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Hello all.

I have been living in France for one year now, and have recently gone to the prefecture to renew my carte de séjour for the first time. Other than the wait, the process was painless, I just dropped off some paperwork, and they gave me my new temporary card with an appointment in 3 months to pay some money and get the new card valid for one year.

I have heard and read a bit about integration requirements for living in France, and even things like having to sign a "contrat d'accueil et d'integration" to promise to learn French history, laws and language with tests to follow. I asked the gentleman at the prefecture about this, and he really didn't know much about it but said it certainly wasn't mandatory for my renewal.

Can anyone explain this to me? I am an American citizen sponsored by a French company to work here, and my wife has joined me with the famille accompagnante visa and hence has a visiteur carte de séjour. We are here on an indefinite contract, so I would like to know if something like this will be required for us in the future, and of course if I have to bone up on my french history :)

thanks
 

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The contract d'accueil et integration (or whatever it's called) came in a couple years ago and it applied only to certain categories of visa/carte de séjour. If you were subject to it, you had to sign it when you received your first cds - and the terms had to be fulfilled by the time your 1 year card came up for renewal the following year.

I only know one person (an American, as it happens) who had to sign one of these and that seems to be because she got her first cds just about the time the regulations first came into force. She spoke no French at all on arrival (and was on a spouse visa - newly married to a Frenchman) and got summoned to take 400 hours of French lessons in a class that was mixed levels. She managed to get out of half of the class with a doctor's note - only attended mornings rather than all day, though I'm not sure how they counted her hours of attendance.

AFAICT, the culture and civilization class was simply a day-long seminar you had to sit through. There was no test. And then there was an additional "class" on French culture for anyone the prefecture deemed to be from a culture sufficiently different from the French to need it. (Means mostly magrebhis, as far as I can tell.)

Recently, however, I have heard of no one who has been required to sign the CAI. Like many laws in France, I get the feeling they've just kind of lost interest in the project.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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