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What are the rights to be negotiated in Brexit talks?

The following are among areas where there may be changes, depending on the exit talks


There are questions over ‘exportability’ of UK benefits such as PIP disability benefit (former DLA) or ESA (former long-term incapacity benefit), and access to French benefits, which may become more restricted.

Britons might be required to apply for cartes de séjour. Ones currently issued to foreign nationals vary in length and purpose, depending on a person’s status, whether working or retired, in a highly sought-after profession or not.

Britons wanting to live in France – especially newcomers – might need to show a required skill or sufficient resources so as not to be a burden on the social security system. However, even with sufficient means it can be hard for non-EU retirees to gain the right to become French residents.

As for workers, ordinary foreign applicants usually apply for individual permits (a spouse applies separately) and can only bring the rest of the family after five years by applying for regroupement familial. Those in high-level jobs may receive other arrangements.


The present system of ‘S1’ cards, where the UK pays for the holder’s healthcare in the EU will be renegotiated, as will rights for Britons living in France to access non-emergency NHS care on UK trips.

State pensions

Expats’ UK pensions may be frozen as in countries like Australia or Canada. They may no longer benefit from the ‘EU pension’ system which coodinates rights across Europe and may result in more money overall or exemption from such problems as the fact that a British pension pays nothing if you contributed for less than 10 years.


The UK-France double tax treaty is not an EU issue and thus is not affected. Financial advisor Robert Kent said: “It should not change unless France feels the need to punish the UK, cancelling the convention.”

Donations to British charities might no longer be tax deductible from French income tax.

Social charges

These may be levied on UK pensions, if the exemption is not renegotiated.


The 40% allowance for EU-based share dividends may no longer apply to UK shares.

Work permits

Non-EU foreigners normally need permission and must have a document to prove this, such as a residence permit of a kind explicitly allowing work or a separate work permit, while the self-employed need a carte de commerçant.


It may be harder for UK ones to be accepted as mutual recognition rules would not apply. Access to some professions may be limited.


The rights of French residents to study in the UK under the Erasmus scheme – and vice versa – will need to be reviewed, as will fees for students from France wanting to do full courses at UK universities and access to UK student loans.


Britons will probably be known as étrangers (foreigners) rather than Européens unless the UK stays part of the European Economic Area. They may have to change their EU passports.


Britons will probably in future not be able to vote (or stand) in mairie elections or vote for an MEP. British councillors may have to step down.


UK licences may have to be exchanged for French ones.

2015 Inheritance law change

This is not affected. France allows non-EU nationals to opt to use the laws of their home country.

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