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British Ambassador: We're working on Christmas travel plans

Every month the British Ambassador to France, Ed Llewellyn, shares an insight into his role. Here, read his column for November.

As we approach the end of the transition period, I’m pleased that the French government has now launched its online system so that British citizens here can apply for their residency cards.

British people need to apply for a new residency permit, whether you’ve been here for six months or 60 years

You will have until the end of June next year to apply and until October 1, 2021 to receive your card. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read more on our or social media channels, here are a few important points to note:

  1. If you have been living in France for over five years, you will be eligible for permanent residency and a 10-year renewable residency permit.
  2. If you have been living in France for fewer than five years, you will be eligible for a card with five years’ validity. You will need, though, to provide evidence of your personal situation as a worker, self-sufficient person, student, jobseeker or a family member of an eligible Briton.

The system is straightforward and simple. I anticipate that the vast majority of British people living in France should be able to make their application without difficulty, but if you think you will have trouble applying, please consider getting in touch with one of the four organisations we’re funding to support you. There is a lot of information about the process in The Connexion and on our website – do take a look.

Read more: Britons' French Brexit residency cards: How to apply

Read more: Residency card application Q&A: Your questions answered

Read more: Britons’ Brexit residency site: Good and bad news

Unfortunately, Covid restrictions have disrupted many of our plans for outreach in France, so I was delighted to host our first online outreach meeting last week. Several hundred people joined the Embassy team and our colleagues from the French Interior Ministry for an update.

Though much of this information is accessible online, I was pleased to be out there hearing from you directly. We will be advertising new dates shortly and I hope to see many of you there. In the meantime, managing the effects of the pandemic continues to dominate our work.

France has set new curfews and restrictions, for departments as well as big cities, and we’re looking closely at what that means for you.

In particular, I know that many of us are thinking about plans for Christmas.

The good news is that the British government has set up a task force to look at how testing can support safe travel but, for now, the quarantine measures remain in place.

Transition and Covid aside, the start of November sees the 10-year anniversary of the Lancaster House Treaties, signed in London by prime minister David Cameron and president Nicolas Sarkozy. Having been at the signing in London 10 years ago, I’m particularly pleased to be marking it in France – and to see how the accords underpin our defence cooperation today.

The treaties ensure mutual military cooperation between the UK and France, which has gone from strength to strength.

If you’d like to find out more, then do look out my interview with the French Ambassador to the UK, Catherine Colonna, in the French National Defence Review.

The Embassy then moves into our annual Remembrance activities – always a very moving and poignant time of year. If you can, please do consider supporting the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal.

As I write, France is in shock following the brutal murder of the teacher Samuel Paty. The UK stands four-square with our French friends following this horrific attack – a reminder of the values which we share and cherish, including freedom of expression. We must defend them today – and in the future – just as we have defended our liberty alongside each other in the past. Stay safe.

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Ed Llewellyn's October column: Better times lie ahead in France

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