In order to qualify for residency after Brexit, British people need to fulfil certain criteria, and the one that has been causing the most anxiety is the 'minimum resources' requirement.
For people in work this is fairly straightforward, but for people not working and on low incomes – particularly pensioners – the idea that they might not have enough money to qualify has been causing considerable anxiety.
Until now there have only been guideline figures, but on Sunday the French government published an Arrêté in the Journal Officiel, which lays out the criteria that officials must base their decisions on.
The Withdrawal Agreement states that all decisions must be taken on a case-by-case basis, so for example if someone falls slightly below the threshold but owns their own house outright and therefore doesn't pay a mortgage or rent, this would have to be taken into account.
Savings and extra income such as rental income from a property in the UK are also taken into account.
The French take the level for RSA as a guide figure. Revenue de Solidarité Active (RSA) is the French in-work benefit. Anyone earning below a certain amount is entitled to top-up benefits and this is the figure that is being used to calculate what is a reasonable income level.
As with all benefit levels, it changes over time, but currently the level is €564.78 per month.
There's good news for British people – the French government has said that unlike for other types of application, British people can declare this as an income for their household – so if you are a couple you only need €564.78 between you, not €564.78 each.
In more good news, RSA is the guideline figure that will be applied for all types of application. The French benefit level for pensioners – ASPA – is higher and there had been fears that some people would not meet this threshold, but the Arrêté says that RSA is the guideline figure for all types of application.
The document states: “The adequacy of resources is assessed in the light of the personal situation of the person concerned.
“Regardless of the number of people in the household, the amount required may not exceed the minimum amount of the RSA for a single person without children.”
Proof of income
And only certain groups of people need to provide proof of their financial situation.
People who have lived in France for longer than five years simply need to supply personal information, proof of address and some evidence of the date they arrived in France when they apply for residency.
All British people living in France – even those who have been here for a long time or are married to a French person – need to apply for a residency card before June 30th, 2021. For more on how the residency card application process works – click here.
People who have lived in France for less than five years apply as one of the following categories; employed or self-employed, student, job-seeker, retired or otherwise economically inactive, the family member of someone who fits the above criteria or the spouse, civil partner or live-in partner of a French person.
Of these categories, only those applying as 'retired or economically inactive' need to supply proof of their means. Documents that will be accepted for this include your most recent tax declaration, information on pension payments or recent bank statements.
People applying as 'inactive' will also have to provide proof of health cover – registration within the French state healthcare system is sufficient for this.
To read the Arrêté in full – click HERE.
And for full details on the financial resources rules, click HERE.