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BREXIT

Europe & You: Boris our ‘best chance to stop Brexit’, EU Green Cards and cash for residency appointments

Our weekly Europe & You newsletter rounds up the most relevant stories from around our countries related to Brexit, the EU and other areas of interest. Here's the latest edition featuring Boris Johnson, an EU Green Card scheme, cash for residency appointments and many other stories.

Europe & You: Boris our 'best chance to stop Brexit', EU Green Cards and cash for residency appointments
Photo: AFP

Hi to all our readers,

Do you have any preferences on who becomes the next leader of the Conservative Party?

Many of the contenders are openly campaigning for a no-deal Brexit, perhaps unsurprising given that a poll of Tory members – who get to vote on who becomes the next PM – revealed a majority back leaving the EU with no deal.

What about Boris Johnson for PM? While the idea that BoJo could be the next leader of the country might make you wince – he said we are leaving the EU on October 31st “with or without a deal” – this opinion article might make you change your mind.

AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he fully accepted his “bad guy” role in insisting on a shorter extension to Britain's tortuous exit from the EU, while insisting that October 31st is the “final, final deadline.” Here's what he had to say.

How would the idea of a European Green Card sound to you? It would allow you to keep the existing rights you have as an EU citizen, not least freedom of movement, which we look set to lose if Brexit goes through.

The campaign to bring in an EU Green Card won a timely boost this week as the campaign group behind it, the New Europeans picked up a prestigious European award.

Here's some more information about the EU green card scheme.

AFP

While Brexit limbo goes on, Brits around Europe are still taking steps to try to secure residency permits which they hope will make all the post-Brexit paperwork process a lot easier.

But in France their efforts are being hampered by authorities, understandably, not processing applications until they know what's happening in the UK and also by the long waiting times to get an appointment at the prefecture.

So this story about a black market in appointments for residency permits in certain parts of France will no doubt interest readers.

Here are a selection of other stories from around Europe that will interest you.

SpainThe villages in Alicante where there are zero British residents

France: The 39 maps you need to understand south-west France

Germany: Why Germany could soon have its first 'Green' Chancellor

There was a crucial election in Denmark this week which threw up a few surprises that could be a sign of the direction Europe is heading in, not least on the subject of immigration which resulted in a disastrous showing for the far-right populists. The article below contains everything you need to know.

Denmark: What we learned: Seven key takeaways from the Danish election

Sweden: What you love most about life in Sweden

Italy: Quiz – How well do you know your Italian geography?

A story from Switzerland will interest all those British citizens living around Europe who are unable to vote in their adopted country. Perhaps this idea to give foreigners a political voice could take off around Europe?

And just to round things off Theresa May finally stepped down as Conservative party leader on Friday to allow the race to replace her to officially begin. Some may have sympathy for her, others not so much, but this photo kind of sums her term as Tory party leader.

AFP

Remember, if you want to follow The Local more closely you can download our phone Apps from the Apple or Play store for both Android and Apple phones.

Thanks for reading and for your support.

Ben McPartland
[email protected]

Managing Editor, The Local Europe

Member comments

  1. It is interesting to compare Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron
    Johnson was born to a rich family and went to Eaton, an elite expensive public=private school. From there he went to Oxford following the standard route for senior ministers and prime ministers in the UK
    In contrast Macron was born to a wealthy family and went to an expensive private school. From there he went to the elite École Nationale d’Administration the standard route for senior ministers and presidents of France.
    There are great differences in their personalities. Johnson is often regarded as having a good sense of humour. At the moment he is guarded by minders to protect him from his one-liner gaffs.
    Macron is not noted for his sense of humour. He is famous for his ability for talking for hours on any subject without notes. How many are still awake at the end of this monologue is not recorded.
    Both of them have shot themselves in the foot which may lead to their ultimate political deaths. Johnson was the major force in the leave Brexit vote. Macron after supporting his rich friends alienated forgotten France resulting in the yellow vests protest.
    Politics is a dirty business.

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VISAS

‘Be ready to wait’: Your tips for getting a French visa post-Brexit

Now that Britain is out of the EU, just how much harder is the process of moving to France from the UK after Brexit? British readers share their experiences of applying for visas as 'third country nationals’.

