Below we answer recent questions sent in by readers who are in the process of applying for a residency card for France under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. You can find answers to more questions from Britons living in France about applying on the Brexit residency card website in our new digital Brexit and Beyond Help Guide, available to download immediately.
I previously held a carte de séjour but cannot find it. How can I get a replacement or get numbers from it to apply?
Usually, when someone loses a carte de séjour, if you declare the loss to your prefecture and ask for a duplicate, it can supply one. The new online application asks for a scan of the card as well as figures from it (card number, on the right-hand side on recent cards or otherwise at the top right, and the issue and expiry dates) so it would be best to try to obtain a new card before using the site.
This may pose a problem if the card is an old, expired one. However, in all cases, speak to the prefecture. If all else fails, you should be able to provide alternative proof of your residency.
Our son is 24 but came here with us as a child. How can he prove he has lived in France for more than five years?
The website states that you can use any document to prove the date of moving to France, so there is flexibility. However, it notes also that those who came as minors should provide a document showing one of their parents’ date of ‘installation’ in France, so this could be the same one that you use for your application.
I used to have a residency card but it expired years ago. How can I apply for one of the new ones?
If you still have the card it is relevant to supply details of it in the application and a scan of the front, even if it has expired. The wording on the site asks for details of any card that you may 'have at your disposal'. Providing these details will replace the need for an alternative document proving when you moved to France.
However, anyone who has lived in France for more than five years can still apply for a permanent card under the new scheme without providing details of a previous card.
Do we have to provide any sworn translations for our application?
You may need to do so if your circumstances require you to provide a formal birth/marriage/death document such as a marriage or Pacs certificate (this is not required for most applications). For other documents, it is acceptable to provide an informal translation of the document, eg. one done by yourself. Unless documents are very self-explanatory it is best to provide translations of documents written in English.
What is the difference between a carte or titre de séjour, and a residency card?
There isn’t one. They are all used to refer to residency permits, which in their modern versions come as a small plastic card. The only one that will be relevant to Britons living in France before the end of 2020 is the new WA deal card for Britons.
The application site asked for a case file number – what is this?
You only need to provide this if you are adding to a previous application because the prefecture asked for more information or documents. Otherwise, click that it is your first application (this refers specifically to applications on this new site).
I took photos and had my fingerprints taken when I applied for an EU citizen’s card. Will I have to do it again?
It is most likely that yes, you will need to go again. Usually, a person needs to give new photos and fingerprints for every new French residency card.
What happens if someone is too frail to visit the prefectural office in person?
The Dordogne prefecture said that in such a case there would be solutions, such as staff taking portable equipment to the person to complete the formalities.
Why you should apply for a card sooner rather than later
One reason to apply for a new Brexit WA deal residency card sooner rather than later is that it is a good way to prove that you are a resident of France and not a tourist at the French border.
Other options for this, according to the European Commission (which says it has briefed member states and updated its Schengen border guards’ handbooks on this topic) include an email attestation showing you applied for a card, or a previous EU citizens’ carte de séjour. Other proof should also be acceptable and French Interior Ministry officials told The Connexion this could include a rental contract or utility bill.
On presenting proof at the border you should not need to have your passport stamped, the EU states in guidance to EU member states. As of early 2021 however, several readers reported French border guards are stamping their passports.
An immigration lawyer said it is a French national convention that non-EU passports are usually stamped, so this may be why it is happening. The British embassy does not expect a stamp to pose problems but to avoid confusion as to whether you are a visitor limited to staying 90 in 180 days – or not allowed entry at all in most cases under Covid rules – it is advised to present ‘proof’ of residency.