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Brexit questions answered

PUBLISHED: 17:10 11 March 2019

The British Embassy has been answering Brexit questions on Facebook and at outreach sessions in France © iStock/Getty Images Plus

The British Embassy has been answering Brexit questions on Facebook and at outreach sessions in France © iStock/Getty Images Plus

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In their latest Q&A session, the British Embassy Paris answered people's Brexit concerns, including the carte de séjour, travel and healthcare

CARTE DE SEJOUR

Is anything being done to accelerate carte de séjour procedures for Brits who wish to apply? I can’t be the only one who has spent hours at the préfecture, sent off dossiers and had no reply. The deadline is looming, what will happen to us if UK pulls out on 29/03 and our papers aren’t in order. The French Sénat report speaks of réciprocité but that means nothing as there is no deal!

British Embassy Paris: Unfortunately, you are not the only one in this situation and we know it can be frustrating. What we can say is, first, that we are feeding all of this back to the French authorities, and, second, that you do not need a residency card on exit day. In a no deal scenario you have a year, and under a deal you have until end of June 2020. Hope that provides some reassurance.

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We are both UK nationals. We live in France on a fixed term contract from my husbands work. We do not qualify for a permanent carte de sejour as we have been in France less than 5 years. Applications for temporary CDS will not be accepted or processed before 29 March.

Q1. We visit the UK on 29 March. How do we return to France if there is no deal? We cannot present a ‘residency’ card and the UK govt website states that British nationals entering France may be asked to show a return ticket which we will not have.

Q2. I cannot see any guidance on the status - or which residency card will be required - for ‘inactif’/not employed spouses of British workers (the ‘trailing’ spouse). What do I need to do to ensure I can stay in France with my husband for the duration of his contract?

British Embassy Paris: 1. On the 29th March in a no deal scenario there will be no immediate change to the current travel arrangements – you will not need a visa to enter France and you will still be able travel using your passports (though there are some differences around validity that you should check our page on passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit. But you’re right that we’re recommending that you have some documentation to help in case you are asked to explain your situation - having proof of your husband’s contract may help.

2. There is more information on the residency cards here. But to reassure you, our understanding is that family members, including spouses, will certainly have the right to a residency card as long as they were resident in France before we leave the EU (which seems to be the case in your situation).

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I am a salarié on CDI, will anything change for me? I have carte vitale and mutuelle - will anything change with that? My 17 year old daughter was born European! She is currently back in the UK for A-Levels - will she be able to join me back in France when she has finished her studies?

British Embassy Paris: Firstly in a deal or no deal if you are a worker and have healthcare cover then that will continue. And your right to work continues as well. You should be eligible for a carte de sejour under the new system (check out the French brexit.gouv.fr site to see the various categories) – it sounds like you would apply for the ten year card which is automatically renewed or for the four year card for your CDI.

Your daughter as a minor does not need a carte de sejour at the moment. In due course the French have told us that they will look at the person’s “centre of interest” eg where their normal home is, where their connections are, if they a dependant eg a student. So if her base is France we would expect them to respect that.

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My husband and I are moving permanently to France on 10th March, what are the first things I should do to prove I intend to stay permanently? We are both still of working age and intend working as employees of our UK based company although we would like to start a small micro entrepreneur business in France too. My maire does not issue attestation, I have already asked her.

British Embassy Paris: You are right that it makes sense to begin to gather information to show that you are living permanently here – bills, taxes etc. You will have at least a year to apply for a residency card under a no deal, and up until the end of June 2021 in a deal scenario which I hope provides some reassurance.

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We have been trying to get a Rdv for a carte be sejour have read they will cost €250 after 29 March

British Embassy Paris: Hi Gert. In a deal situation, we understand that there will be no cost to apply for residency. However, in a no deal scenario, then I’m afraid there will indeed be an application cost for those who do not already have a permanent residency card. We understand this will be more like €100-150 – the precise fee should be confirmed in the coming week.

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Our nearest Prefecture in Chambery has told us we don’t need to apply for CDS until after Brexit. We have our appointment tomorrow.

British Embassy Paris: As you may know the truth is that different Prefectures are applying the rules differently. Some, particularly those with a large number of Brits, have apparently started holding off processing cards under the existing system. And we also need the French to confirm if they will treat existing dossiers under the new system without requesting more papers for those that have not been issued before Brexit. So we would probably advise going to the meeting and asking them how they intend to deal with the request. On our side we have been urging them to take a simple approach and just transfer requests into the new system – but of course they are waiting on details for that from the French Government.

Do keep checking www.brexit.gouv.fr as well as our own pages www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-france.

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We own a house in France and wish to move there permanently to run our own business from the property. Originally we planned to move there later this summer. Will we be entitled to apply for a CDS after 29 March if Brexit is a no deal? Or should we move to France prior to 29 March? Panicking!

