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BREXIT

France announces closure of web portal for post-Brexit residency applications

The special web portal created to allow Brits living in France to apply for their post-Brexit residency cards will 'permanently close' on October 4th.

France announces closure of web portal for post-Brexit residency applications
Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

The deadline for Brits who moved to France before the end of the Brexit transition period to apply for residency was extended from June 30th to Thursday, September 30th, and it has now been confirmed that the web portal will close on Monday.

Brits who moved to France before December 31st 2020 benefited from a simplified application process for the crucial carte de séjour residency card – which could be done on the specially created web portal, available in English and French.

French authorities have now confirmed that the portal “will permanently close on October 4th”.

The previous deadline to submit applications had been June 30th, but French authorities extended this to allow an extra three months for anyone who had not been able to submit their application in time.

Figures from the Interior Ministry show that more than 5,000 applications were received during this extension period.

READ ALSO What happens to Brits in France who don’t register for residency before the Brexit deadline?

Once the portal closes, the only applications accepted from Brits under the Withdrawal Agreement will be:

  • Those living in France before December 31st 2020 who turn 18 after October 4th (minors are not required to have a carte de séjour)
  • Family members or spouses of Brits who were living in France before December 31st 2020
  • Brits who were living in France before December 31st 2020 and who have exceptional (force majeure) reasons for not submitting their applications before the deadline date

These applications will have to be made directly to local préfectures, rather than online

All other applications must be made before this date, and this applies to all Brits who moved to France before December 30th 2020, including

  • Those married to a French or European national
  • Those who have been here a long time
  • Those who previously had a European carte de séjour. Only residency cards issued since 2019 are valid. People who have cards issued before 2019 need to swap them for the new Withdrawal Agreement card
  • Non-Brits whose residency rights in France derive from a British partner, spouse or family member eg someone in France on a spouse visa as the spouse of a UK national

The only exception is Brits who have dual nationality and have a French or other EU nation passport, although they can apply for the new residency card if they wish.

For the full details of how to apply, click HERE.

Brits who moved to France after December 30th 2020 need to follow the new post-Brexit process, which involves getting a visa – full details HERE.

The deadline to be in possession of the carte de séjour has also been extended – until January 1st 2022 – to allow préfectures time to process the roughly 10,000 applications that are still outstanding.

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BRITS IN FRANCE

Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in France but have income in pounds?

Stories of the British pound's recent fall against both the dollar and the Euro have dominated the UK press, so what should you do if you live in France but have income - such as a pension, rental income or a salary - in pounds?

Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in France but have income in pounds?

Exchange rates might sound like a spectacularly dull topic, but if you live in France (where, naturally, your day-to-day living expenses are paid in Euros) but have income from the UK in pounds, then the movement of the international currency markets will have a major impact on the money that ends up in your pocket.

And this is far from an uncommon situation – France is a popular retirement destination for Brits, who will usually be receiving a British pension paid in pounds.

Non-retirees might be still working for companies in the UK, with a salary in pounds, while others have income from rental properties or investments.

So a big loss in the value of the pound against the Euro has a major impact on Brits in France, many of whom – particularly pensioners – are already living on low incomes. 

The most recent fall in the value of the pound was sparked by the UK government’s new mini budget (we’re far from experts on economics, but the reaction from most economists seems to be that the budget is deranged) and has already seen a recovery. 

The pound-euro exchange rate over the last month. Chart: xe.com

But while this one-time fall is spectacular, it’s also part of a longer term trend in the fall of the value of the pound, especially since Brexit, that has seen some pensioners lose a big chunk of their income.

The pound-euro exchange rate over the last 10 years. Graph: xe.com

So if you have income in pounds, what are your options?

Euro income – obviously this isn’t an option for everyone, especially pensioners, but the best way to protect against currency exchange shocks is to make sure that you’re paid in the same currency that you spend in.

The advantage of the euro is that you’re not limited to finding work only in France, but could work in any EU country – including the anglophone ones like Ireland – and get your salary in euros.

What are the rules for foreigners working remotely from France?

Depending on your employer, it might also be possible for you to ask to bill in euros. 

Work in France – if you’re currently not working, then an obvious option is to take up some work in France – although if you are in France on a visa, you need to check whether your visa allows you to work.

Exchange rate – if your income can only be paid in pounds, it’s crucial to ensure that you get the best exchange rate possible and that you don’t waste money on international transfer fees.

The best options here are online banks or money transfer services, which compete on the rates that they offer, so usually have the most advantageous rate.

Some online banks also have the option to set up accounts in both pounds and Euros, so that you can receive money in pounds and spend it in Euros without having to make bank transfers, which can attract fees.

We spoke to a financial expert who explains the best options HERE.

Financial help – the French state offers fairly significant financial aid to people on low incomes, but while this generally comes automatically to French families, sometimes newcomers can slip through the net, especially pensioners who have never worked in France.

This autumn, for example, is a new €100-€200 chèque energie (financial grant) to help low-income households deal with the rising cost of energy bills.

In addition to one-off payments like this, you may also be entitled to top-up benefits or aid with making your home more energy efficient.

You can find out more HERE, and if you think you are eligible you can visit your local CAF office to ask how to apply.  

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