As a consequence of Brexit, all British people living in France now need to apply for a carte de séjour – the residency card that gives them permission to stay in the country.
All British people living in France before December 31st 2020 benefit from a considerably simplified system and an online portal specially created for applications.
Everyone living in France – even those who have been here for a long time or are married to a French person – have to do this and they have until June 30th 2021 to get their applications in.
Applications must be submitted on the online portal, there is no facility to make applications by post or in-person at your local préfecture.
However if you don't have internet access, are not confident about online processes or just find the whole thing daunting – don't panic, there is plenty of help at hand.
You may have heard horror stories under the old system of certain préfectures demanding documents relating to every aspect of life in France, and of people staggering into offices with three-foot high piles of files.
The new process, however, has been considerably streamlined with much less supporting documents demanded, particularly for people who have lived here for more than five years, who only need to prove their identity, their address and the fact that they have lived in France for more than five years.
The income requirements that many people were worried about have also been simplified, with only those who have lived her for less than five years having to provide proof of resources and a more generous interpretation of income levels applied – click here to find out more.
The site itself is also simply laid-out and user-friendly and is also available in English.
We have created a step-by-step guide to using the site and we are also happy to answer questions from our members on specific topics.
If we don't know the answer we will ask the French Interior Ministry, which created the site, on your behalf.
You can also find a lot more detail on residency, healthcare, travel and pensions in our Preparing for Brexit section.
The British government has provided funding to four organisations in France to offer help and support Brits with the process. If you don't have internet access or don't feel confident completing the form online they can even do it for you if you don't have friends or family who would be able to help.
These organisations are;
IOM, the UN Migrations Agency – based in Brittany they offer help to people based in northern France, including Paris. You can contact them on email at [email protected] or by phone 0 809 549 832 Monday and Tuesday 2pm to 4pm or Wednesday and Thursday between 10.30am and 12.30pm. Calls are charged at the local rate.
The Franco British network – based in Dordogne, they can help people living in southern France. Find out more on their website francobritishnetwork.fr or call 05 19 88 01 09 between 9am and 1pm Monday to Wednesday or 1pm to 5pm Thursday and Friday.
SSAFA France – the armed forces charity supports army veterans and their families throughout France. You can contact them on [email protected]
Church of England Diocese in Europe – for people living in Nouvelle Aquitaine, the church group is also offering help and support. Their telephone helpline is coming soon, but in the meantime you can find out more in their website here.
The British Embassy has also been running information and support campaigns for British people living in France. Due to the health situation the Embassy's roadshows have had to cease, but they are still doing live Q&A sessions via their Facebook page and remain available for help. The Embassy can also take up cases if anyone has been turned down for residency and needs help in appealing.
If you really can't face the process and just want someone else to do it for you then many relocation agents offer residency card/visa services in addition to their work in helping people make the move to France.
Be warned however, these do not come cheap and you will still have to find all the relevant paperwork yourself so that the agent can make the application on your behalf.