What changes for Brits in France in 2022?

The Local
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What changes for Brits in France in 2022?
A French gendarme checks the identity of the passengers of a coach at the Villars-sous-Ecot toll on the A36 highway as part of reinforced security measures during the summer period on July 26, 2012. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN BOZON (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Brits living in France have faced big changes since the UK left the EU, and things change again in 2022. Here's what you need to know.


January 1st 2022

This is the deadline for all Brits who were resident in France before December 31st 2020 to be in possession of a carte de séjour residency card.

This does not apply to people who moved after that date - they come under the new regime of visas - but does cover all UK nationals who lived in France before then, even those who have been here a long time, are married to a French national or who previously held a European carte de séjour.

Brits in France were given an extension on the deadline to have applied for their new card - it was pushed back from June 30th to September 30th to allow late applications. January 1st 2022 is the deadline to be in possession of the card.

READ ALSO Key documents to prove your post-Brexit rights in France


What happens from January 1st?

This is the date from which certain official functions cannot be performed without providing proof of your legal residency status - which is the rule already in place for all other non-EU citizens.

From this date you can legally be asked for the card in situations including;

  • Employers wanting to verify your right to work in France
  • Landlords of property you are renting
  • CAF offices if you are in receipt of any type of benefits
  • CPAM offices to confirm your right to healthcare in France
  • Police in any situation - French police can legally stop anyone on the street and request ID and, if applicable, proof of legal residency
  • Border officials if you are entering or leaving France

If you are unable to produce your card you can be denied non-emergency healthcare, work, benefits and accommodation and can legally be served with notice to leave France.


READ ALSO What should I do if my carte de séjour is lost or stolen?


How strict is enforcement of this likely to be?

This is technically entering new territory, so no-one really knows how strictly France is likely to enforce the requirement for everyone to have their cards.

Spot checks and deportations of unregistered Brits seem unlikely, but what is very likely is that the next time you need to access any kind of official function you will be asked for the card, in the same way that Americans and Canadians already are for routine administrative tasks.

If you cannot provide the card it is likely that your request - whether it's for work, benefits, a place to live or healthcare - will not be processed.

You are also likely to encounter difficulties with international travel, and if you cannot prove your right of residence when you enter or leave France, you are likely to be subject to the 90-day rule

Are there any exceptions?

This applies to the vast majority of UK nationals who were living in France before December 31st 2020. Those who moved here after that date will need a visa and a carte de séjour. Brits who are visiting for less than 90 days in every 180 do not need either a visa or a residency card.

There are a couple of exceptions however, the main one is people who hold dual nationality with either France or another EU country (eg Ireland). These people do not have to apply for the carte de séjour, although they may if they want to.

Posted workers in certain circumstances and people in certain diplomatic roles are also exempt, while under-18s do not need a carte de séjour.

What else?

It can be hard to keep up with all the changes, so here's a quick round-up of what else has changed and any actions you may need to take.

Driving - if you're driving in France on a UK licence, you probably don't need to swap that for a French one just yet. A deal finally concluded between the British and French governments earlier this year allowed people whose licences had been issued before January 1st 2021 to keep driving on them until either the photocard or the licence expired.

For most people, this means making a note of when the photocard/licence expires, and applying to swap for a French one once you get within six months of the expiry date. If your card has been lost or stolen, or you have a medical condition, or have committed a traffic offence, you may need to swap earlier - find the full details HERE.

Healthcare - most people living in France before 2020 had already registered in the French healthcare system and received their carte vitale. If you have not already done this, here's how to go about it.

If you previously used an EHIC when travelling abroad, you will need to request the French equivalent CEAM (carte européenne d'assurance maladie) to cover any medical expenses when you are travelling in Europe. You can request this via your online Ameli account.

Taxes - Brits who were resident in France should always have been making an annual tax declaration and Brexit has not changed this. However many people - especially those whose income comes entirely from the UK - were not previously aware of this. You can check HERE whether you need to fill in the annual declaration form.

Travel - If you are travelling between France and the UK you need to be aware of lots of changes covering everything from car stickers to sandwiches for the journey.

Passports - British passports are now only valid for travel within the EU if they have up to six months left before they expire, and that includes the passports of Brits who live in France. If you are travelling to the UK with a French partner, family member or friend, they need to remember that they can no longer travel on an ID card, a passport will be necessary. And it's not just people, rules on Pet Passports have also changed, although Brits who are resident in France can still secure an EU passport for their dog, cat or ferret from a French vet.


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tilthion 2022/01/18 09:13
I would suggest that organisations like the Local gather a list of all their contributors who have still not received their cards and pass the list to the French Minister for post-brexit Brits and the UK rep - ask them to encourage the Gouvt. to enforce all prefectures to finalise all cards in their process. I know it's not as simple as that but someone needs to get some pressure on to it as it would seem many of us have had our cards very easily and quickly (Toulouse - no problem, so why Beziers?). Time to kick some rear end or to coin a Boris-ism: "Let's get this done!" :-)
alan.dilley 2021/12/29 12:39
EHIC your information above is not fully correct CPAM still does not supply retired Brits with an EHIC card however the UK Government is duty bound under the BREXIT AGREEMENT to supply an EHIC (GHIC) card (New design features in it to show the difference from the old card) It definitely is valid in the EU for all retired UK people who are officially registered as EU residents. I know this for a fact - I, my wife and friends have such a card we applied and got it in 2021.
tom.bolton 2021/12/29 01:15
Here is a question that the local could pick up and find out the answer to as the portal is now closed, how do under 18 get an article 50 card when they reach 18? how do people who only got a short term residency card renew it?
nicholas.macdonald 2021/12/28 18:36
Prefecture de Police de Paris - marvellous. Application on 6 November, 2020, card issued early February, 2021. Immensely polite (and my French language is notoriously diabolical). Generally, us Brits, a large number of whom did not have the right to vote in 2016 (remind anyone of the reason for the American War of Independence, taxation without representation?), have been treated very well. Tomorrow I will face "Border Force" (whatever that means) at Gard du Nord. Anything like last time I hope not. Then they emulated Australian and American Immigration Officials; officious. Never had that with the Frogs.
ericmariner 2021/12/28 18:13
Same at the SP in Draguignan (83), the whole process took less than 3 months from start to finish.
ccooper088 2021/12/28 18:02
We originally applied using the pre Brexit website and were transferred to the new site almost 2 years ago. Our application was transferred from the Prefecture to the Sous Prefecture in Beziers at the same time. I have regularly emailed and received responses that usually say the same thing which is that the application is in process. In May this year they stopped responding and I am not allowed to go to the SP without an appointment so how to I get one? I have recently sent a registered letter and I am hoping for a response to that. One thing is clear and that is that it will not be sorted out by 1 January.
ditchdweller 2021/12/27 12:43
Our experience in Finistere and the prefecture at Quimper was exactly the opposite. The staff were sympathetic, friendly and they got both the original card and its replacement done with no delay at all.
insleymike 2021/09/28 06:39
Tried again !! for a CEAM card but system not available...
rogereye 2021/09/21 14:48
I'm surprised that it's only 'several hundred people' who are still waiting for their card. This whole system depended on one's local préfecture not procrastinating. Because we followed advice to apply early, we waited nearly 3 years for our card to finally turn up - and that only happened finally because the Ministry in Paris came up with a nation-wide scheme that largely clipped the various time-wasting préfectures' wings. Ironically, the autonomy of each department's préfet was one of the things that first attracted us to France but this whole Residence Card fiasco has demonstrated only too clearly that nation-wide issues should always be dealt with directly from Paris and not left up to the individual whims of local government.

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