British teacher rejected by rental agency over post-Brexit residency confusion

With just one month left to apply for residency in France, Brits living here are not yet legally required to show a residency card for official purposes - despite what one agency told a young house-hunter.

British teacher rejected by rental agency over post-Brexit residency confusion
Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

Sorbonne teacher Greg Page has been rejected by the government-backed guarantor agency set up to aid people looking for rental agreements – wrongly being told that he needed to supply a carte de séjour as part of his application.

In fact, the Withdrawal Agreement and French domestic legislation states that until October 1st 2021, UK nationals who were already resident in France before December 31st 2020 do not need to supply any proof of residency other than a passport.

Greg, who has lived in France for five years and works at the Sorbonne as a maître de langues (specialist language teacher) after completing his PhD there, has already applied for a carte de séjour and received an acknowledgement of his application.


The Interior Ministry has previously stated that the attestation d’enregistrement will be accepted as an official document, but after the government-backed Visale agency asked for proof of residency he sent in this document, which was rejected.

Visale is intended to simplify the process of securing a guarantor for a rental property lease, particularly for people on short-term contracts or lower incomes.

He said: “I actually successfully applied for the Visale last January to move into my current accommodation in Paris, but I had a change of housemate these last weeks, which is why I redid the application for both of us, without success. 

“I replied to the rejection and attached two open letters from the French government and the British Embassy in Paris making it clear that a carte de séjour is not required until October 30th, but the application was rejected again.

“Fortunately the landlords have been very understanding, and although the actual contract signing is being held up, the money flow is, as of now, unaffected.

“This experience is making me very worried for my upcoming contract renewal, because any problem like the current one risks halting my income, which would prove disastrous.”

During the long and complicated Brexit process, quite a few Brits in France have reported being incorrectly asked for residency cards, or told that they could no longer use documentation like UK driving licences.

We have had reports of incorrect information being given out by benefits agencies, health insurers and even gendarmes.

While these problems can usually be sorted out, it adds extra difficulties to processes that can already be quite stressful.

UK nationals who were resident in France before December 31st 2020 have until September 30th 2021 to apply for residency – find out how HERE – and after October 1st, 2021 can be asked to provide a residency card to show that they are living legally in France.

The Local has created this guide outlining your rights on everything from residency to healthcare to driving, with links to the relevant pieces of legislation to show if necessary.

As someone who has completed higher education in a French university, Greg was entitled to apply for citizenship after two years in France, instead of the standard five.

However although he has applied, his application has not yet been processed, meaning that he needed to apply for residency before the deadline.

Greg said: “I had my naturalisation interview over a year ago, and am still waiting for a response, but hoping once I have the new passport, life will become somewhat easier.”

If you are confused on post-Brexit rules on residency, healthcare, driving or pensions, head to our Dealing with Brexit section.

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How and when to send Christmas presents from France

If you want to send Christmas presents to friends and family overseas you need to know the deadline dates and how to avoid being hit with extra charges - here's what you need to know.

How and when to send Christmas presents from France


First things first, you need to make sure your parcel arrives in time for Christmas, which means sending it before the deadline.

The French postal service La Poste has the following deadlines;

In Europe

If you’re sending a parcel within France, the deadline to have it delivered by Christmas is December 23rd. 

If you’re sending to the UK or Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spanish islands (eg Tenerife), Croatia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Malta, Norway, Portuguese islands (eg Madeira) or Romania you have until December 16th.

If you’re sending to Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden or Switzerland you have until December 17th.

If you’re sending to Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Portugal you have until December 19th.

Outside Europe

If you’re sending to the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand or Hong Kong you have until December 10th. Likewise if you’re sending to most French overseas territories, the deadline is December 10th.

For most other countries the deadline is December 3rd, but you can find the full list here

Private couriers like Fed-Ex and DPD have their own deadlines, although they are broadly in line with La Poste, and if you’re buying online each company has its own deadline on when it can guarantee a Christmas delivery.

Fees and customs declarations

If you’re sending parcels to another EU country then it’s pretty straightforward – just pay the delivery cost (you can check how much it will be to send via La Poste here) and make sure you send it before the deadline.

If, however, you are sending to a country outside the EU (which of course now includes the UK) then you will need to fill out a customs declaration form explaining what is in your parcel and whether it is a gift or not.

In addition to standard postal charges, you may also need to pay customs duties, depending on the value or your parcel and whether it is a gift or not. 

Find full details on customs duty rules HERE.

Banned items

And there are some items that are banned from the post – if you’re sending parcels to the US be aware that you cannot send alcohol through the mail as a private individual, so don’t try a ship some nice French wine or a bottle of your local liqueur. 

Most countries ban firearms and fireworks, not unreasonably, although be aware that this includes items like sparklers.

Sending food and plants is also often restricted with countries including Canada and Australia having strict rules and most other countries imposing restrictions on what you can send.

This also applies the other way and France bans any foodstuffs containing animal products (eg chocolate) sent from outside the EU.