Brexit residency cards: Rules for young Britons turning 18 in France

Under-18s were one of the groups not obliged to apply for a residency card by the October 4 deadline. We look at what they will need to do later

18 October 2021

Young Britons in France turning 18 need to apply for a Brexit residency card Pic: Shooting Star Studio / Shutterstock

By Liv Rowland

We are a British couple benefitting from the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and living in France. How does our son who is 18 next February get a carte de séjour and benefit too?

All adult Britons living in France and benefiting from the Brexit WA deal were expected to apply online for a residency card before October 4. 

The main exceptions were Britons who were still minors (under 18s) at that date and family members of WA Britons who are joining them in France at a later date and who have to apply for a card within three months of moving to France.

WA Britons will be expected to physically hold a card by January 1, 2021, although minors are exempt from this.

The rule for young people who benefit from the deal due to living in France before December 31, 2020 or being a family member of someone to whom that applied, is that they are obliged to apply for a residency card in their 18th year, though it is possible for younger people, from age 16, to also apply if they plan to work in France and want a card as proof of their right to work.

A Brexit WA card is not required by any young people who also have French nationality.

How can young people apply?

As the online portal for applying for a Brexit WA residency card has now closed, anyone applying for a card at this stage has to do so by contacting their local prefecture directly (you can find details of your prefecture here, if unsure).

The prefecture will advise as to the process for this and whether there is a specific application form, however the documents to be supplied are likely to be the same as were required when the portal was open. They vary depending on whether you are applying for the card for those resident in France for less than five years, or over five years.

Your son will probably be required to attend the prefecture with the originals and photocopies of the documents.

What documents may be required?

A list of the supporting documents required can be found in English at this link and in French at this link. There is also more on the process in our help guide to Brexit and Beyond for Britons in France

We recommend that when you or he contact the prefecture you make it clear what your and his situation is, regarding your (and his) length of time living in France, whether or not you hold a temporary or permanent residency card, whether he is still dependent on you and what his current status is (whether a still a student etc). That should ensure he obtains the correct card. 

Note that if he is only eligible for a ‘temporary’ (five-year validity) card for those without proof of residency for five years or more, then he will have to apply again for a ‘permanent’ card once proof of five years is available, if he wants to continue living in France.

Everyone applying for a card has to provide details of their identity document, eg. British passport and proof of living in France in 2020, such as a utilities bill, taxe d’habitation notice or lease agreement/rent receipt. 

Where someone does not have these details in their own name because they live with someone else they can give a certificate from the other party, dated and signed, stating on their honour that the person lives with them, along with a copy of their passport or residency permit and proof of address if they do not have an up-to-date address on their identity document.

Everyone applying for a permanent WA card (issued for ten years before it needs renewing) also needs to provide proof of an arrival date in France more than five years ago, however where the person arrived as a minor they can show this proof for one of the parents with whom they have been living. This includes eg. a home insurance certificate, tax statement, work contract, social security document etc.

In the case of living in France for less than five years and being the adult child of another WA resident, you need to provide a copy of your birth certificate showing the parental link, which will need to be translated into French by a sworn translator (traducteur assermenté).

Those applying for temporary cards - issued for five years - may also be asked to provide proof of their status, for example if they are students, proof of enrolment on a full-time course and a certificate of ‘assiduity’ from the establishment can be required, certifying that you are following the course on a regular basis.

The Q&A section of the residency cards online portal, which remains accessible, states that young people aged 18-21 and who are still dependent on their parents should declare in their application that they are the family member of a UK national and provide details of a parent’s passport, or if available, their residency card and/or proof they have applied for one.

Adults aged 21 or more who are still dependent on their parents should provide evidence of the support they receive such as a tax statement showing them as a dependent.

Young people studying abroad

We note that the French government states on this page that studying outside France, for example, at a UK university, is not a barrier to obtaining a card where someone maintained their ‘habitual’ residency in France (eg. at their parents’ home), and these years can also be counted for purposes of the five years in France for a ‘permanent’ card.

Where applying for the permanent card, such students can apply in their own right, or otherwise, if applying for a temporary card, they apply as a member of the family of a UK national and should not indicate they are applying as a ‘student in France’. They should indicate the family home as their address, unless they have their own address in France.

Related articles

France extends Brexit residency card deadline amid backlog 

More than 10,000 Britons in France still awaiting residency cards 

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