Who are the Brits in France who have not yet applied for post-Brexit residency?

From fear of rejection to a simple misunderstanding, a new survey has revealed the different reasons why a number of British nationals living in France have not yet applied for post-Brexit residency, even as the deadline looms.

Who are the Brits in France who have not yet applied for post-Brexit residency?
British nationals living in France have until June 30th 2021 to apply for post-Brexit residency. Photo: THOMAS COEX / AFP
British nationals living in France are facing a big deadline to apply for post-Brexit residency at 11:59 pm on June 30th 2021. Those who fail to apply risk losing local healthcare, employment and other rights when the new permit becomes compulsory from October 1st 2021. 
France has the highest number of British nationals vulnerable to a loss of rights.
According to the British Embassy, recent figures suggested some 135,000 out of 148,3000 Brits have applied for post-Brexit residency, leaving 13,300 at risk. Information about the application process can be found HERE.
A new joint survey by RIFT (Remain in France Together), a group supporting the rights of British people living and working in France, and the British embassy revealed the different reasons why people have not yet applied.
Firstly, there are those who are nervous about being rejected. One of the issues is that the conditions for legal residency in France is that the person has sufficient resources.
This has caused a certain amount of consternation among those living on meagre resources in France, but there is no evidence (yet) to suggest Brits are being turned down because of a lack of incomings.
The Local understands that out of the tens of thousands who have applied there have only been handful of refusals and they were mainly down to serious criminality on part of the applicant. However no official statistics have been released.
However, failing to apply on time could create more problems, as you will need “reasonable grounds” for having missing the deadline. Those of have applied for residency and been turned down have the right to appeal the decision – full details HERE.
There are others who simply still don’t know they need to apply.

Rights groups in France and the British Embassy have long been concerned about those Brits living off the radar in the country, who still might not be aware of the bureaucratic hoops they now need to jump through thanks to Brexit.

Even to this day The Local receives emails from people unsure whether they need to apply.

There has been a desperate communication drive by the British embassy, resident groups and campaigners to get the word out. However, campaigners say not enough has been done to raise awareness. More information can be found HERE.
All British nationals who were resident in France before December 31st, 2020 are required to apply for the residency permit known as a carte de séjour – even people who have been here a long time, who are married to a French person or who previously had a residency card.

It also applies to people who already hold a European carte de séjour, are in the process of applying for a French nationality, or are married or PACSed to French or other EU nationals.

The only group who don’t have to apply are Brits who have already obtained dual nationality with an EU country, although they may apply if they wish. Children under 18 do not need to apply.

Other respondents said they haven’t applied because they didn’t know how to apply or they need help with the application process. You can get help HERE.
There were also Britons living in France who are simply leaving it until the last minute, but do intend to apply before the deadline on June 30th.
Finally, a large part of respondents are relying on their dual nationality (UK/EU member state), and therefore do not need to apply, though they can if they wish.
According to British in Europe, an organisation campaigning for the rights of UK citizens in the EU, there are five key groups of British nationals in France that are at risk of falling through the cracks:
– Those who know what they need to do but haven’t got round to sorting out their paperwork to apply yet.
– The elderly or vulnerable who are being cared for, and who have very little access to internet and social media.
– Younger adults who have grown up in France and are fully integrated in French families who believe their EU spouse/kids mean they do not nee to apply.
– People who have lived here for decades, often in French families and who may have residency permits – some of whom don’t identify as British.
– Third country national family members who rely on a UK national for residency rights.

Member comments

  1. I have concerns for people who have made applications, received attestation and await contact from préfecture. I know 3 people who chased up and were told there was no dossier. They had to apply a second time. Two other people were told that they had not replied to an email. They had not received the email and are technology competent. So 5 errors out of 12 people that I know have applied.

  2. According to some at the Anthony prefecture some Brits are arrogant thinking the can stay whatever happens.

  3. I know exactly zero people out of dozens who applied in good time who haven’t got their cards yet.
    Funny how these things work…..

  4. You state that those in the process of applying for French nationality need to apply for the carte de séjour. What if you have a dossier/référence number for your application for nationality and the application is quite far along and you are just awaiting the call for the interview?

    1. Hi, If you are not a French citizen by September 30th (and the application process for citizenship on average takes 18 months to 2 years) you will need a carte de séjour. A dossier or reference number for a citizenship application is not proof of your right to residency

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Overstaying, working without a permit and polygamy – what can get you deported from France?

From committing a crime to overstaying your 90-day limit and even having multiple wives - here is a look at all the things that can get foreigners deported from France, and how likely this is in reality.

Overstaying, working without a permit and polygamy - what can get you deported from France?

