What is waiting time for Britons in France for Brexit residency cards?
One reader reports still waiting to hear from their prefecture after 10 months… If you have heard nothing, what should you do?
Reader question: How long should applicants have to wait for a Brexit Withdrawal Agreement residency card? I applied shortly after the applications website opened in October last year, but still have not received an appointment from the Var sous-prefecture in Draguignan.
The time it takes between applying online for the residency permit and obtaining an appointment to give your photo and fingerprints can be anything from a few weeks to several months, depending on the prefecture. However it is unusual that you are still waiting, having applied in October last year.
One situation which can cause problems, though this does not seem to be the issue in your case, is if you moved house to a different department since applying, in which case people are asked to make a new application on the website, noting the address change in the further information section at the end.
In your case, or for anyone still waiting after several months, we suggest that you make contact with the sous-prefecture as soon as possible to enquire what has happened and ask if a date can be given for you to attend.
Many prefectures are currently not open to visitors without a formal appointment, so you may need to email them. Contact details can be found on prefectures’ websites (look for the section concerned with étrangers, immigration or titres de séjour).
For Draguingan an online contact form, an email address and a phone number can be found at this link under point two.
In view of the urgency we suggest telephoning them in the first instance since a phone number is provided, which is not the case at all prefectures.
Time is short, especially as the French government has not so far modified a law which states that all British residents in France benefitting from the Withdrawal Agreement (ie. living in France before the end of 2020) should by law hold one of the new permits by October 1, 2021 in order to remain in legal residence. This applies to anyone who does not hold dual French or another EU nationality.
It can take from a few weeks to a few months for the card to be posted out following the prefecture interview, however a senior official for the section of the French Interior Ministry dealing with residency matters told The Connexion in May: “Every application which has been registered on the internet platform will be dealt with in time by the appropriate prefecture of the declared place of residence, that is to say before October 1, 2021, so that the document gets to the person that needs it before it becomes obligatory to hold it.”
This should therefore apply in your case, however we note that since May the situation has become further complicated by the fact that the French have allowed Britons in France to continue to apply on the website following the original closure date of June 30, 2021, though without changing the October 1, 2021 date for the legal obligation to hold a card.
We have asked the Interior Ministry how this will be dealt with – for example, whether for those who have applied but have no card yet it will for the meantime continue to be acceptable to show the email confirmation of applying if asked for proof of residency rights.
While waiting to hear from your prefecture it is important to check your email inbox regularly – and your spam folder. The Connexion has heard of people being called to interview by email on the same day as receiving the email.
If emailing or phoning your prefecture, you should quote the registration number you were given on your original acknowledgment email from the Interior Ministry (email address includes @interieur.gouv.fr), which would have said Attestation d’enregistrement in the email title.
People with queries relating to an appointment they have been offered should quote the ‘GED’ dossier number from the email from their prefecture (its address would include the name of your department followed by .gouv.fr).
Another avenue of help with problems such as this is the organisations funded by the British government to help Britons in the EU with their applications, which have been allocated to different regions of France. In your case this is the Franco-British Network.
This body states explicitly on its website that it will chase up applications for people who applied before May 1, 2021 and still have not heard from their prefecture. You can request this on an online form.
For anyone who has been given a date for their prefecture interview in coming days and weeks we strongly suggest making it if at all possible, as experience suggests that rescheduling is sometimes difficult.