New delay to Brexit buys you more time

BREXIT has been postponed – but that just gives more time and does not mean Britons in France should stop preparing for it.

1 May 2019
By Oliver Rowland

Former British ambassador to France Lord Ricketts says time could soon run out, leaving us in the same situation as before on the new date of October 31.

Brexit could also still happen earlier if an agreed deal is passed by the UK Parliament.

Britons with a carte de séjour as EU citizens have a safety net.

This especially applies to séjour permanent cards, which can be swapped for a non-EU citizen’s long-term residency card in a no-deal, or for the new card which will be issued to Britons in the case of a deal. Shorter-term cards will simplify the paperwork required later.

In a no-deal, all Britons would need to apply for cards within six months and obtain one within a year. If the deal is agreed, applications must be made by July 2021.

A British Embassy spokeswoman, when asked if they continue to recommend Britons apply for cards, said it is still a right.

She noted, however, that as applications will be under a new system after Brexit, some prefectures have cancelled or postponed appointments while waiting for this.

The embassy is seeking clarity from the French government on the next steps. An Interior Ministry source said France is working on a new online system for applications from Britons. He said applying for a card  before Brexit remains a good idea if it looks likely to be delayed to October 31.

No information has been given on what happens to applications which are still being processed at the new deadline time.

As a minimum, it is advisable to check the paperwork required for an application. For what would be needed in a no-deal and a deal, see the Brexit section of our website.

France has agreed that in a no-deal, Britons already here can keep driving on UK licences indefinitely.

It comes after the French stopped processing swaps for Britons in the run-up to the previous March 29 Brexit date, apart from where a swap is obligatory – for example, due to a driving offence.

The embassy said it is still advisable to swap at some point in the future. For a list of other ways to get your affairs in order, see tinyurl.com/yxvnr8qu.

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