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Brexit updates: EU citizenship court case, S1s, attestations d’accueil

Our roundup includes better rules for UK pensioners’ S1 forms and a fight to re-establish Britons’ EU citizenship rights, with a hearing being held today at the European Court of Justice

EU citizenship court case, S1s, attestations d’accueil are among Brexit related updates Pic: lazyllama / Shutterstock

New S1 form rules

New rules on issuing S1 health forms to UK state pensioners moving to the EU have been announced after The Connexion flagged a problem to UK officials. 

S1 applications could previously only be made four weeks before leaving the country, and the S1s were sent to the new home in France, whereas French consular services have been asking to see them as part of visa applications. 

After we queried this last year with the NHS Business Services Authority, which issues the documents, a spokeswoman said she had passed the matter on to the Department of Health and Social Care, which was treating it as a priority.

The spokeswoman has now provided the following comment from the DHSC: “Following reports that UK individuals were experiencing difficulties providing proof of healthcare coverage as part of their visa applications, we have implemented an improvement to the S1 application process.

“Applicants will now be able to apply for an S1 90 days before they leave the UK and will be able to choose to have it sent to a UK address.”

The Connexion asked if a Ghic/Ehic card may be used by the S1 holders in France while waiting to get registered in the French system and we were initially told by NHSBSA that using a valid UK card of either type would be possible.

However, the spokeswoman later stated that the advice from DHSC is now that the S1 holders should use the Provisi­onal Replacement Certi­ficate service (PRC) instead, as and when they need healthcare. 

They can call 0044 (0)191 218 1999 to request one and it can be sent to them or a health establishment where they are being treated, by email, she said.

This is a temporary version of an Ehic/Ghic, giving the same rights, and lasts for the duration of the treatment or four weeks, whichever is shorter. If the treatment is longer than this, the person needs to apply for another one.

The NHSBSA spokeswoman said: “A PRC should only be applied for at the point of treatment (they can't be applied for in advance).”

UPDATE: These rules have now also been confirmed to The Connexion directly by the DHSC. A spokeswoman confirmed the point about PRCs, saying Ehics/Ghics should only be used on a temporary stay. She added that the change regarding 90 days and a UK address is now in place. 

Read more: Moving to France from UK: Catch-22 issue for pensioners and visa S1s

Court hearing today

First indications of whether a case seeking to re-establish Britons’ EU citizenship rights might succeed are awaited today (Thursday February 24) in hearing in the European Court of Justice, Luxembourg. 

The case is being brought on behalf of retired British civil servant Alice Bouilliez from Gers. 

The court’s general advocate is today to give views on the case, which argues that loss of citizenship caused harm. It seeks to restore rights, including voting and standing in local elections, and the status of EU citizen.

The full court often, but not always, follows the general advocate’s view. It will give a final ruling later this year.

Mrs Bouilliez and other ‘British Euro­pean’ members of the EU Britizens association, together with their lawyer Julien Fouchet, have made a video.

Read more: Date set for hearing on Britons’ EU citizenship case in ECJ

Host attestations for visiting Britons

Some readers report continuing concerns about the attestation d’accueil, which is often said to be needed by British visitors to the country, post-Brexit.

This is a paid-for document hosts can obtain at their mairie.

The Connexion was told by the Interior Ministry this is not essential if, should they be asked at the border, the visitor gives evidence of means of up to €120/day during the trip (in theory people with an attestation can be asked for €32.50).

The UK government confirms this.

It helps to carry an invitation from the host to stay at their address in a given period, the French ministry added.

In practice, we have not heard of Britons being asked to show their means or a letter, though they are sometimes asked the reason for their trip.

Read more: Attestation d’accueil for UK visitors to France: Is it needed or not?

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