100 British and 70 Americans ordered to leave France during 2023

Expulsion numbers of UK citizens have almost doubled compared to the same period the previous year

An official letter asks the person to leave within 30 days, although an appeal process exists
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One hundred Britons were ordered to leave France in the first nine months of 2023, EU figures show.

This compared to 55 in the same period in 2022 and 25 in 2021.

Eurostat figures are not available before that as it was pre-Brexit and they are only for non-EU citizens.

It is less common for EU citizens to be asked to leave due to their protected status and the fact that they do not routinely apply for residency cards.

A total of 70 Americans were also told to leave in the first nine months of 2023.

No breakdown of reasons for the demands is given in the EU figures, and some are likely to have been successfully appealed.

Read more: Can Americans stay in France for 90 extra days due to 1949 agreement?

Official letter asks people to leave France within 30 days

While the figures might appear high, the total number of non-EU citizens ordered to leave France was more than 100,000 in this period, far more than any country in the EU.

There are known to be around 150,000 Britons living in France.

The formality for people to be required to leave is a letter called an obligation de quitter le territoire français (OQTF).

It usually asks the person to leave within 30 days, although an appeal process exists.

Read more: What is a OQTF order to leave France?

Why are people expelled from France?

One possible reason for an OQTF could be living in France ‘undocumented’ without having applied in time for Brexit Withdrawal Agreement cards and without giving a strong reason for applying late.

Others could include Britons who came post-Brexit and are considered to no longer fulfil visa requirements to stay on ordinary residency cards.

This could be because they are no longer doing the kind of work they obtained a visa for, did not have the expected income from a business, or fell below levels – roughly equivalent to the French minimum wage – required to stay as a retiree.

The La Cimade association, which helps migrants, said OQTFs are often given when someone tries to apply for or renew a card.

Those with Brexit WA cards benefit from a secure status in recognition that they moved to France as EU citizens but other Britons are treated the same as any third-country citizen.

Belgian couple had out-of-date language certificates

Several media reports claim a Belgian couple from the Drôme were refused French nationality on the grounds that their French was not good enough, in an apparent snub to their Belgian French.

However, the prefecture denies this, saying the reason was that language test certificates they supplied for their application were out of date.

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