It is probably the question most frequently asked by foreigners in France.
As we have seen here (article in French), the appointment process is now digitalized. And the new appointment slots are doled out in drops.
So what to do? One must not give in. Neither to discouragement, nor to the sirens of illegal appointment purchase from mafias. One must act methodically:
If you wish to apply for a regularization (called admission exceptionnelle au séjour), you must take one screenshot per day or every other day of your unsuccessful attempts at securing an appointment on the prefecture website for three months.
If you wish to apply to a renewal of your titre de séjour, you must only show that you have made a few attempts in the two months preceding the expiration of your titre de séjour.
The screenshot must only show the préfecture website page displaying the refusal to take an appointment, as well as the date, the time and the concerned préfecture. If you take screenshots from your phone, you can use an application to display these (Date Stamper, Time Stamp, Photo Stamp).
(you can see the date and time clearly at the bottom of the screen)
You must also write two to three emails to the concerned préfecture. The email must include your name, first name, numéro d’étranger, your petition for an appointment. You must join some of your screenshots to your emails.
Lastly, you will need to send to the préfecture a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, containing the same elements as the previous emails and warning the préfecture that a référé (emergency) procedure will be introduced if an appointment is not granted as soon as possible.
If after all this, you have still not obtained an appointment, get in touch with a lawyer for the introduction of a référé procedure.
The référé (either ‘conservatoire’ for a régularization or ‘liberté’ for a renewal) is an emergency contentious procedure before the administrative tribunal. As a general rule, the sole introduction of a référémeans that the préfecture grants an appointment, as the administration is aware that it will be sentenced in the référé procedure.
Of course, the introduction of a référé by a lawyer has a cost. You can benefit from jurisdictional aid (aide juridictionnelle) if you are in France legally, and if your household’s monthly income (you + any other adult within your household) is under a certain limit (in 2020, this limit is €1043 for total jurisdictional aid, and €1564 for partial jurisdictional aid). To find out if you are eligible to jurisdictional aid, you can try a simulation online: http://www.justice.fr/simulateurs/aide.
In any case, it is common to ask the Court to sentence the préfecture to pay for the lawyer’s cost – since it is at fault. Once the appointment is granted, things can go very fast. You must therefore be ready and have your file complete – otherwise you will have to start the process all over again.
If needed, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.