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Carte de séjour refused to Briton due to low income

A reader from north west France who runs a gardening business as a micro-entrepreneur has been refused a carte de séjour because her income is too low.

She asked to remain anonymous but told Connexion her income was reduced in recent years due to illness and she has survived on money from a charity.

She now faces two problems: refusal on grounds of her low, irregular income, plus the fact that France does not treat financial help from charities as “real and stable” income for residency (more positively, such income is also not taxed and does not count against the right to benefits).

She said: “I’ve enough in the bank but because France thinks charity money is a gift and not guaranteed, I fall short.”

She claims officials are “making up rules as they go along” on what income is acceptable and is appealing, giving proof that her income is now higher. If that fails she plans to apply to ec.europa.eu/solvit. She said she knows of Britons who are afraid of being told to leave France if they are turned down for cards.

An expert from the Interior Ministry’s immigration section said there is no specific minimum income but prefectures must check if income of the self-employed is “regular, real, and lasting”.

He said people may be asked to show, for example, registration with the chamber of commerce or trade, a social security body for the self-employed, insurance, a professional lease, purchase invoices, sales or services contracts, turnover declarations or accounts books – whichever of these is most appropriate for the business type.

Christopher Chantrey, of the charity British Community Committee, said some prefectures have used the level of France’s RSA income support benefit as a minimum requirement but that this is not the correct method.

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