Decree sets out no-deal rules for Britons in France

A new French government decree has clarified details of Britons’ residency rights after a no-deal Brexit – and confirms the key points covered in the April edition of The Connexion newspaper.

The decree states that all Britons would need non-EU citizen residency cards.

It also clarifies that having obtained a residency card as an EU citizen will make the process simpler especially for those with the séjour permanent card but also for those with the shorter-term ones.

In general the residency rules in the decree (and the previous no-deal ordonnance it builds on) provide for some lightening and simplification of requirements compared to those for other non-EU residents of France.

However this cannot be compared to the situation for EU citizens who require no formal residency documents.

As ministry sources told us was expected, among the key points in the decree are confirmation of a one-year grace period during which Britons could continue living in France legally with no residency card after a no-deal Brexit, however they would have to put in an application for one no later than six months after the UK leaves.

The decree also clarifies the – lower than usual – income requirements told to us for Britons to obtain non-EU citizen cards, and confirms a simple exchange process for holders of the carte de séjour citoyen UE/EEE/Suisse – séjour permanent.

It also confirms the cost of the cards, which is less than was originally thought when France released its main no-deal law.

As expected, holders of the permanent card or others who can prove more than five years’ legal residency would be entitled to the carte de résident de longue durée – UE (renewable with a simple process after 10 years).

Those legally resident for shorter periods would be eligible for other cards of a duration of one to four years depending on category (then renewable on the same conditions, apart for one for jobseekers).

For more about Brexit and Britons in France, including rights after a no-deal, see the new edition, in newsagents now or downloadable as a PDF from this link (all content is also available free online to those who subscribe).

For more on requirements for obtaining a non-EU citizens' card in the even of a no-deal Brexit see below.

Holders of the EU citizen permanent residency card – only the card and a valid passport

Others living legally in France for more than five years – passport; passport photograph; existing short-term carte de séjour (if the person has one) or if you have never had a French carte de séjour then other documentation showing the date when your started living in France.

Those with no existing carte de séjour must also show proof of holding health insurance (an Interior Ministry source confirmed this could include eg. evidence of being in the French system, such as a carte vitale or attestation from the Cpam). 

Proof of financial means as below.

Financial means: Evidence of sufficient financial means to support yourself over and above family benefits or income support.

The amount required depends on personal circumstances and cannot be more than the RSA (€560 for a single person, €840 for a couple without children, €1,008 for a couple with two children or €1,175 for a couple with two children).

Where the person does not have high enough income but owns their home or lives there free of charge, then this may be acceptable.

The means conditions are waived for those who have the AAH or ASI disabled people’s benefits. They are also waived for those who have a carte de séjour as a family member of someone with a permanent EU citizen card or who hold a vie privée et familiale card (for those with family ties in France).

For short term cards (those in France less than five years) – all cards require: passport; photograph; existing short-term carte de séjour if you have one, or for those without a carte de séjour then other documentation showing the date when your started living in France.

You also need the following, depending on circumstances:

Students (card for one or more years to end of course): Certificate showing you are inscribed on a course; if you have been on the course more than a year, additional evidence of the ‘real and serious’ nature of the studies and that you are following them ‘assiduously’; for those seeking the card étudiant – programme de mobilité, any document showing you are on a relevant EU scheme.

Permanent employees (four-year card): CDI contract; recent (last three months) payslip

Temporary employees (one-year card): CDD contract; recent payslip

Self-employed people (four-year card): Proof of being registered on the répertoire des métiers or registre du commerce et des sociétés, or proof of being registered with the SSI (former RSI), the social security body for independent workers. Proof of means, as in section above on Financial means.

Jobseekers and those seeking to start businesses (one-year card): Former students must show their diploma, obtained in the past year, from a French higher education body.

Those who are out of work, having previously worked should show an attestation of having registered as a jobseeker, payslips showing at least three months of work in the previous year, and evidence of having healthcare cover.

Those whose residency right is as a family member of another card holder: to obtain the vie privée et familiale card they need proof of the family link; for those financially dependent on another cardholder, proof of the financial and material support they provide; a copy of the other cardholder’s passport.

Where the link relied on has broken since Brexit (eg. if you got divorced) you should show evidence of this (eg. a divorce ruling).

Other categories including retirees/early-retirees…(one-year card): Those who are not entitled under the other headings may apply for a ‘visitor’ card, renewable annually.

They must demonstrate their means as mentioned above under Financial means, and evidence of healthcare cover.

Cost of cards

A ‘tax’ of €100 is payable. It is expected that there will be also an administration fee of €19, meaning the cards would cost €119 in total.

This is lower than previously expected and a ministry source said it comes in the context of a general plan to lower the standard costs of non-EU citizen cards from the previous legal requirements.

See also: Less paperwork for no-deal cards

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