The Local reported back in September that France's interior ministry was set to launch an “online platform” to allow Brits to apply for residency permits.
However little detail was given about the future website and how it would work but the live date was given as mid-October.
But despite much speculation that Brits would be able to apply for the cartes de séjours online from this week, it is now believed the site won't actually go live until November – after the October 31st date when Britain is scheduled to leave the EU.
The campaign group France Rights says the online system is still being tested and staff at prefectures around the country are currently being trained on how it works.
Given British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is insistent that the UK will leave the EU on October 31st with or without a deal, Kathryn Dobson from France Rights said the delay is far from ideal for Brits in France.
“British nationals in France have lived in limbo for three years – many finding it impossible to apply for a CdS – so given the 'do or die' date of the 31st October, not to have the details of the process and the timings at this late stage is adding to the already significant stress people are feeling,” she told The Local.
“France's no deal legislation gives a window of six months to register and so every day counts.”
While many fear the website will crash under the weight of applications France Rights believes it will be “up to the demands”.
The question facing the tens of thousands of Brits who don't yet have a carte de séjour residency permit is whether to push ahead with their application via the normal process or wait until the online system is activated.
However, many prefectures have already decided to stop accepting applications until after Brexit – and there are reports of other prefectures holding off until the online system is up and running – meaning many are not faced with this dilemma and simply have to remain in limbo.
“I personally now recommend people hold off until we know one way or the other,” said Kathryn Dobson from France Rights.
“There are very few prefectures that are a) still accepting and processing applications and b) issuing cards quickly. I know my prefecture of Vienne is now managing a three-week turnaround regularly but even that won't get cards processed before the 31st now.”
France Rights say they are still asking for clarification around certain issues such as whether the platform will go live if there's another Brexit extension and whether people who have just begun their application should cancel it and use the online system.