British Embassy Paris: This is a personal choice but to help you make that choice I’d suggest your read our living-in-france guide. As you’ll see in a deal scenario you can move here until the end of 2020 and then apply for a residency permit before July 2021. In a deal scenario that cut-off date is the date of exit which does mean that those arriving after may be subject to difficult rules. So I’m afraid that’s the honest answer to your question even if I know if might not be what you were hoping for. You can stay up to date here: gov.uk/guidance/living-in-france.

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I was told at my naturalisation interview in January that I don’t need to apply for a carte de séjour. Could you please confirm?

British Embassy Paris: We’d suggest checking with your Prefecture. Naturalisation procedures can take some time and the French haven’t yet confirmed how they will treat citizenship requests during the period immediately after Brexit.

If the UK leaves without a deal, what steps will people with a récépissé only (not the actual carte de sejour) need to take?

British Embassy Paris: Great to know that you have already applied for a Carte de Sejour. You do not need to do anything for now. The French Government have not yet clarified how they will deal with existing applications but we hope they will process them rather than asking for more paperwork – and that is what we are urging them in meetings, including one just this afternoon. As soon as we have confirmation we’ll publicise it widely (see our guidance here and the French Government website.

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I contacted the Prefecture in the Lot 46 as I had an appointment last October (9th) for a carte de sejour. Everything went well and I was told it would be 3 months to have the card made. Today I rang only to be told that the process was on hold until an agreement had been reached with the UK. Is this normal?

British Embassy Paris: We are aware that some prefectures are putting on hold applications. We have raised this with the French Ministry of Interior who have told us that there is no central guidance going out instructing them to do this, but rather that certain prefectures are doing it where there are high demands as they are waiting to hear more details from the Government about the new system. We’ll use your feedback as part of those conversations and continue to push for as simple a system as possible.

TRAVEL

How will those Brits who have second homes in France be affected by a no-deal Brexit. Will we be allowed to go and use our property at any/all the time as at the moment?

British Embassy Paris: If a deal is agreed, travel to France will remain the same as now until at least 31 December 2020. If there is no deal, you should still be able to travel to France for up to three months at a time without a visa. You can read more about the entry requirements for France after Brexit on our travel advice page, which also includes useful information about UK passport validity:

If you want to stay longer than three months in six, you can apply for a titre de séjour in France to guarantee your residence in the country. You will have until the end of June 2021 to apply for it if we leave with a deal and a year from exit day in a no-deal scenario.

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I am British, I live in London and I used to live in Paris for 11 years in the past. I have a British passport. If I travel to France in April, will I have problems with a No Deal Brexit?

British Embassy Paris: There should be no problem about traveling to France with your British passport in April, whether in a deal or no deal situation. However, if a no deal, you’ll need at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival in France. Worth reading the guidance here.

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My partner who is also resident here in France has a UK passport that has less than six months remaining. Is it best to renew now, or wait until after March 29th? Will there be a need to apply for a new one after Brexit?

British Embassy Paris: we recommend renewing any passport with less than 6 months remaining so I would do that.

HEALTHCARE/BENEFITS

I am retired and have an S1 which I believe is still valid for access to healthcare in France, whatever happens. Will we have to pay for our health services though through PUMA?

British Embassy Paris: Yes, you’re right. In a deal scenario the S1 system will carry on after EU Exit, and the French have also said it will remain in place for at least 2 years even in a no deal, until a new system is agreed (which we both want).

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Will Brexit affect our rights to claim CAF?

British Embassy Paris: Being able to continue to access social benefits is obviously an important issue. If you are currently legally resident in France, then the short answer is no, Brexit should not affect your right to claim.

To go into a bit more detail – in the event of a deal, we have agreed with the EU that UK nationals resident in the EU before the end of the implementation period (December 2020) can continue to access the same benefits as they do now, in line with the rules of the member state in which they live.

In a no deal scenario, the French have recently released their ordonnance which says that British Nationals legally resident in France before Brexit will be able to legally access social benefits for the period of a year. During this year, UK nationals will be required to apply for a residency card which will cover future access to social benefits. You can read the ordonnance here (article 6 covers social benefits).

DRIVING

We applied for French driving licences but understand there is a massive backlog - we haven’t received an acknowledgment - will we still be able to use GB licences post Brexit (we live in France)?

British Embassy Paris: You are right about the backlog. It’s not about Brexit but we know how frustrating it is and are raising it with the French. If the Withdrawal Agreement is passed, there won’t be any change to the way that you use your British licence during the transition period, but afterwards you will need to exchange it for a French licence. The exact process for this will be set out by the French authorities at a later date.

If we leave the EU without a deal, you will need to exchange your British licence – again according to the process that the French government set out. Usually, when you send off your licence you receive a certificate from the French authorities, which allows you to continue driving but it looks like the backlog has meant a delay in you receiving this. In the meantime, you might like to carry a photocopy of your licence and application with you in the car.

This is just a selection from the Brexit Q&A session, to see all the questions and replies, head to the British Embassy Paris’ Facebook page

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