The online system for Brits to apply for residency permits to stay in France after Brexit is now live after months of delays
British people wishing to live in France can now apply for their post-Brexit residency cards. After months of delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the website went live today (October 19, 2020) with instructions in English and French.
If you have been living in France for over five years, you will be eligible for permanent residency and a 10-year renewable residency permit. If you have been living in France for fewer than five years you will be eligible for a five-year card. Brits have until 31 December 2020 to become legally resident in France*. They then have until 1 July 2021 to apply for a card and won’t be legally required to have a card until 1 October 2021. In the meantime, their rights (including work and social benefits) will be maintained.
Easy does it
A spokesman for the French Interior Ministry said the process had been made as simple and unbureaucratic as possible. Applicants will be requested to upload only a few documents and make a single trip to the préfecture. Their cards will be sent to them by post.
The system is free but can be done only online. You can start an application and finish it later (as long as there is some activity within 20 days). There are instructions in English but emails will be sent to you in French.
Everyone will have to make one trip to the local préfecture to be photographed and give fingerprints. Shortly after you have submitted your application, you should receive an attestation d’enregistrement acknowledgement by email. The cards will be sent to your home address so there is no need to collect them from the préfecture.
Should I apply?
You do not need to apply for a card if you are under the age of 18, an EU citizen or of dual nationality with an EU country.
If you already hold a carte de séjour permanent you still need to apply, in order to swap this for a new card. However, you won’t be asked to provide proof of your income or healthcare. You will only have to upload a scan of your current card and your passport.
If your application was pending when the préfectures stopped taking new applications last year and you have still not received your card, you are encouraged to reapply on the new website.
However, you do not need to reapply if you applied on the government website run temporarily last year to guard against the event of a no-deal Brexit. Your application should have transferred to the new system and is being processed.
Exception for spouses
Anyone married to a French person will get a 10-year card straightaway and those in a civil partnership (PACS) with a French person will automatically qualify for a five-year card. This was not a requirement of the Withdrawal Agreement but has been added in by the French government to make things simpler.
If you have lived in France for less than five years and are economically inactive (including retired) or self-employed you must be able to prove you have healthcare cover (private insurance or proof of registration with French healthcare system). You also need to show you have sufficient resources, meaning at least equal to the current thresholds for the French in-work benefit révenu de solidarité active (RSA), currently €565 per month for a single person. If you own your own home, this will be taken into account.
If you are self-employed and have lived in France less than five years, you will need to show you have a valid business, although the authorities will be understanding if you are inactive purely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Local authorities are being mobilised around the country to ensure that British nationals, including more isolated expats, are fully aware of the website and supported to make their applications. Although paper submissions are not allowed, people can visit their préfectures in person for advice and computer access.
The website for applications is https://contacts-demarches.interieur.gouv.fr To go directly to the English version visit https://contacts-demarches.interieur.gouv.fr/brexit/brexit-residence-permit-application/
For more information in English visit the visa and residency section of the UK Government’s Brexit: Living in France page.
* Family members can still legally join them after that date, as long as the relationship, such as a marriage, existed before the end of 2020).
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