Where Brits in France can get help with post-Brexit residency card applications

As the deadline for Brits in France to have applied for residency fast approaches, there are groups out there who can help anyone struggling with the process.

Where Brits in France can get help with post-Brexit residency card applications
Don't panic, help is at hand if you need it. Photo: AFP

As a consequence of  Brexit, all British people who were living in France before December 31st 2020 need to apply for a carte de séjour – the residency card that gives them permission to stay in the country.

And they have only until September 30th 2021 to get their applications in.

The French government has created a simplified process for Brits who were living here before 2021, but 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.

Simplified process

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.

The Local

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.

EXPLAINED How the new post-Brexit residency card website works

You can also find a lot more detail on residency, healthcare, travel and pensions in our Preparing for Brexit section.

UK-funded organisations

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. 

READ ALSO Meet the UN team helping Brits in France with Brexit paperwork

The Franco British Network – based in Dordogne, they can help people living in southern France. Find out more on their website 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. Find out more in their website here.

British Embassy

The British Embassy has also been running information and support campaigns for British people living in France, including live Q&A sessions via their Facebook page. The Embassy can also take up cases if anyone has been turned down for residency and needs help in appealing. 

Relocation Agents

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. 

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France may cut Channel islands ferry service after post-Brexit collapse in visitor numbers

Visits to the Channel islands from France have halved since Brexit, and French local authorities say they may be forced to cut the regular ferry service, asking for the passport requirement to be waived for French visitors.

France may cut Channel islands ferry service after post-Brexit collapse in visitor numbers

Travel to and from the Channel islands – which are British crown dependancies – has reduced significantly since Brexit, when passports became a requirement for those travelling in and out of the islands and their ports.

Now the president of the local authorities in the Manche département of France has asked that passport requirements be lifted, with hopes of increasing travel to and from the islands.

Jean Morin told Ouest France that there has been a “considerable reduction in the number of passengers on routes between the Channel ports and the islands” and as a result the ferry service between France and the islands was seriously in deficit.

“On these lines, we will never make money, but we cannot be in deficit”, explained the Morin. 

He added that if a solution is not found by the deadline of May 1st, 2023, then local authorities will stop funding the shipping company DNO, which runs the Manche Îles Express ferry service.

“If the passport requirement is not lifted by then, we will have no choice but not to renew the service contract for 2024-2025”, Morin told Ouest France.

Only around half of French people have a passport, since the ID card issued to all adults is sufficient to travel within the EU. 

READ MORE: Ask the Expert: How Brexit has changed the rules on pensions, investments and bank accounts for Brits in France

DNO re-launched operations in April and since then, the company, and by extension the département – who plays a large role in funding it via a public service delegation – has been losing significant funds.

According to Franceinfo, the number of passengers has been cut in half since passport requirements were introduced. Franceinfo estimates that for one ticket for one passenger costing €30, the département spends €200.

According to Morin, the ideal solution would be to require a simple ID for tourists seeking to take just day-long or weekend-long stays on the islands – which reportedly represents at least 90 percent of the boats’ usual passengers.

“The Jersey government is working hard on the issue and is waiting for an agreement from London and the European Union. There is the possibility that things could move quickly”, Morin told Franceinfo on Tuesday.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, boats going to and from the French mainland carried at least 110,000 people per year. In 2022, only 40,000 passengers made the journey, Olivier Normand, the sales manager of Manche Îles Express, told Actu France.

Normand had expected the decline, however. He told Actu France that the company had taken a survey, which found that almost half (between 40 and 50 percent) of their clientele did not have a passport.