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UK and EU on verge of Brexit trade deal

The vice-chairman of an umbrella association representing several British groups in France said news of a deal is positive but he is waiting for more details

The news that the EU and the UK look set to agree on an eleventh-hour trade deal this morning has been welcomed by Christopher Chantrey, vice-chairman of the British Community Committee of France. He said he would be “very pleased” if a deal is agreed but is waiting to find out what it entails.  

The trade agreement is expected to be announced later today (December 24) after discussion between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. It comes four-and-a-half years after the UK voted to leave the EU and one week before the end of a transition period during which the UK remains a member of the customs union and single market.

The main element of the deal will establish the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU. It will end the prospect of a “no-deal scenario” and the two sides imposing widespread import taxes - tariffs - on each other's goods from January 1.

Any potential deal agreed today will still need to be ratified by the British parliament and European parliament. It is thought that the European parliament will not have time to ratify it before January 1, so any agreement today is likely to be provisional and will be approved retrospectively after the end of the transition period. 

Aside from the main trade deal, there are other points that could be included in the talks that will affect British people travelling to France from after the New Year. 

This includes data security, the Erasmus education exchange programme, pensions for Britons moving to EU countries after January 1 and the European Health Insurance Cards (Ehics) - read more about that here

UK driving licences will still be valid in France in 2021

For UK citizens currently living in France who have applied for Withdrawal Agreement (WA) deal residency cards, the outcome of today’s deal is unlikely to change anything. 

You can read more about the process of applying for the WA residency cards here

Regardless of any Brexit deal today, there will be new rules for UK citizens moving to France from January 1. 

If you are moving in 2021 and after

Rules for establishing residency in France will be different and aligned with those for other non-EU citizens. Bear in mind that it is possible that UK state pensions will be frozen when you relocate and it will probably not be possible to ‘export’ British disability benefits.


To stay longer than three months in France, you will need a visa from the French consular service in the UK. See this website for more on how to apply. Once you have a visa and come to live in France, you will have to apply for a non-EU citizen’s residency card. The name of the card, the requirements, the rights conferred by it (eg. whether you are able to work) and how long it lasts before you must apply for renewal all depend on factors such as status (worker, retiree, student…), income, qualifications and work sector.

More details on types of residency card are at


You will need to show a certain level of income – for retirees, this is at least €1,219 a month per person – or have a work contract in France, or a sound business project, with at least €30,000 to invest in it.


For healthcare, you will be covered by work. If not working you will be expected to join the French system under the Puma scheme. Depending on income levels you may need to pay an annual fee for this.

Read more:

Do Brexit rules require me to be in France on December 31?

Brexit checklist to complete before December 31

Flexibility on France 90-day visa after Brexit is 'possible'

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Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
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