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Brits in France have just one month left to apply for residency

Brits who were living in France before 2021 have just one month left to apply for residency or risk becoming undocumented migrants.

Brits in France have just one month left to apply for residency
Brexit has very real consequences for Brits living in France. Photo: Olivier Hoslet/AFP

PLEASE NOTE – this deadline has been extended, click here to find the latest on the deadline.

Any Britons who were living in France before December 31st 2020 are being urged not to miss the deadline to apply for residency, which is now less than one month away.

Under the Brexit Withdrawal agreement, Brits who were already resident in France before the end of the transition period have the right to continue living here – BUT they need to apply for the residency permit known as a carte de séjour.

Application is compulsory for everyone – including people who have been in France for a long time, people married to French or EU nationals and people who previously held a European carte de séjour.

The only category exempt from the registration requirement is Brits who have dual nationality with an EU country.

Everyone else must apply for a new carte de séjour residency permit and the deadline to make the application is fast approaching – June 30th, 2021.

From October 1st, 2021 it will be compulsory for all Brits living in France to have either a carte de séjour under the Withdrawal Agreement or – for arrivals in 2021 – a visa.

The process for applying for a carte de séjour has been made as simple and straightforward as possible by French authorities, with a special website (in French or English) for Brits to apply online – you can find out how it works HERE.

Anyone who does not get their application in by June 30th will be living in France illegally, meaning they will not be able to legally work or access health or social care.

Kalba Meadows from citizens’ rights group France Rights said: “With just 30 days to go now before the deadline, I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure that you apply for your residence permit before July 1st.

“Every UK citizen who was resident before January 1st, 2021 must do this, however long you’ve lived in France and even if you hold a card issued to you as an EU citizen.

“If you miss this deadline without ‘reasonable grounds’ you’re at risk of losing your right to live in France altogether – you could effectively become a sans papier or undocumented migrant with all that that entails.

“If you’ve already applied, please help others you know or know of – especially those who might be vulnerable – by making sure they’ve applied too. It’s a straightforward process – you’ll find lots of help plus screenshots of the application form on the France Rights website.”

A recent report by the campaign group British in Europe shows that of the estimated 148,000 Britons living in France, only 122,000 have applied for residency and of those 73,000 have received their card. 

France is one of the few EU countries that does not require EU nationals to apply for residency after a certain time, so until now Brits have not had to complete any immigration formalities to live here.

However, with the end of the Brexit transition period that era is over, and living in France now requires the same sort of paperwork that was always the rule for non-EU nationals like Americans, Canadians or Australians.

What Brits in France should definitely not do is follow the advice in the below 2016 tweet by a certain Mr B Johnson, since it is total bollocks.

You can find more help on the rules and the process in our Dealing with Brexit section and if you’re struggling with the paperwork, there are people and organisations that can help you for free – full list HERE.

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Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.