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Reader Brexit question: Do I need a residency card if I am married to a French person?

As British residents continue to grapple with post-Brexit residency requirements, we're often asked about the situation for those married to a French national.

Reader Brexit question: Do I need a residency card if I am married to a French person?
Marriage to a French person has all sorts of benefits but exemption from residency cards is not one of them. Photo: AFP

Question: I’m a Brit who has been in France for more than 30 years and I’m married to a Frenchman, do I still need to get a residency card now that Brexit has happened?

Now that British nationals are no longer EU citizens and don’t benefit from European freedom of movement, living in France requires more paperwork than it used to.

People who were already living here before December 31st 2020 need to apply for a carte de séjour residency card. And that’s all UK nationals living here – contrary to popular belief there is no exemption for people married to a French person and it doesn’t matter how long you have been here or whether you already had a residency card.

There is only one exception – people who also have a European passport. So if at some stage you have taken French citizenship or if you have the passport of another EU country such as Ireland there is no need to apply for residency. Everyone else must do so.

In good news, France has put together an online portal for applications from Brits and considerably streamlined the usual residency process.

You can ready the full details of how to apply HERE.

People who applied on the no-deal portal that was briefly live in autumn 2019 will be transferred automatically to the new system but everyone else must make a new application, even people who already had already received a carte de séjour from their local préfecture before 2020.

If you already have a carte de séjour permenant then the process is fairly simple and you just swap your old card for a new one.

If you had either a 5-year card or no card at all then you apply for a new one.

In both cases you use the online portal HERE, applications cannot be done directly at your local préfecture.

The deadline to have made the application is June 30th 2021 and from October 1st 2021 it will be compulsory for UK nationals living in France to have a carte de séjour.

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French schools, renting property and vocabulary: 6 essential articles for life in France

From how to quit your job in France to choosing the best French school for your kids and learning all the vocabulary of France's cost of living crisis - here are six essential articles for life in France.

French schools, renting property and vocabulary: 6 essential articles for life in France

In the last two years, many people across the world have either considered leaving or have left their jobs amid the “Great Resignation” (or La Grande démission, en Français). 

If you have thought about quitting your French job, or perhaps you simply want to understand the procedure for resigning in France, we’ve put together a guide that should answer all of your questions. 

EXPLAINED: What you should know if you want to quit your job in France

Next, the French government is recommending that everyone become familiar with this website, and you’ll really to know how to use it if you will be living in France during the winter of 2022-2023. 

Ecowatt is the government’s ‘energy forecasting’ website. It will provide you with daily updates and give you an idea as to whether the electrical grid is under stress due to energy shortages. The Local put together an article on how to sign up for alerts, which will help you keep track of whether your area is at risk for short, localised power cuts this winter.

‘Ecowatt’: How you should use France’s new energy forecasting website?

Amid potential energy shortages this winter and the cost of living crisis, foreigners living with France have been faced with learning a whole new set of French vocabulary words.

It can be difficult to keep up to date with the French news – even for native-French speakers. To help you follow along and stay informed, The Local has compiled a list of French terms you are likely to hear when the government or media discusses inflation, along with their English translations.

The French words you need to understand France’s cost of living crisis

Parenting in a country you did grow up in comes with unique challenges and joys. One thing anglophone parents tend to wonder about is whether or not they should send their children to international schools (where English might be more widely spoken) or opt for local French schools.

The Local spoke with some anglophone parents, and compared the advantages and disadvantages of the various options in order to help you make the best decision for your family. 

What kind of school in France is best for my kids?

Many foreigners living in France prefer renting to buying. When looking for that perfect home or apartment, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost – renting in France depends largely on where you live. Renting in a rural or suburban environment will differ greatly from renting in a big city. Nevertheless – renters across France are faced with the same question: furnished or unfurnished? 

The two options differ in terms of price, convenience, and sometimes availability. You can read The Local’s guide to renting property in France.

Renting property in France: Should I go for furnished or unfurnished?

The 2024 Olympic Games are already on the horizon, even though they might seem far away. The city of Paris and its surrounding suburbs have already begun extensive preparations to host athletes, their families, and the thousands of fans who will come to enjoy the Games.

If you live in France and you are considering attending the games, The Local has put together what you need to know in order to secure your tickets.

How to get tickets for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics