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Brexit and Britons in France: UK information campaign

A British public service information campaign launches today reminding people – including Britons in France – of key points to check as the end of the Brexit transition period approaches in five-and-a-half months' time.

The campaign called The UK’s new start: Let’s get going, aims to make sure individuals and businesses know the essential actions they need to take, most of which the UK says will apply whether or not a UK/EU ‘future relationship’ agreement is signed before the end of this year.

The British government says it will “ensure we are all ready to seize the opportunities available for the first time in nearly 50 years as a fully sovereign United Kingdom”.

It comes as it is now considered certain that the UK will leave the transition period from January 1, 2021, as the UK has refused to extend this and the deadline to do so has passed. During the transition period the UK, though no longer an EU member, remains temporarily in the EU’s single market and customs union, cushioning the country and Britons from Brexit’s practical effects.

The campaign will direct people towards an online checker tool at which will help you identify points to be aware of depending on your situation if you are a Briton who does business with the EU, a Briton who plans to travel to the EU or a Briton living in the EU.

For example, a retired British person living in France and who drives with a British driving licence and who plans to visit the UK in future and drive there will be reminded to:

  • Obtain an insurance green card before driving in the UK after the transition period with your EU-registered car or caravan. You could be fined during a trip to the UK if you have no acceptable proof of insurance.
  • Consult the UK government’s Living in France guide for information on applying to be a resident. Without this you may have to leave the country in which you live, the checker tool says. Also sign up for email updates from the page.
    As clarified on the French government’s site Britons will be able to apply online for a special card from October this year. Those who come next year however will need to obtain a long-stay visa from a French consulate before coming and then apply for one of several ordinary ‘third-country’ citizen residency cards depending on work status from a prefecture in France.
  • Exchange your UK licence for a French licence as “you will not be able to drive in the EU with a UK licence”. [Note: it is possible, but not certain, that France will pass a decree indefinitely extending the validity of British licences in France for those who are already residents, as it did in preparation for the the no-Withdrawal Agreement deal scenario last year. However this may not resolve the problem of how to obtain an international driving permit to be able to drive in other EU countries. At present this is possible for holders of UK licences, as for holders of other EU/EEA licences, but this may not be the case after this year]. 
    The French government has so far issued no information on the status of British licences next year and this is not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement deal
  • Get a French contrôle technique done for your car, if you have not done so already, as a British MOT certificate will not be recognised.
  • Check what you need to do to continue to access healthcare in France. [Note: if you are resident before the end of the year, you should maintain the status quo in this respect as it is covered by the Withdrawal Agreement deal].

Read more

Brexit information campaign: Owners of French second homes

Residency cards for Britons in France: Ministry updates

Two types of Brexit deal card for Britons - and site opens to swap British driving licences for French one

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