France extends post-Brexit residency deadline

The French government has confirmed that the deadline to apply for residency for British nationals has been extended.

France extends post-Brexit residency deadline
Photo: AFP

All Brits who were living in France before December 30th 2020 need to apply for a residency permit known as a carte de séjour – and the official deadline to do so was Wednesday, June 30th.

However with an estimated 25,000 Brits still to apply and many thousands more still waiting for their application to be processed, pressure has been growing on French authorities to extend the deadline.

On Thursday the Interior Ministry confirmed to The Local that the deadline has been extended for three months – until September 30th, 2021. 

A spokesman said: “I can confirm that the deadline for applications for Withdrawal Agreement cartes de séjour has been extended until September 30th, 2021.

“This extension concerns the whole of France.

“During the extension period, applications for residency can continue to be submitted on the online portal.”

The confirmation comes after the Côtes d’Armor département of Brittany announced on its website that the deadline had been pushed back.

The website adds: “Due to the very high demand and new health restrictions, we ask you to be patient as your application is processed.”

READ ALSO What happens to Brits in France who miss the residency deadline?

The postponement gives a little breathing room, but Brits living in France still need to get their residency applications in without delay.

This applies to all British nationals who were living in France pre 2021 – even those who have been living here a long time, are married or pacséd with a French or other EU national or who already had a European carte de séjour.

It also applies to non-European family members of British people who are here on spouse or family-member visas.

You can find out more about who needs to apply, and how to go about it HERE.

And if you are struggling with the paperwork, head to our Dealing with Brexit section, or find a list HERE of organisations who will offer help with the process, free of charge. 

Member comments

      1. Yes it is. How much time do these people want? Oh and by the way, I’m French, enough help and my tax has been spent on this Brexit project already.

        1. I think you’ll find that 5 times as many French are being accommodated in UK as English in France. UK also paid all EU costs associated with Brexit as part of the Withdrawal Agreement

          1. What has the amount of French in the UK got to do with it, the article is about les gammon living in France.

          2. Please don’t stereotype all of us – most Brits in the UK are hardworking young professionals. Gammons are mostly in Spain and Portugal.

    1. According to the British Embassy this evening (24/7/2021) the deadline remains the same and there has been a mis-communication between the Interior Ministry and other media. PLEASE do not rely on an extension!

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Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

After years of campaigns and promises British citizens living abroad finally won the lifelong right to vote in UK general elections in April 2022. But campaigners say more needs to be done to allow all those Britons abroad to be able cast their votes easily.

Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

What’s in the law?

The Elections Act 2022 introduced several changes to the current legislation on electoral participation. Among these, it removed the rule by which British citizens lose their voting rights in the UK if they have lived abroad for more than 15 years

The new rules also abolished the requirement to have been previously registered in the UK electoral roll to become an overseas voter. In addition, the registration in the electoral roll will now last up to three years instead of only one year.

It is estimated that these changes could increase the number of overseas voter registrations by some 3 million. But the way new measures will be applied in practice is still to be defined.

READ ALSO: ‘Mixed feelings’ – British citizens in Europe finally get right to vote for life

Defining the practicalities

Under the new law, Britons living abroad will have to register to vote in the last place they were registered in the UK. This means that people who have never lived in the UK will be ineligible to vote, regardless of how long they have been overseas, while those who left when they were children will be able to use a parent or guardian’s address.

But given that the UK does not require residents to register with local councils, how to prove previous UK residence? “Typical documents accepted as a proof of residence are Council tax or utilities bills, but not everyone will have them or will have kept them in an international move,” says Fiona Godfrey, co-founder of the British in Europe coalition.

Ballot papers are pictured in stacks in a count centre as part of the 2019 UK general election. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)

Other questions concern how people will effectively cast their ballot. UK citizens overseas will be able to vote by post or by proxy or in person at their polling station if they are in the UK at the time of the election. However, few people are likely to travel to the UK for an election and in the past there have problems and delays with postal voting.

The Electoral Commission has recommended that overseas electors appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf. But who could that be for people who have been away from their constituency for a long time?

New secondary legislation will have to answer these questions, defining how to be included in the electoral roll and how to exercise the voting right in practice.

According to British in Europe, the government should present draft legislation in the first half of the year so that the parliament can adopt it before summer and registrations of overseas voters can start in the autumn.

British in Europe survey

British in Europe are currently running a survey to understand the difficulties UK citizens abroad may face in the registration and voting process, as well as their intention to participate in elections.

The survey asks for instance which documents people can access to prove their previous residence in the UK, what problems they had voting in the past, and if and how they plan to vote in the future.

“We need to get an up-to-date picture of British citizens living around the world and have information to make recommendations to the government, as it prepares secondary legislation,” Godfrey said. “If millions of people will exercise their voting rights, there will be consequences for council registration offices, post office and authorities that will manage the process, among other things” she argued.

The right to vote concerns only UK parliamentary elections and national referendums, not elections in the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, or at local level.

The survey is open to UK citizens living anywhere in the world and is available at this link.