Brexit updates: residency cards, passport stamps, UK-France deliveries

Three solutions for UK nationals living in France, including what to do if 'La Poste' charge you to deliver a magazine from the UK

British passport and Robin Matson and his magazine
WA card holders do not need French border stamp and reader, Robin Matson, wrongly charged €9 by La Poste for UK magazine delivery
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It is now possible for holders of Withdrawal Agreement (WA) residency cards to use an online service to apply for a new card in the case of a change of details, such as a new address, or a lost card.

A government website will now accept numbers from WA cards for people to create an account on this online residency cards portal, which was not previously the case.

Use the numéro personnel at the bottom of the front of the card to do this.

There are plans to put all foreigners’ residency card application procedures online by the end of this year, reducing visits to prefectures.

Show your WA card at passport control to avoid stamp

The European Commission has restated its position that there is “little practical use” in passports of holders of Withdrawal Agreement cards being stamped at Schengen borders, after receiving letters on the issue from residents in several states, including France.

While it cannot impose this on member states, such as Romania and Ireland, which choose to stamp, it recommends guards do not stamp, as the purpose is to keep track of non-EU visitors subject to the 90-days rule. The Commission further states a stamp cannot affect cardholders’ right to stay.

It is not official French policy to stamp WA cardholders, but it reportedly happens sometimes.

Proactively showing your card and stating you do not need a stamp because you live in France is advised.

The Commission has also put out a reminder that holding the WA card does not prevent Britons from also benefiting from another immigration status for which they meet conditions, such as ‘EU long-term resident’, which confers limited EU free movement rights (in France, this would be the carte de résident de longue-durée UE).

Incorrect French charges on UK magazine postage

La Poste has clarified to The Connexion that receiving deliveries of a UK magazine to which you subscribe should not attract French VAT or customs and related admin charges. A spokeswoman said this can be seen as a form of correspondence, rather than ‘merchandise’, unless the magazine contains samples or goodies.

If you are charged fees, you can report this to its customer services on 3631 and/or take it up with the seller to see if they can help work out what has gone wrong, she said.

Reader Robin Matson told of his disappointment after being charged €9 by his postwoman for receiving a hi-fi magazine to which he has subscribed monthly for many years.

He said he refused the delivery and the magazine company subsequently cancelled his subscription and gave a pro rata refund.

Mr Matson, 85, from the Landes, said it was “extremely irritating”, and the fee had amounted to twice the value of the magazine.

“I’ve had a passion for hi-fi for around 60 years and music still sounds good if I turn the volume up. My French is only middling, so I’m loath to subscribe to a French magazine.”

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