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BREXIT

Moving back to UK: Brits in France with EU partners warned of Brexit deadline

Brits living in EU countries have been warned of complicated and lengthy administrative processes if they want to move back to the UK after the latest Brexit deadline of March 29th, 2022.

Moving back to UK: Brits in France with EU partners warned of Brexit deadline
Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

Brits who are living in France with an EU spouse or partner may have no imminent plans to move back to the UK, but new post-Brexit requirements mean that the process is already more complicated, and is set to get more difficult still.

After British media highlighted a series of stories of Brits left stranded when their EU partners could not get the necessary paperwork, campaign groups are urging UK nationals to plan ahead.

Jane Golding, chair of the campaign group British in Europe, said: “Families considering a move now need to be aware that the process is time-consuming and complex, and that non-UK family members will first need to apply for a EU Settled Status family permit from outside the UK before the end of March 2022 and only when they have that and move to the UK will they be able to apply for EU pre-settled status.”

Pre-Brexit, Brits who had moved abroad, fallen in love and got married to a European could move back to the UK with their partner with minimal paperwork, but that has changed.

Although UK nationals can move back at any time, their EU spouses or partners now face a raft of extra paperwork to be allowed to live in the UK.

March 2022 deadline

From March 29th, 2022, the EU spouses of UK nationals will be subject to the full visa process if they wish to move to the UK, which includes fulfilling qualifications around language, skills and sufficient financial resources. Those who don’t meet the criteria may not be allowed to enter, despite being married to a Brit.

Extra permits needed

But even those who move before the March deadline need more paperwork than they used to – the EU partner needs to first apply for an EU Settled Status family permit before they enter the UK, and then once in the UK apply for EU pre-settled status.

You can read full details on how the process works HERE.

This might seem like a fairly simple administrative process, but UK media has reported on many cases where the process has taken months, or was rejected for seemingly spurious reasons, leaving families divided and in limbo.

Jane Golding said: “We are worried that there are many families across the EU who do not understand the implications of stringent immigration rules now applying to UK citizens in the EU.

“Many of us have older relatives in the UK who may need our care, or we had always planned to retire to the UK to be near family.”

Children who have dual nationality through their parents should not have any problems moving countries, but those without British citizenship will also need to go through the immigration process once they reach 18.

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BREXIT

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Brexit hasn't just brought about changes in passport rules for humans, pets are also affected and now the French government has laid out the rules for pet passports for British second-home owners.

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Pre-Brexit, people travelling between France and the UK could obtain an EU Pet Passport for their car, dog or ferret which ensured a hassle-free transport experience.

But since the UK left the EU things have become more complicated – and a lot more expensive – for UK residents wanting to travel to France with pets.

You can find a full breakdown of the new rules HERE, but the main difference for people living in the UK is that that they now need an Animal Health Certificate for travel.

Unlike the Pet Passport, a new ACH is required for each trip and vets charge around £100 (€118) for the certificate. So for people making multiple trips a year, especially those who have more than one pet, the charges can quickly mount up.

UK nationals who live in France can still benefit from the EU Pet Passport, but until now the situation for second-home owners has been a little unclear.

However the French Agriculture ministry has now published updated information on its website.

The rules state: “The veterinarian can only issue a French passport to an animal holding a UK/EU passport issued before January 1st, 2021, after verifying that the animal’s identification number has been registered in the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD).”

I-CAD is the national database that all residents of France must register their pets in – find full details HERE.

The ministry’s advice continues: “If not registered, the veterinarian may proceed to register the animal in I-CAD, if the animal’s stay in France is longer than 3 consecutive months, in accordance with Article 22 of the AM of August 1st, 2012 on the identification of domestic carnivores.”

So if you are staying in France for longer than 90 days (which usually requires a visa for humans) your pet can be registered and get a Pet Passport, but those staying less than three months at a time will have to continue to use the AHC.

The confusion had arisen for second-home owners because previously some vets had been happy to issue the Passport using proof of a French address, such as utility bills. The Ministry’s ruling, however, makes it clear that this is not allowed.

So here’s a full breakdown of the rules;

Living in France

If you are living in France full time your pet is entitled to an EU Pet Passport regardless of your nationality (which means your pet has more travel rights than you do. Although they probably still rely on you to drive the car/book the ferry tickets).

Your cat, dog or ferret must be fully up to date with their vaccinations and must be registered in the national pet database I-CAD (full details here).

Once issued, the EU Pet Passport is valid for the length of the animal’s life, although you must be sure to keep up with their rabies vaccinations. Vets in France usually charge between €50-€100 for a consultation and completing the Passport paperwork.

Living in the UK

If you are living in the UK and travelling to France (or the rest of the EU) you will need an Animal Health Certificate for your cat, dog or ferret.

The vaccination requirements are the same as for the EU Pet Passport, but an ACH is valid for only 10 days after issue for entry to the EU (and then for four months for onward travel within the EU).

So if you’re making multiple trips in a year you will need a new certificate each time.

UK vets charge around £100 (€118) for a certificate, although prices vary between practices. Veterinary associations in the UK are also warning of delays in issuing certificates as many people begin travelling again after the pandemic (often with new pets bought during lockdown), so you will need to book in advance. 

Second-home owners

Although previously some French vets had been happy to issue certificates with only proof of an address in France, the French government has now clarified the rules on this, requiring that pets be registered within the French domestic registry in order to get an EU Pet Passport.

This can only be done if the pet is staying in France for more than three months. The three months must be consecutive, not over the course of a year.

UK pets’ owners will normally require a visa if they want to stay in France for more than three months at a time (unless they have dual nationality with an EU country) – find full details on the rules for people HERE.

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