France: Prefectures to Reopen

France: Prefectures to Reopen


French Prefectures and sub-Prefectures will gradually start to reopen. The exact date of opening will vary from one prefecture to another, but the fundamental strategy will remain the same with collection of residence permits by prearranged appointments being facilitated first. This will be followed by a second stage from June 15th relating to all other immigration issues requiring a physical application submission.

What has changed?

Since mid-March, French Prefectures and sub-Prefectures have been closed to the public following the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. As France now moves out of the perceived peak of the virus, prefectures are looking to gradually reopen from May 11th. Please note the following important points:

  • Initially prefectures will only be permitting the collection of residence permits by prearranged appointment made either online or via SMS.
  • From June 15th it will be possible to make appointments for all other immigration matters requiring an application submission.
  • The authorities will only be accommodating those who have prearranged appointments with date and time confirmed by letter or email.
  • Individuals should ensure they practice protective measures by attending appointments alone (except in specific exceptional circumstances), wearing protective masks and bringing their own pens.
  • Rearranged appointments will be made by the prefectures for those who had appointments booked before March 16th but that were subsequently cancelled. No action is required by the individuals themselves in rearranging these.
  • Those whose residence documents were due to expire between March 16th and May 15th that were automatically extended for six months, and who have not had a previously arranged appointment that was cancelled, should now start the renewal process with their local prefecture. Given the 6-month extension period, these applications will not be treated as a priority.
  • Priority will be given to those booking appointments for residence permits that expired before the March 16th or were due to expire between March 16th and June 15th, 2020.
  • At present (May 14th) there is no auto-extension of residence permits expiring after May 15th.

What to expect / impact?

In order to ensure they remain compliant in France; individuals should now make the necessary arrangements to collect their residence documents or commence the renewal of existing documents accordingly.

For further information on the specifics of the reopening of the French Prefectures and how that may impact your foreign employees in France, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at

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Leanne Cottrell
Leanne Cottrell

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