UK jockey gets French residency card meeting after public complaint

James Reveley tells us about ordeals to obtain a titre de séjour after victory in prestigious ‘president’s race’ in Paris

A view of James Reveley riding a horse during a race at Auteuil, Paris, 2016
Jockey James Reveley hope to hear about his residency permit in the next month
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An English jockey who daringly asked about obtaining a French residency permit after winning a prestigious race in France has now had an appointment at his local prefecture and may soon have the card.

James Reveley made headlines after his victory in the Prix du président race on Sunday (April 21), after he used a post-race interview to indirectly ask president Emmanuel Macron why he had not been able to obtain a residency permit. He said he paid a lot in tax to the country.

Read more: UK jockey wins French race - then asks Macron about his residency card

Mr Reveley told The Connexion on Friday (April 26) how he received an appointment from his local prefecture in the Oise department four days after his comments.

He was contacted by a member of the prefecture, who offered him a slot on Wednesday morning (April 24).

"The case is now pending... and I'm hoping to hear from [the authorities] in the next month or so," he said.

He is hoping to to obtain a 10-year titre de séjour, or residency card, due to the amount of time he has already been living in the country.

Read more: How will new border checks affect British residents of France? 

However, Mr Reveley said the appointment came directly from somebody at the prefecture, and he had not been contacted by anyone from the Élysée (the president nor his staff).

"I was surprised and not surprised [about how fast an appointment was scheduled]," he said.

"I expected something would come of it from the attention it generated but to get a call from the prefecture so early, I wasn't expecting that." 

Jockey wants the card for better health coverage 

The jockey, who has raced in the Grand National in the UK, said one of the main reasons he wants to obtain a residency permit is for health coverage.

“If I go to hospital, I'm not necessarily covered, I get bills from the hospital. I need this residence permit to be able to practise my profession in peace,” he told BFMTV.

Obtaining a residency permit will help him sign up to the social security system in France, as without one, he cannot get a social security number nor his carte Vitale.

Currently, he is covered by insurance through the MSA (Mutualité Sociale Agricole) whilst racing.

The jockey has been living in France full time since 2016, however he did not get around to applying for the Withdrawal Agreement card available to all Britons living in France at the time of Brexit. 

He has a French wife and two children but this has not helped him with previous applications, the last of which was in December 2023. 

Previous applications for a residency permit had hit stumbling blocks. 

Permit will also help him buy a home

Alongside the healthcare benefits of the card, receiving a  titre de séjour will also clear up his status whilst living in the country, and grant him access to credit options, that he is currently blocked from.

When we asked about how he is residing in the country currently  — and whether he needs to return to the UK often under the 90/180 day ruling  — Mr Reveley said he "was not sure" on the rules.

"Officially, I probably would have to [return to the UK, but] I have had nothing blocked from a work perspective," he said. 

However, he said he has "been refused a mortgage, and on a loan to buy a car," due to not having a residency permit.

His next race will be on May 19 when he will take part in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris on the aptly named steed ‘Il est Francais’. 

Read more: How is a French ‘carte de résident’ different to a ‘carte de séjour’?