Further analysis of the new decree published yesterday has clarified that the usual requirement for residency cards of showing proof – usually a utilities bill – for every six months you have lived in France does not appear in the lists of documents required.
Some Britons applying for residency cards as EU citizens have struggled with this requirement which, even where people have access to them, requires plenty of photocopying of their archive documents.
Instead the new decree simply says that those who ‘have never had a residency card’ in France will have to provide ‘a document establishing the date of moving to France’.
British Community Committee of France vice-chairman Christopher Chantrey said this suggests that all that would be needed is either to have previously had a carte de séjour of some kind – whether recently or prior to the early 2000s when they were obligatory – or to present any document which can show when you became established as a resident of France. He said this might perhaps include your first tax statement, a rental contract or home purchase deed, proof of joining Cpam and receiving a social security number, letter of appointment to a job etc.
“While we have encouraged people to apply for the current cartes de séjour, the actual requirements are less in the no-deal Brexit decree,” he said. “Some people have previously had great difficulty with getting the justificatifs, the documents proving ongoing residency for every six months.”
Mr Chantrey speculated that this lightening of the requirements may be so as to speed things up at prefectures.
An Interior Ministry source said in theory any legal or administrative document might do. He added that a person who has been renting in France would not, therefore, have to show a lot of rent receipt slips over the years, but just their contract and the first receipt, though they might also be asked for the last one so as to avoid people who spent a month in France in a previous year pretending to have been there for more than five. The source added however that a first French avis d'imposition showing a French address (and not as a non-resident) may prove to be the simplest and most reliable option.
This comes on top of the fact that the no-deal rules in the new decree include a number of other simplifications compared to what is normally required for these ‘third country’ (non-EU) citizen cards, including lower-than-usual income requirements and exemptions for disabled people from these.
At present the advice from the French government is that – while it is still a right if you wish – there is little point in applying for a residency card as an EU citizen at this stage if you have not already done so, as if you have not received the card before Brexit then the application will become invalid once France considers you have become a non-EU citizen.
Having said which a ministry source previously told Connexion that should this happen to you, when putting in a new application for a non-EU citizen card you should be able to ask officials to make use of the same pièces (or justificatifs), ie. supporting documents that you put in for the EU card.
For those who already have EU citizen cards they will help with obtaining new cards in the case of no-deal, as a séjour permanent one allows for a simple swap for a non-EU citizen carte de résident de longue durée-UE, and a temporary EU citizen's card, while not allowing a straight swap, allows for some simplification of the paperwork for an equivalent non-EU card.
French officials first stated in February 2018 that they planned to allow a simple swap for people holding the carte de séjour – séjour permanent as EU citizens and obtaining one has also been recommended by the British Embassy in Paris. Connexion first highlighted the usefulness of the cards in March 2016 when two EU law experts said they would be the best and possible only protection for Britons’ rights if Brexit occurred.
Connexion is seeking further information on what kinds of documents would be suitable to prove the date of moving to France.
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