Take part in survey to help secure post-Brexit rights

residency card rights for expats in Frnace
A 'permanent stay' carte de séjour is expected to help secure rights after Brexit

Any Britons living in France who have applied for a carte de séjour to help secure rights after Brexit, intend to do so or have decided not to, are invited to take part in a survey which will help EU officials consider post-Brexit registration procedures for Britons in the EU.

The survey is being organised by campaigners from British in Europe (BiE), the expat rights coalition formed due to Brexit, and can be found at this link.

Submissions close on Wednesday May 9. It is in two parts, one for those who have not yet applied but are preparing to and one for those who have applied. Those not intending to apply are also invited to say why.

BiE say they will pass the information to the EU Commission and Council and to the French Interior Ministry.

This comes as the European Commission is organising a technical seminar at the end of the month at which the EU will consider ideas about how Brits can be registered to prove their rights under the ‘Brexit deal’ (Connexion asked if this means they are aiming for a unified approach to the process, but no details were available).

The French Interior Ministry recently urged Britons to apply for cards now so as to prove their rights and get into the system, telling BiE representatives that they do not want a glut of applications after Brexit and that they have been communicating with the network of prefectures.

At present the draft ‘deal’ states that existing British expats in the EU will be able to retain most of their key rights (though issues remain such as lack of future free movement to other countries), as long as they are in stable, legal residence in the country where they live.

Under the deal, countries are allowed to apply the same rules in checking this stable, legal residence as for a ‘permanent stay’ carte de séjour, though people who have been in their countries for less the five years required for this would be allowed to stay to accrue this period.

The deal says that countries may require Britons to apply for residence cards to formalise these rights, but adds that if they do so then people who already have permanent stay cards as EU citizens should be offered a quick, simple exchange.

Connexion has advised applying for such cards since March 2016 when legal experts told us they would be the only likely protection in the event of a Brexit vote and especially since Britain’s vote to leave.

Unfortunately our staff and readers’ experiences have been very mixed, with some prefectures apparently unfamiliar with procedures for EU citizens such as Britons as they have not been obliged to have cards in France since 2004. Some Britons even reported being told that as EU citizens they cannot apply for cards or that Britons could not apply pending the Brexit negotiations (neither of which are correct).

People who have been in France more than five years have a right to a ‘permanent stay’ card and those who have been in France between three months and five years may apply for an ordinary card.

BiE president Jane Golding said they will be asking EU officials to opt for ‘declaratory’ registration systems – probably maintaining those in place now – that is to say certifying rights already held as opposed to Britons having to request to be granted a new right.

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