at the moment of applying.

14. Picking up Your Carte de Séjour

Prior to leaving, the interviewer informed me that I would be receiving a SMS message in one and a half months to come pick up my carte de séjour. In the SMS I would be given a timeframe to come pick up the card and would be told how much I need to pay in timbres fiscaux.

In the end, I never received the SMS. After waiting over three months, I decided to send an email to the prefecture to ask for an update. They emailed me back a convocation to come pick up my card at the end of the month, asking me to bring:

  • The present email, printed out
  • Timbres fiscaux for an amount of 225€
  • My récepissé or previous CDS, if I had one
  • My passport

I went at the assigned date and hour, yet still had to wait in a queue for around two hours prior to being let into the room where they distribute cards. Once at the front desk, they checked my papers and assigned me a number.

After that, the process was very quick – my number was called, I went to the assigned desk, was handed my card and asked to verify that the information was correct, then signed to show it was well received and left.

As expected, I received a carte de séjour pluriannuelle valid for four years! Needless to say, I was overjoyed. And more than anything, relieved that I don’t need to visit the immigration office until 2024.


    1. Hello Felipe, In the end I never received an SMS, after 3 months of waiting I emailed the prefecture and they emailed me back a convocation a few weeks after that. I just picked up my card this week (after nearly 4 months of waiting). I’ll be updating this article to share my experience!


  1. Hey Katrina!
    Thanks a lot for writing this out – it’s super useful and clear.
    Probably a shot in the dark to ask as this would be a bit ambiguous for anyone to guess – I am also in your exact position prior of applying for my Carte de Sejour with a CDI having almost completed my VLS-TS Salarie duration that expires on 10th January. My appointment is on the 8th of December for renewal.

    That said I unfortunately received my OFII summons (medical + signing of contract) really late – only this week! So i have been assigned my civic classes mid December, past my renewal date along with 100 hours of french (I’m very jealous of your level of french! aha).

    However i have all the necessary documents anyway for my renewal …just hoping it could by any chance be a 4 year even though i can only complete my civic classes after! AHHH. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again for such a clear outline of this.



    1. Hello AN,
      Happy to hear that the series was of help! Regarding your question, in my experience the OFII obligations must all be completed in order to be eligible for a 4 year card. OFII themselves told me this – that you needed to have completed the medical exam, 4 civic courses & French classes if required in order to get a 4 year card at your first renewal. This happened for me (I got a 4 year card after 1 year of VLS-TS). I also have a friend with the same visa who was denied the 4 year card because she was missing the certificate for her 4th civic course, which had unfortunately been cancelled due to the pandemic. The rest of her paperwork was in order (including CDI contract with the company that had initially sponsored her). I don’t know it she was just unlucky or if it’s protocol. In both the case of me & my friend we were told at our appointments what card we’d be receiving so normally you’ll be told at your rendez-vous with the prefecture. Fingers crossed they make an exception for you – because of the pandemic I heard OFII wasn’t operating properly for months, including a period of being totally closed during the first confinement, which I imagine resulted in a lot of people receiving convocations late and being denied the carte de séjour pluriannuelle. Would be interested in hearing your experience after your appointment.


      1. Hi Katrina,

        thanks for your reply!
        Indeed, I believe it definitely would be unlikely for a 4 year one this time but I suppose it’s just an added hassle of postponing it to the following year to attain that once i get all my papers
        I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out!



      2. Hello!
        So just to update you, I’ve completed my interview and was told I’ll be getting a 1 year CDS!
        This is as we predicted, solely due to the completion of civics courses + language which is necessary to attain this for 4 years.
        I was told once I’ve completed this then I’ll be able to receive it in 2021 🙂 Lucky you!
        It’s a relief to be done with all of that for now though. Till the next year!

        Take care


      3. Hello AN,
        Thank you for the update! So my suspicions were correct: you do need to have completed the OFII obligations to receive the 4-year card. This is good information to know. I have no doubt you’ll be able to complete everything in the coming months and get your CDS pluriannuelle in 2021. 🙂 At least you don’t need to go back to the prefecture for another year, which is always a good feeling!


  2. Hey Katrina, I hope you are well!
    It’s me AN again – haha! I read that you never got a text and that’s my current problem at the moment and they seem quite unreachable. Could you let me know where exactly you sent your request for an update so I can do the same?

