Carte de séjour: Online residency card system for Brits in France gets new launch date

The website set up to allow British people in France to deal with post-Brexit residency card requests is now set to go live next week after several delays.

Carte de séjour: Online residency card system for Brits in France gets new launch date
Photo: AFP

The site is now live – find out how it works HERE.


British citizens living in France all need to apply for residency permits after the end of the Brexit transition period, but so far they have been unable to apply for the new type of card.

The French government has created an online portal for residency applications in an attempt to smooth the process for the estimated 150,000 to 300,000 British nationals living in France, but the planned opening of the site in July was delayed because of a backlog of other immigration requests caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

The opening date was reset for October 1st, but on September 24th came the announcement that it was delayed again.

The French Interior Ministry initially said the site will launch on Thursday, October 15th, but then amended that to Monday, October 19th.

The French government is also set to publish a revised decree giving full details of the requirements for residency of Britons who move to France before December 31st 2020 – the end of the Brexit transition period. Among the details expected to be revealed in the decree is the crucial matter of income requirements for those who wish to stay here.

READ ALSO How much money do I need to stay in France after Brexit?

Disruption to the parliamentary timetable due to lockdown and extra Covid-19 legislation was blamed for the delay in publishing the decree, and the two-week delay in the launch of the website.

Kalba Meadows, from citizens' rights grup France Rights, said: “It's an important process to get right and these are difficult times all round, so we understand the issues that the French government faces.

She is hoping that France takes up the option of extending the deadline for applications – currently set June 30th 2021.

“We are hoping that the grace period for applications – currently the standard June 30th 2021 prescribed by the Withdrawal Agreement – may be extended, as the launch date could now be up to four months after the original schedule. Some other EU countries have already done this and we have asked for the same here.”

All British people who currently live in France or who move here before December 31st will have to use the online portal to apply for the carte de séjour residency permit.

Those who already hold a carte de séjour permanent can use the site to swap it for a new card, while everyone else will need to make a new application.

The only exception to this is people who used the no-deal online application site which was briefly live in October 2019 – those people should have already received an email telling them their application will be transferred to the new system once it goes live.

British people have until July 2021 to make their application on the new site.

Initial previews of the site have revealed a streamlined process and a lot less paperwork then was previously required by local préfectures for residency applications. The site will be available in English and will have a guide to exactly what paperwork each group (employee, self-employed, student, retired etc) will have to submit.

Although we don't know the full details of how the new site will work, here is a guide to everything we know so far about the system, the requirements for residency and the type of paperwork you will need to supply.



Member comments

  1. I went to the precinct in early march and im still waiting for my carte?
    No idea who to contact or what to do in this situation.

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‘We will be ready’ vows France, amid fears of UK border chaos

Transport bosses have raised fears of long queues in British ports when the EU's new EES system comes into effect next year, but French border officials insist they will be ready to implement the new extra checks.

'We will be ready' vows France, amid fears of UK border chaos

The EU’s new EES system comes into effect in 2023 and many people – including the boss of the Port of Dover and the former UK ambassador to France – have raised concerns that the extra checks will lead to travel chaos on the UK-France border, and see a repeat of the long queues experienced last summer.

Port of Dover CEO Doug Bannister told The Local that he feared “tailbacks out of the port and throughout Kent” because the new system could take up to 10 minutes to process a car with four passengers, as opposed to 90 seconds currently.

EXPLAINED What the EES system means for travel to France in 2023

But French border control have insisted that they will be ready, replying to questions from the European Commission with “Oui, La France sera prête” (yes, France will be ready).

French officials said they had already undertaken extension preparation and would begin test runs of the new system in French border posts at the end of this year.

document shared recently by the secretariat of the EU Council (the EU institution representing member states) and published by Statewatch, a non-profit organisation that monitors civil liberties, shows how countries are preparing. 

“France has prepared very actively and will be on schedule for an EES implementation in compliance with the EU regulation,” French authorities say.

“The French authorities have carried out numerous studies and analyses, in cooperation with infrastructure managers, to map passenger flows at each border crossing post… and evaluate the EES impact on waiting times,” the document says. 

However, despite the preparation, the French admit that long waits at the border remain a worry, adding: “the prospect of the impact of EES on waiting times at the borders worries infrastructure managers. The fact remains that fluidity remains a concern, and that exchanges are continuing with each border post manager to make progress on this point.”

The EES system is due to come into effect in May 2023 and will be applied at all EU external borders – find full details on how it works HERE.

However there has been particular concern about the France-UK border due to three things; the high volume of traffic (in total over 60 million passengers cross the border each year); the fact that many travel by car on ferries and the Eurotunnel (while the EES system seems more designed with foot passengers in mind); and the Le Touquet agreement which means that French border control agents work in the British ports of Dover and Folkestone and at London St Pancras station.

EES is essentially a more thorough passport checking process with passengers required to provide biometric information including fingerprints and facial scans – border checks will therefore take longer per passenger, and this could have a big effect at busy crossing points like Dover.

The UK’s former ambassador to France, Lord Ricketts, told The Local: “I think the EES, in particular, will be massively disruptive at the Channel ports.”

The EU consultation documents also revealed more details of how EES will work on a practical level for car passengers – those travelling by ferry or Eurotunnel to France – with border agents set to use computer tablets to gather biometric information like fingerprints so that passengers don’t have to get out of their cars.

READ ALSO France to use iPads to check biometric data of passengers from UK

Doug Bannister added that Dover agents were “awaiting an invitation” to France to see how the new systems will work.