If you’re living in France and you’re not a French citizen, there are certain scenarios in which you can be expelled from the country, and although this isn’t an everyday occurrence there are quite a wide range of offences that can see you kicked out of France. 


In France, there are a few different deportation procedures for foreigners.

Expulsion – The first, which you may have heard about before, is “expulsion”, which means you must leave the country immediately.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin recently made headlines after calling for the expulsion of an Imam for making anti-Semitic, homophobic and sexist comments, as well as speeches that were “contrary to the values of the Republic.” 

For the average person, being expelled from France is very unlikely.

Under president Nicolas Sarkozy, a 2003 law was passed allowing for three possibilities to expel foreigners who are already “integrated” into France – if they have engaged in “behaviours likely to undermine the fundamental interests of the State; that are linked to activities of a terrorist nature; or constitute acts of incitement toward discrimination, hatred or violence because of the origin or religion of persons.”  

In most cases though, “expulsion” only occurs if a person is living in France illegally (ie without a residency permit or visa) and they represent a “serious threat to public order.” 

Notice to quit – The more likely scenario for the deportation of a foreigner living in France is an OQTF (Obligation de quitter le territoire français) – an obligation to leave France.

The decision is made by your préfecture. You will be formally notified, in a document which outlines which country you are to return to, as well as the time limit for when you must leave France. 

This can occur following a prison sentence, or if your residency permit has been withdrawn (again, the most common scenario is following a criminal conviction) or if your application to renew a residency permit has been denied.

You can challenge an OQTF. In most cases, the administrative court responsible for handling appeals should offer a response within six weeks.

Barred from returning – if you have committed an immigration offence such as overstaying your visa or overstaying your 90-day limit, this is often only flagged up at the border as you leave France. In this circumstance, you are liable to a fine and can also be banned from returning to France. Bans depend on your circumstance and how long you have overstayed, but can range from 90 days to 10 years.

In practice, being barred from returning is the most common scenario for people who have overstayed their visa or 90-day limit, but have not been working or claiming benefits in France.  

You can be ordered to leave France within 30 days if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You entered France (or the Schengen area) illegally and you do not have a residency permit or visa. You can be immediately ordered to leave France under specific scenarios such as representing a threat to public order or being a “risk of fleeing.”
  • You have entered France legally, but you have overstayed your visa or overstayed your 90-day limit. If you stay more than 90 days in every 180 in the Schengen area without a valid residency permit, then you can receive an OQTF, although in practice this is not the most common response.

READ MORE: What happens if you overstay your 90-day limit in France?

  • Your residency permit application or your temporary residence permit has not been renewed or has been withdrawn.
  • Your residence permit has been withdrawn, refused or not renewed or you no longer have the right to stay in France (more on this below). 
  • You failed to apply to renew your residency permit, and stayed after the expiration of your previous permit. Keep in mind that once your permit expires, you can stay an additional 90 days in France if your home-country does not require a 90-day visa. However, in order to do this you must exit the Schengen zone and come back in to re-start the clock. 
  • You are working without a work permit and have resided in France for less than 3 months. A scenario where this might apply would be coming to France for under 90-days as a tourist (ie without a visa) and take a seasonal job. If you are found to have done this, you can receive an OQTF.
  • Other scenarios include being an asylum seeker whose application for protection was definitively rejected, or being categorised as a threat to public order (for those who have resided in France for less than 3 months).

Why might my residency permit be withdrawn or refused?

For those with a valid temporary or multi-annual residency permit, you might have your titre de séjour withdrawn in any of the following scenarios: 

If you no longer meet one of the necessary conditions for obtaining the permit in the first place. Keep in mind that if you have a salarié residency permit or a passeport talent, these cannot be withdrawn if you become “involuntarily unemployed” (meaning – you do not need to worry about potentially being deported if you lose your job). The best advice for this would be to request a change of status as needed rather than staying on a permit that no longer applies to you.

If you did not fulfil all the criteria for renewing your permit – this could involve failing to appear for an appointment you have been summoned to by the préfecture. 

If your permit was issued on the basis of family reunification, you could lose your titre if you have broken off your relationship with your spouse during the 3 years following the issuance of the permit. This does not apply in the case of death or spousal abuse, and there are exceptions for couples who have children settled in France. 

Other reasons might include:

  • Living in a state of polygamy in France
  • Serious criminal conviction (drug trafficking, slavery, human trafficking, murder etc.)
  • Illegally employing a foreign worker
  • Having been deported or banned from French territory previously
  • Being a threat to public order (usually terrorism related)

If you have a residency card, you can also lose your right to residency if you are out of France for a period of between 10 months and two years – depending on the type of card you have.