Britons’ Brexit residency site: Good and bad news

The new French application process has been mostly well-received but there are some points which are not all positive

20 October 2020
By Liv Rowland

The new French website for applications for Britons’ residency cards has been welcomed by many Connexion readers as simple to use.

The new site also includes some important simplifications compared to the requirements on the website that was open last year for the cards that would have been needed in the ‘no Withdrawal Agreement (WA) deal’ scenario.

Note that applications made on that previous site are being forwarded to prefectures for processing with no new application being required - unless you have moved house and changed departments since then.

However there are some issues with the new site that have arisen, some minor, some potentially more worrying, in particular surrounding levels of income required by over-65s who have lived in France for less than five years.

The Connexion has flagged up the latter to the Interior Ministry and we understand that one of the British in Europe campaign groups is also raising this with them.

The good news

There is good news especially for those living in France for more than five years, who are now not asked to show documentary proof of healthcare cover or to show evidence related to their work status or income levels.

They only have to provide (at the most) a document showing when they became established in France and a document showing that they are currently living in France, plus their passport. More details and examples of documents you may be asked for depending on category are shown here. 

There is also good news for anyone married to a French person, who is automatically entitled to a ‘permanent’ card, or pacsed to one, which gives entitlement to a five-year temporary card (at least).

These aspects are new and more favourable compared to the rules offered last year, which were based on a government decree aiming to simplify the issuing of ordinary ‘non-EU citizen’ residency cards to Britons in the case of no WA deal.

The bad news

One less positive aspect is the means tests now listed as being applied to those who have lived in France for less than five years.

The new website states that those of working age should show incomes equivalent to the RSA income support benefit equivalent to their family situation. For example this is €565/month for a single person, or €847 for a couple with no dependent children, or €1,017/month for a couple with one child, then rising with family size. This is the same as in the no-deal scenario or for those applying for (optional) cartes de séjour for EU citizens. An Interior Ministry official said yesterday the calculation should not include 'welfare benefits'.

We presume – but have asked the ministry for confirmation – that in this case providing documents showing the income of the household, not the individual alone is relevant.

In the case of over-65s, however, the website says that the level required to be shown is that of the Aspa pension top-up benefit. This is €903/month for a single person or €1,402/month for a couple. 

Usually when calculating incomes with regard to Aspa, such sources as family gifts and disability benefits are not counted as income, but only pensions, investments, income from part-time jobs etc.

This is the same as the requirements for EU citizens' optional cartes de séjour but appears to be in contrast to the rules mentioned under the no-deal scenario last year, where the amount of the RSA was referred to as the benchmark income level for all economically ‘inactive’ people.

Also, we note that the new website does not mention an exemption from proof of means for recipients of the AAH and ASI disability benefits, that was accorded under the no-deal scenario.

However an Interior Ministry official told journalists yesterday that prefectures will be asked to interpret the means test rules in a 'generous' way, and that they will be asked to be especially flexible if people own their home.

There are a few minor categories of 'inactive people' living in France for less than five years who, under the new rules, are excluded from needing to show proof of means (or healthcare) in the new application and they are listed on the link given above for types of documents.

For example they include: people who were working in France until recently and have just retired, and those who worked in France previously but were then declared incapable of work due to accident or illness.

Minor points

  • Some readers have been confused by the requirement at the start of the application to click as to whether this is your first application for a residency card on this site or not. This question refers specifically to applications on this new site. You should click that it is your first application unless you were asked by your prefecture to provide supplementary information and are logging in again to do this. This question does not relate to whether or not you have applied for or held a French residency card before.
                           
  • If you are in the situation of needing to prove your income but are worried it is low, the Interior Ministry told journalists yesterday that prefectures will interpret the rules especially flexibly and generously if you own your home. You should therefore mention this if relevant in the extra information box at the end of the application.
                                             
  • There are a few translation issues with the site if you are using the version in English. For example on the page where you are asked to give your surname, the term ‘birth name’ is used – meaning your surname at birth. However the line below asks for ‘username if different’ – this refers in French to nom d’usage and means for example your husband’s surname if you are a married woman who uses this in daily life. In the section for supplying your address numéro de voie (road/street name) has been translated as ‘channel number’ and lieu dit (meaning a hamlet, ie. if you live in a small area that has a name but is not a commune to itself) is translated as ‘locality’.
                      

Do you have any comments, good or bad, about the experience of using the new website? Let us know at news@connexionfrance.com

Previous articles

Britons' French Brexit residency cards - how to apply

Will France extend date to apply for Britons' French residency cards?
Brexit: New residency cards will be sent directly to your home

Find out more about preparing for Brexit in our updated Brexit and Britons in France Help Guide

In our comprehensive help guide, you'll find information on what Brexit means for British residents, second homeowners and visitors in France - now and after December 31, 2020. Recently updated following on from the delay of the new residence card website for Britons (set to launch in October), the 64-page guide outlines what you need to do as Britain leaves the EU. We answer reader questions on whether second homeowners can spend more than 90 days in France after Brexit, would you be better covered for healthcare by becoming French, future guidance on pet vaccinations and more. Buy the guide here.

More questions from the Brexit helpguide

Can I still move freely in Schengen Zone?

Will French blue badges still be valid in UK?

Will inheritance law be affected?

Will the Erasmus study scheme continue for Britons?

Will I need a new passport?

Will Britons need visas to visit France?

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