Droit de la migration et des étrangers

BREXIT: British nationals residing in France can finally apply for a residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement!

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Yesterday, 19 October 2020, the government platform for the submission of applications for residence permits for British nationals residing in France and their family members was finally launched.

Its opening, initially planned for July, had been postponed to October due to the stalled negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the modalities of Brexit.

The procedures for submitting applications and the conditions for issuing residence permits had raised many questions within the British community in France, anxious to maintain a point of entry into the Schengen area.

From now on, it is now possible to apply for a permit!

But don't panic! There is no point in rushing to the platform as the obligation for British nationals to have a residence permit only takes effect from 1 October 2021 (this date has also been postponed).

The conditions of access to the right of residence in France for British nationals and their family members remain, at this stage, similar to those for nationals of EU Member States.

The following is a guide to the conditions for access to the right of residence in France for British nationals under the Withdrawal Agreement.

British nationals concerned by the procedure

This procedure only concerns British nationals residing in France who have settled or plan to settle in France before 31 December 2020. After this date, the transition period following the UK's withdrawal from the EU will end. Consequently, British nationals who settle in France after this date will be subject to the ordinary law regime.

For those who already hold a residence permit as EU nationals, they will be obliged to submit a new application for a residence permit on the platform, as their current card will expire on 1 October 2021.

For people who do not have a residence permit, the platform distinguishes between 2 types of applicants, depending on how long they have been living in France.

British people who have been living in France for more than 5 years

Provided that the date of their first settlement and their presence on the territory in the course of 2020 is established, the persons concerned will be issued a residence permit valid for 10 years.

Proof of first installation may be provided by any means. In particular, by a tax notice, a rental contract or a property deed.

However, it is not necessary to provide proof of residence for each year spent in France.

Thus, the condition of having lived in France for more than 5 years will be deemed to have been met, even in the event of one or more interruptions in the stay.

British nationals who have been living in France for less than 5 years

In this case, the title issued will be valid for 5 years, renewable. Renewal should, in theory, lead to the issue of a residence permit.

The applicant will have to demonstrate that he or she meets the conditions for a long stay in France.

To this end, they must prove that they fall into one of the following categories:

- Employed or self-employed worker / investor / researcher;

- Student;

- Retired;

- A person with sufficient resources;

To date, to demonstrate possession of sufficient resources, the applicant must prove that they have at least the equivalent of the RSA, i.e. approximately 565 euros per month.

- Person proving incapacity for work;

- Person looking for a job;

For the last category, the applicant will have to provide proof of registration with Pôle-Emploi and therefore proof of their efforts to find work.

Please note that people who are not in employment at the time of their application will have to provide proof of health cover.

Pay attention to the British nationals who are family members of a French national :

The latter will benefit from a more favourable scheme, in that, provided they can prove a family link with a French person, they will be issued with a residence permit valid for 10 years.

Several categories of applicants may be eligible for this scheme:

- Spouses of French nationals;

- Partners of French nationals;

- And even French cohabitants.

Family members of British nationals who are nationals of non-EU Member States

At the same time as their British family, settled in France before 31 December 2020, family members from third countries will be able to submit their application for a residence permit via the government platform.

Several categories of people are concerned by the procedure:

- The spouse, registered partner or cohabitee of a British national;

- The child under 21 years of age of a British national or his/her spouse; 

- A child over 21 years of age or a child in the direct ascending line of a British national or his/her spouse;

In the latter case, proof must be provided that the British national has actually taken charge of the child or the ascendant.

Finally, even in the event of a break in the family relationship, the right of residence in France of family members of British nationals may be retained in the following situations:

- Death of the British family member, if the family member resides in France for more than one year after the death;

- Divorce after 3 years of living together, including 1 year in France, or in the event of divorce resulting from domestic violence;

- Custody of or access to children of a British national after divorce.

A plurality of hypotheses have therefore been envisaged, in order to secure, as far as possible, the situation of a maximum number of British nationals present in France.

It should be noted that those who have applied for a residence permit during the brief opening of the platform for no-deal applications will not need to re-submit a new application. Their application will be processed by the Prefecture.

Once the application has been submitted, a certificate of deposit will be generated automatically.

Although the application must be filed exclusively on the dedicated platform, the applicant will still have to go through the prefecture box for fingerprinting. An appointment will be made for this purpose, after examination of the application.

Processing times for residence permit applications will depend on the degree of congestion at each prefecture. Thus, in regions with a high concentration of British residents, such as New Aquitaine, the waiting time will be longer.

Prefectures are subject to only one obligation, to process the application before the possession of a residence permit for British people becomes compulsory.

At present, the 150,000 British nationals residing in France, as well as their family members, can therefore rest assured that they will be able to keep their right to residence almost intact, provided it has been acquired before the end of the transition period.

Retrouvez aussi cet article en Français : "BREXIT : les britanniques vivant en France peuvent enfin déposer leur demande titre de séjour dans le cadre de l’Accord de retrait !"

Maître Grégoire HERVET
EXILAE - Société d'Avocats

Immigration law lawyer

www.exilae.fr “des conseils gratuits en droit des étrangers”

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