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Must I cancel my 10-year carte de séjour if I am returning to the UK?

We look at the rules for people with residency rights in France who intend to leave the country before their permit expires

We look at the rules for people with residency in France who intend to leave the country before their permit expires Pic: Diego Barbieri / Shutterstock

Reader Question: If I have a 10-year Withdrawal Agreement (WA) carte de séjour but plan to return to the UK to live, do I need to cancel the residence permit when I do so? 

If you have a 10-year WA carte de séjour, then, according to the WA treaty your right to residency in France would only be lost after five consecutive years of absence from French territory, so there is no expectation that you must give it up on leaving the country.

An Interior Ministry spokesperson previously told The Connexion: “The person should keep their card and ensure they come back at least once in five years [if they want to keep their residency rights in France].

“In this case, they should stay in France for sufficiently long for it to be considered that their absence from French territory has ended.”

We have queried what counts as ‘sufficiently long’, however a European Commission spokesman previously told us that, in EU law, ‘absence’ is to be taken literally, without conditions.

If you move home within France, you must apply online to update your address on your WA card within three months although several people have reported problems with the online process to do this.

Read more: How do I change the address on my French carte de séjour?

If you intend to leave France and return to the UK to live, you should (of course) notify the tax and health authorities. 

Once you have re-established your main place of residence as being the UK, you will stop being taxed on your worldwide income in France and begin to be taxed in the UK again.

Read also: The truth about French tax residency – forget preconceived ideas

If you do not hold a 10-year residency permit but a temporary, five-year card, then, according to the WA treaty, you risk losing your right to convert this to a permanent residency card later if you are away from France for longer than six months in any 12-month period from the date you gave for the start of your residency. 

The treaty says this rule may not apply, however, if there are exceptional reasons for being away for longer.

Related articles 

Can you hold a carte de séjour for France while living in the UK?

France or UK: Are you paying your taxes in the right country?

Resident or second-home owner in France?
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