Britons have until Sunday evening to apply for French residency card

The website for Withdrawal Agreement carte de séjour applications will now close as of Monday October 4. Yesterday the legal date to hold a card was extended by three months to January 1

29 September 2021
By Liv Rowland

The official French website for applications for residency cards for British people in France benefiting from the Brexit Withdrawl Agreement (WA) deal is to remain open until the end of Sunday October 3, French officials have said.

It will close after that, with any remaining applicaitions having to be made on paper, giving reasons for being late.

The ministry now says people should apply on the website 'before October 4', giving an extra three days compared to previous Interior Ministry announcements that the site would remain open until September 30 “to allow registration of applications that were not able to be made in the timeframe provided” (this wording has now been updated on the ministry's website to refer to applications 'up to' October 4).

In effect, the ministry is giving people the weekend to make final applications, a ministry spokeswoman told The Connexion.

The original deadline for Briton's card applications – and still the official legal deadline – was June 30, 2021 however the Interior Ministry allowed a tolerance period for further applications via the site, and has not so far explicitly asked for ‘valid reasons for being late’ to be given, as it has the right to do under Brexit laws.

This comes after a new decree was published yesterday officially extending by three months the French legal deadline by which Britons in France relying on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement deal must physically hold a card in order to go on benefiting from their key rights to live and work in France.

It comes amid an applications backlog, with an official report having said some 10,800 applications were still waiting to be concluded by prefectures as of September 6. 

Britons who do not have a card yet despite applying in good time, had told The Connexion of their stress as they were, in several cases, unable to take up new jobs due to uncertainty over their legal rights as of the previous deadline of October 1.

Read more: Residency card limbo is stopping us getting jobs

Here are the key points to know moving forward:

  • If you are a Briton who was living in France before December 31, 2020, or a non-EU national family member of such a person who was living with them in France last year, you have until midnight on Sunday October 3 to apply for a card via the French website. A new WA agreement residency card will be legally essential to all those aged 18 or more, and who do not have an additional EU nationality. This includes those who previously held a carte de séjour for EU citizens. If you applied but since moved department in France, you are also advised to reapply.The exception to this is those who applied in 2019 for one of the residency cards that Britons would have needed as non-EU citizens' in the no-deal scenario. They should have had their applications converted to one for the new WA card without having to apply on the new website, unless they have since moved to a new department. However if this has not happened yet we would strongly suggest querying this with your prefecture.
          
  • The new French decree signed off on September 27 and published yesterday updates a previous decree about Britions’ Brexit rights (from November 19, 2020) to say that Britons’ rights to live and work in France and have welfare benefits continue without physically holding a card, until December 31, 2022. The new decree says they now need a card by January 1, 2022.

Those who intend to apply from Monday October 4 will not be able to apply on the website and are asked to contact their prefecture about the appropriate procedure. According to the Interior Ministry this includes:

  1. Britons living in France and benefiting from the WA deal, but who only reach age 18 from October 4 onwards.
          
  2. Members of the family of WA Britons in France, who will only join them in France from October 4.
           
  3. British people eligible under the WA deal who did not manage to make an application on the website, and have ‘legitimate reasons’ for this, such as ones linked to their health or a case of force majeure (eg. you were incapable of doing it, for reasons out of your control).

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman told The Connexion all prefectures have now been updated with regard to the change to January 1 for Britons’ obligation to hold a card.

She said 163,653 requests have now been made via the website since October 2020, and more than 90% of these have now been dealt with by the prefectures. The others, and those applying late for ‘legitimate reasons’ now have an extra three months to hold a card.

“The prefectures are very well-informed and are taking over after the online service closes,” she said.

The Connexion has asked the ministry what will happen to the legal rights of any remaining people who do not hold a card as of January 1, as it is in the prefectures’ power to make sure they have cards, not the individuals’.

We note that article 18 (3) of the Withdrawal Agreement, transcribed into article 27 of the November 19 French decree, states that those concerned by the WA deal retain all their rights ‘while waiting for a decision of the administrative authority’ (ie. the prefecture’s final decision on their card application), or a ‘definitive judgement’ in the case of an appeal against a refusal.

We have asked therefore if in any cases of any people not being issued cards by January 1, the attestation de dépôt receipt email that is issued when people apply for a card will continue to represent proof of their rights until such a time as a card is delivered to them, or until they receive notification that their application is refused.

Note: The British Embassy is running an online outreach event about applying for a card tonight (Wednesday October 28), at 18:00. You can sign up here.

Read more

Britons in France: Five groups 'at risk' of missing deadline for cards

More than 10,000 Britons in France still awaiting a residency card

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