UPDATE – this article refers to a no-deal Brexit. For the latest advice on residency after Bexit, click here.
Will having a lapsed carte de séjour make things easier getting residency in France once Britain leaves the EU, or indeed even before Britain departs?
That's a question many readers have been asking us.
You would think that being already 'in the system', even if it was back in the 1980s, might help but unfortunately this does not seem to be the case.
In the ordonnance that the French government published in April on its plans for a no-deal Brexit, the issue of people who already have a valid, up-to-date carte de séjour residency permit was covered.
If you have lived in France for more than five years and hold a current, up-to-date carte de séjour permanent then it's good news – after Brexit you can simply swap your card for a new residency card without having to go through the application process. All you need to provide is your current card and passport.
It's worth noting here that if you have the carte de séjour permanent then you will be given a card that is valid for 10 years. But your residency status is permanent, it is only the card that needs renewing every 10 years, and you don't need to go through the application process every time.
For everyone else, including those who have dug out and dusted off their old carte de séjour from when they were once necessary, new applications (not renewals) will need to be made under new rules (unless you have incredibly kind and flexible officials at the local préfecture).
So to be clear that includes people with expired cards, people with current short-term cards and people who have no card.
Remember Brits in France will be eligible for permanent residency cards if they have proved they have been legally resident in France over a five-year period during their time here, and for those people the advice is to apply now, if your préfecture is still accepting applications.
If there's a no-deal Brexit the French government will give all British people who will be resident in France on Brexit day a one-year grace period to get their residency status sorted out, although you must make your application within six months of the day that Britain leaves the EU.
The application will cost €100 and there may be extra costs for any supporting documents that need to be translated into French.
There are different rules for people who have lived here for more than five years and more recent arrivals, who have to apply for different types of status depending on whether they are employed, self-employed or retired.
The full details for each category can be found here.
But the key thing is that if you do not already hold a current carte de séjour permanent or if you have a lapsed one then you must apply for a new one and you must get your application in to your local préfecture (or the Préfecture de Police if you live in Paris) within six months of Brexit day.
The above all applies in the case of a no-deal Brexit. Under the Withdrawal Agreement that was negotiated by the EU and former British Prime Minister Theresa May, but not ratified by the British parliament, the terms for residency are broadly similar but Brits will have a longer transition period in which to sort out their paperwork.
For more details click here.
Both deals are based on the principle of French citizens in the UK getting similar rights and France has repeatedly stated that all rights given to Britons depends on reciprocity.
If you have questions or concerns about a no-deal Brexit tell us here and we will do our best to answer them.