'Be ready to wait': Your tips for getting a French visa post-Brexit

Whether you’re moving to France to live, or you’re a second-home owner wanting to spend more than 90 days out of every 180 in France, if you’re British you will now need a visa.

You can find more on how to apply for a visa, and how to understand what type of visa you need, in our visa section HERE.

But how these systems work in practice is not always the same as the theory.

To learn more about the process of getting a visa as a UK national, The Local asked British readers for their experiences of going through the system.

The consensus among respondents was that the whole thing was bureaucratic, though there were notable differences in experiences that ranged from the “easy” to the “complicated” and “time-consuming”, while the advice for future applicants was, routinely, have all your paperwork ready – and be prepared for a lengthy wait at one of the UK’s TLS centres

Appointments

Like most visas, French visas for UK nationals must be applied for before you leave home. You can find a full explanation of the process here, but the basic outline is that you apply for the visa online, and then have an in-person appointment in the UK in order to present your paperwork. 

Sue Clarke told us: “As long as you get all your paperwork together correctly and in the right order, the time it takes to receive your passport back with the visa in it once TLS has sent it off is only a few days.

“TLS – the centre which works on behalf of the French Embassy to collate your application – is so very busy,” she added. “That part of the process took hours even when you have an appointment.”

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: What type of French visa do you need?

“The visa process itself was fairly well run, and a decision for the initial visa was quick,” wrote Ian Sheppard, who successfully applied for a visa in July 2022. 

“Although getting the follow up residence permit was a pain, [and] took longer than expected, and there was little to no communication with severely limited ways to get in touch about the application.”

Sheppard thought that, biometrics apart, the process could have taken place online, and wondered whether the follow-up residence permit application could be more closely linked to the initial visa application, “rather than effectively submitting the same application twice”.

Georgina Ann Jolliffe described the process as “stressful”. 

“A lot of the initial stage was unclear and I needed a lot of reassurance about the visa trumping the Schengen 90 days. (The Local helped on that one),” she wrote. 

“[The] lack of ready communication was very stressful. It could be slicker, however staff at Manchester TLS were excellent.”

Jacqueline Maudslay, meanwhile, described the process as “complicated”, saying: “The waiting times for the appointment with the handling agent (TLS in the UK) are long and difficult to book online. We applied for a long-stay visa and were given a short-stay visa, with no reasoning and no option of talking to anyone.  

“We had met every criteria for the long-stay visa. There needs to be a contact link with the French Consular website directly for discussing visa applications.”

Handling agent TLS’s website – the first port of call for applicants from the UK – was a target for criticism.

“The TLS system is probably the most user unfriendly system I have ever used,” wrote Susan Kirby. “It throws up errors for no legitimate reason and even changes data you have keyed in. Dates are in American format so you have to be very careful and it can be very difficult to edit.”

Bea Addison, who applied for a visa in September 2021 with a view to retiring in France, agreed that it was complicated and believes the French system is chaotic and badly organised compared to other countries. “Even staff in the French Embassy in London were not knowledgeable of the process and documentation,” she wrote.

“The renewal in France was applied for in July 2022 … we have received an attestation that we will be granted renewal visas, which expired in October 2022, but we have not yet received a date to attend the préfecture due to a backlog.

Second-home owners

Many of our survey respondents were not moving to France, but were instead second-home owners who did not want to be constrained by the 90-day rule.

They have the option of remaining residents of the UK and applying for a short-stay French visitor visa – which must be renewed every year.

Second-home owner Peter Green told us: “Our appointment with TLS was delayed by two and a half hours and the whole experience was chaotic.

“We now have to go through exactly the same process again to get a visa for 2023. With second-home owners there should be a fast track that just involves proving financial viability, nothing else has changed. The system needs to be fully computerised.”

Second-home owner Alan Cranston told us his application met with no problems, but came with “unwanted cost and effort”. 

“Our six-month visa was for our first stint at our house in France in the spring, and that then overlapped our second visit in the autumn which was under Schengen. How that is handled seems to be a muddle (we did not leave the country for a day at the end of the six months, as some advise),” he said. 

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