    Thanks so much!
    (It’s been so long I’ve even completed all 4 of my civics classes and 100 hours of french!! Lol)



    1. Hello AN and Katrina,

      I hope this message finds you well and that the both of you are doing well too. I’ve stumbled upon this page while searching through the web for a possible solution to my current predicament, and was hoping that maybe one of you may have some answers.

      I’m in a similar situation as AN, though thankfully my visa’s not due till Jan, i’ve done all 4 civic classes, and i’ve already made an appointment for renewal. However, OFII or AFCI is currently presenting certain issues with the french lessons. I was assigned 100 hours as well, and have completed them, however, i’ve received a call from my prof stating that according to their system, i was ‘absent’ for 30 hours, which is false seeing that i’ve even signed my attendance each week.

      So my question is, did you receive anything proving that you have completed your 100 hours? Or did the OFII call you in for a second meeting after that or something like that?

      My reasons are going to sound ridiculous, but i really do not want to be subjected to those lessons again where they herd us like sheep into overcrowded rooms, throw worksheets at us to complete while the teachers use their phones, only to demean the students for their efforts for stuff they think are ‘simple’. I was lucky i was not at the end of those remarks as i had already taken french lessons outside before( which OFII did not accept for some reason and insisted i still had to take 100 hours even after passing their exam), but the disrespectful way they treat their students is seriously messed up.

      I hope you hear from the both of you soon, and thank you.


  3. Hello AN,
    Normally it takes longer than they say – if they told you 2 months for example and it’s past that I wouldn’t worry but it never hurts to try to get an update. On the Prefecture de Paris website there’s a contact page for the different rooms dealing with TDS. I’d send a message to the one you applied at & the room where people go to pick up the cards. Normally they respond within a few days.
    Good luck!


  4. Hello Katrina,
    I read your article and used it as a guide for my renewal, the lady at the prefecture asked for all my documents at once but I had them in order separated with paper clips and she said a have an amazing dossier and it was easy to continue, at the end I had my birth certificate with the translation, carte Vitale, work insurance (Generation), RIB, and added the letter when they assigned me the social Security number and as extra the validation of my studies in France. thanks to your guide everything went smooth and had all the documents needed even if they weren’t on the list… at least on the website but on her little booklet she had all this extra docs to ask for. I wanted to thank you for for sharing your experience that is very help full.
    on the side I would like to ask you (in case you know or heard about it) would I be able to change employers after receiving my 4 year CDS? is is very unclear on the websites, I like the company and my job but if im able to move to pharmacy that is my major I would gladly do it. thanks you and hope you are doing amazing, thank you again


  5. Hey Katrina,

    This is super helpful! I’m in a super similar situation right now, I’m on a CDD at a French company and they’ve offered to sponsor me and give me a CDI as well (yay)! My question is, were you not able to apply for your salarié until your WHV was almost over? Mine doesn’t end until April 2023, but I’d rather get my salarié sooner than later so I’m hoping I can start the process quite soon 🙂

    Thanks for all your information!


    1. Hello! I personally only applied once my WHV was expired (like 1-2 days after). My company organized it so that we did the process so that I’d receive the permit & invitation to apply for the visa around the time of my WHV expiry (they didn’t want to do it earlier despite my asking). As far as I know getting a new visa voids the old one so you could probably apply before expiry without issue. Maybe ask VFS to confirm?


      1. Thank you so much, I’ll email them and pray for a response 🙂 And apologies again for the accidental multiple comments!


  6. Hi Katrina,

    Thank you for your informative and very useful blogs. I’d like to share my situations as well as asking for your suggestions. After waiting for 2 months (after validating my salarié visa), I finally got an email for my convocations and medical test, which will be held next January 2023. `So the next steps would be to attend the civic courses and probably French courses as well for I only speak basic french at the moment. I’d like to ask for your suggestions, after finishing all the mandatory courses and get all the certificates and documents needed, do you know if it is advisable at this time to make an appointment 4-5 months before my current VLS-TS expired (my visa will expire in August 2023)? Also, in the future, I would like to change my job/company, I suppose it’s better to wait until I get my CDS to do so. If I change job, do you think I will need to ask the next company to provide me the work permit and restart the steps? Is it possible to change job when I already get my CDS?

    Thank you in advance for your reply, looking forward to hear back from you and again, thank you for the great information you provided!


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