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BREXIT

Hundreds of Brits in France still waiting for residency card as deadline approaches

With just two weeks to go until the cut-off date when Brits living in France are legally required to hold a carte de séjour residency permit, hundreds are still waiting for their cards to arrive.

Hundreds of Brits in France still waiting for residency card as deadline approaches
Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

A survey by the citizens’ rights group Remain in France Together (RIFT) found that of those who have applied for the card, hundreds are still waiting and some have had no contact from their local issuing authority.

All Brits who were living in France before December 31st 2020 must apply for a carte de séjour – even those who are married to a French citizen or who previously held a European carte de séjour.

If you have not yet applied – here’s how to go about it.

The deadline for applications was originally June 30th, this was extended by three months to September 30th. However the deadline to be in possession of the card remains at October 1st – just two weeks away.

READ ALSO What happens to Brits who don’t have residency before the deadline?

RIFT conducted a survey of nearly 3,000 Brits living in France and found that although 75 percent had got their cards, 25 percent were still waiting.

In total of the 2,917 survey respondents who had applied for the card, 749 (25.67 percent) reported not having yet received it and 354 had not yet been contacted by their préfecture following submission of their online application.

The remaining 395 had either been sent a date for the appointment at the préfecture, or had attended the appointment but were still waiting for the card to be delivered.

The préfectures with the highest number of outstanding applications were Bouches-du-Rhône (which includes Marseille), Charente, Côtes-d’Armor, Hérault, Var and Vienne.

Although the bulk of outstanding applications were from people who had applied for the card within the last couple of months, the survey also found outstanding cases from older applications, with several dozen applicants who applied in November and December 2020 still waiting.

Previously the official advice for people still waiting has been not to contact the préfecture, as many local officials were struggling with the numbers of applications to process.

However RIFT now advises that if you have not been contacted by the préfecture to get in touch with them by email – addresses should be on the préfecture website. Queries should include your full name, the date you applied and the reference number from the automated response when you submitted the application online.

If there is no email contact, you can send a lettre recommandée (registered post letter) with the same details.

In light of the survey results, RIFT is calling on the French government to extend the October 1st deadline.

The group spokesman said: “If our survey results mirror the situation for all UK Nationals and their family members across France, many thousands will be in a precarious situation on October 1st 2021.

“The French Government has not yet officially changed the deadline and there are so few working days left.  

“We call on the French Government to please give official notification of an extension immediately and to declare the number of applications made and finalised. Clear communication is vital.”

For more information on residency, how to apply and what to do in case of problems, head to the RIFT homepage or our Dealing with Brexit section.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

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

Deadlines

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. 

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