What to do to get ready for Brexit

THERE are many areas of life that could be affected by a no-deal and various ways to prepare. 

There is in-depth information on this in our Brexit and Britons in France helpguide – you can order a copy at the helpguide section of our website or by calling +33 (0)6 40 55 71 63.

Other sources of help include the Brexit section of connexionfrance.com, campaigners’ website britishineurope.org and sites of their individual groups such as remaininfrance.org and brexpatshov.com

We recommend anyone eligible to vote in UK general elections ensures their voter registration is up to date and that they have made known their choice of voting option, which includes postal or proxy. This will be important if there is another snap general election or referendum. If in doubt get in touch with the elections service at the British constituency where you were last registered. You can register at gov.uk/register-to-vote

Other key points to prepare include:

  • Make sure you have been filing your annual tax returns with the tax office if you are a full-time resident of France. If not, as stated in the tint box above, many Britons have found their tax office to be understanding if people explain they have made a genuine mistake. 
  • If you have not applied for a carte de séjour yet, do so. Some people report smooth, painless experiences, others report difficulties and delays. If your experience is of the latter kind, do not give up but make use of the various avenues available (see also letters, page 16). A carte is the best way to prove your right to stay, whether or not there is a deal (unless you have French or another EU nationality). Also tell the embassy of problems via this contact form.
             
  • If you are disabled or elderly and live in an area with a queuing system call your prefecture and explain the problem and ask for them to make an exception and see you at a set time. We recently gave this advice to a reader and it worked.
           
  • If you drive in France with a UK licence, apply to change it for a French one. Delays are reported (see our September edition) but officials say they are working to cut waiting to three or four months. If there is no deal a British licence would be invalid in France without a British international driving licence (for which you need a UK address) or a sworn translation. It would also be valid for a maximum of a year, apart from for holiday visitors. The UK says French licences would still be valid to use in the UK.
         
  • If you have a UK passport coming up for renewal, renew it quickly. Britons travelling in the EU on a passport with less than six months to run could be stopped at the border after a no-deal, whereas they would previously have been let through. The UK now no longer allows people to renew up to nine months early without losing months off the new passport, so your new one will not last a full 10 years. UK passports printed between March 30, 2019 and the launch of blue passports (possibly later in 2019) will look similar but will not say ‘European Union’.
         
  • Take legal advice if you are involved in cross-border disputes between the UK and France (child custody for example). The UK confirms that many rules on mutual recognition of court judgements and judicial cooperation would no longer apply in a ‘no deal’. It says it will seek to give certainty to firms, families and individuals involved in cases on Brexit day and broadly-speaking, as far as the UK is concerned, current rules will apply to those cases. However it cannot guaranteed that EU courts will follow this or that they will recognise resulting judgements.
        
  • If you receive income in sterling, consider taking financial advice as to any ways to ‘Brexit proof’ it as much as possible against possible currency swings.
         
  • If you are not in the French health system consider applying to join Puma on residency grounds.
          
  • If you have British qualifications that you rely on for the work you do in France, seek official recognition of your certificate before the UK leaves the EU.
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