For the second time in two years CAF (Caisse Allocations Familiales) has sent me a form to fill in, saying that I need to renew my droit de séjour – right to stay – in France, and asking for details about my working status and proof that my cotisations (social security dues) are up to date. If I don’t renew by the arbitrary date they’ve plucked out of the air, then I’ll no longer be eligible to claim any financial aid from them.

This business about having to extend my droit de sejour is nonsense. I began to look into it last year, but other events swamped us so in the end I simply filled the form in and set it back with the supporting documentation they required. It was the first time I’d received such a demand in eight years of living here so I opted for the path of least resistance.

But not this year. I’ve done my research thoroughly, and on assorted French government websites it is clearly stated that persons coming to France from the EU, and who have been here for 5 years, have the right for permanent residence. What’s more, you no longer have to provide justification for staying longer e.g. proof of your resources, work status etc. CAF doesn’t appear to have had that memo.

In case you’re interested, here it is in French:

Droit au séjour permanent

Vous obtenez un droit au séjour permanent après 5 ans de résidence légale et ininterrompue en France.

À l’issue de cette période, vous n’avez plus besoin de prouver les conditions de votre séjour (ressources par exemple). Vous pouvez demeurer définitivement en France, sauf si vous représentez une menace grave pour l’ordre public.

What’s more, there is an EU Directive 2004/38 which says the same thing – that after 5 years you’re entitled to permanent residence. What’s more, the authorities can’t treat you differently from French nationals. So if French people don’t have to fill in an annoying form, like this one, then neither do you.

While Chris and I were doing our research we came across a lot of posts from people on various forums who are receiving the same treatment as I am. Amongst them were a Spanish lady who’s been living in France for fifteen years, is married to a French man and whose children are French nationals, and an Italian lady who’s lived her forty years!

I’m writing to CAF for an explanation as to why I have to fill this form in. I’m not holding my breath, though, but should I get a response, I’ll keep you posted.

We are in the EU!