The official website for Britons in France to apply for residency cards to remain legally in France is still open – but there is still no formal confirmation as to whether the June 30 deadline is being extended or not.
If not, any applications now will be considered to have been made 'late'.
As a result eligible Britons are still being encouraged to apply on the website if they missed the June 30 deadline. The UK's foreign office advises they do so as soon as possible and now explain in the notes section of the application why they missed the deadline.
The Ministry of the Interior has today confirmed officially that the website will stay open until September 30 'to allow registration of applications which could not have been registered within the timeframe allowed for'.
It comes as around ten prefectures are known to have communicated to local residents in the past week that the June 30 application deadline was being extended to September 30. This was confirmed to The Connexion and other media on June 24 by Interior Ministry officials, but this has not so far been legally formalised or subject of an official government announcement nationally.
Some prefectures, which represent the national state in their department, have also referred to a new deadline of January 1, 2022 instead of October 1, 2021 for the legal obligation to possess one of the new Withdrawal Agreement (WA) residency cards. This is still the case today for the website of the prefecture of Ain in eastern France.
France 3 also confirmed the extension to September 30 in a report yesterday in which Creuse prefecture (one of those which has communicated about an extension) was quoted saying it had expected 800 applications but had received 2,500 so far.
Despite this, no new decree on this has been published in Le Journal Officiel, France’s journal of record for state announcements and new laws. The Connexion understands therefore that a decree published in November 2020 remains in force.
This stated that the deadline for applications was June 30 and that, as required in the WA, late applications received after that will be considered on a case by case basis, if they are made in a ‘reasonable’ time and giving a ‘legitimate reason’ for why the original deadline was missed.
The British in Europe coalition of campaign groups has been among those calling for clarity in recent days.
The legal requirement to apply for a WA residency card by a deadline relates to Britons who can show they were living in France as their home by December 31, 2020, as well as other non-EU national family members who live with them and have up until now relied on their EU citizen status for their legal residency in France.
In future all Britons, now considered non-EU citizens, will have to have some form of visa and/or a residency card. Newcomers will go through the ordinary systems for non-EU citizens, whereas the WA card is specifically intended to maintain the main rights of those Britons who were previously living in France with pre-Brexit, EU citizen’s rights and without an obligation to hold a residency card.
Around half of EU states opted for a system where WA Britons are not obliged to apply for a card to maintain legal residency under the deal. Among the others only France, Latvia and Malta have at present maintained the date of June 30, while the others are September 30 or the end of the year.
The latest figure given to The Connexion by the Interior Ministry for applications for the new cards was 146,912 as of June 11.
It is unknown exactly how many Britons live in France and are required to have a card. This includes all those aged over 18 and without French or another EU nationality, including those married to EU citizens and those who hold EU citizens’ residency cards. Those with another EU nationality, but who are not French, can apply for a card if they want one as proof of certain rights.
An Insee study of Britons in France in 2016 estimated there were 148,000 (including minors, but not including French citizens), based on census reports, however this is widely thought to be an underestimate. In 2010 the then British ambassador told The Connexion they had a ‘working figure’ of 400-500,000 Britons living in France.