Up to 10,000 Brits in France still waiting for post-Brexit residency cards as deadline approaches

With the final deadline for post-Brexit residency applications in France just days away, the EU has published a new report looking at how many people are still waiting.

Up to 10,000 Brits in France still waiting for post-Brexit residency cards as deadline approaches
Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

Around the EU, many countries have already closed their applications for residency for Brits who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement – meaning those people who were full-time legal residents in an EU country before December 31st, 2020.

France’s original deadline was June 30th, but this was extended until September 30th, 2021.

So as the flood of residency applications comes to an end across Europe, the EU has released new data showing how many people have applied and how many requests were granted.

The EU’s Fifth joint report on the implementation of residency rights under part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement brings together data from all EU member states – and the UK – on post-Brexit residency applications.

In many EU countries, all foreigners have to register for residency after a certain length of time in the country. France is one of the few which has never required EU citizens to do this, so no-one has ever been quite sure how many Brits live here – most estimates put it at around 200,000 people.

According to the EU report’s estimate, France has 148,300 Brits.

However by September 6th, when the data in the reports dates from, 162,100 people had applied for residency in France, suggesting the EU figure is an under-estimate.

A report from June by the British Embassy in Paris suggested that at least 10,000 Brits living in France were yet to apply.

Of the 162,000 applications received by French authorities, 151,300 applications had been concluded by September 6th – leaving more than 10,000 people still waiting.

More will likely have been concluded since then, but it is also still possible to apply until September 30th, so local préfectures are still processing applications.

Although the deadline to make applications has been extended, the deadline to be in possession of the carte de séjour remains at October 1st, although many are calling for this too to be extended to allow processing time for the final applications.

A spokesman campaign group British in Europe said: “We are concerned to learn that there are thousands of applications still in the works.

“The decree to extend the physical card deadline beyond October 1st is long overdue, this should have been agreed when the application window was extended to September 30th.

“Employers, education establishments, border guards and more all need to know any change to the October 1st deadline so that none of the thousands of unprocessed applicants face unfair repercussions.”

The percentage of outstanding applications roughly correlates with surveys done by the citizens’ rights group Remain in France Together (RIFT), which found that although the majority of people had their cards, many hundreds more were still waiting.

READ ALSO What changes for Brits in France on October 1st

A RIFT 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.”

People who had been living in France for more than five years when they submitted their applications are entitled to permanent residency (carte de séjour permanent), while those living here for less than five years get a five-year carte de séjour, which can then be renewed for a permanent card.

Of the 151,300 applications processed by September 6th, 97,000 were given permanent residency and 40,800 the five-year card.

The report also looks at rejections – in total 2,200 applications were listed as rejected. A far larger number of applications however – 7,100 – were listed as ‘withdrawn or void’.

Early technical problems on the application site had lead to some duplicated applications, which will account for at least some of the listed rejections.

There could of course be multiple reasons why people might change their mind and withdraw their applications, but at least some of these are likely to have been from second-home owners who initially made the application in order to secure visa-free access to France, or just to keep their options open if they decided to make the move full time later.

READ ALSO Can I be resident in France and the UK?

Residency in France comes with obligations – including filing an annual tax declaration in France – and since it is not possible to be resident in two countries at once it involves giving up residency in UK, with the consequent loss of rights such as access to the NHS.   

Second-home owners who want to spend more than 90-days out of every 180 at their French property without actually moving here need instead to get a visa.

If you are a resident who has not yet applied for a carte de séjour, find out how HERE.

Member comments

  1. It is not just Residency processing. It is also the issue of exchanging Driving Licenses. As a country where bureaucracy if paramount it is obvious that many areas of importance are understaffed and failing to meet requests in what could be reasonably expected time periods! I not eform my own experience that my Impots were processes very promptly, perhaps that is because money is involved?

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Overstaying, working without a permit and polygamy – what can get you deported from France?

From committing a crime to overstaying your 90-day limit and even having multiple wives - here is a look at all the things that can get foreigners deported from France, and how likely this is in reality.

Overstaying, working without a permit and polygamy - what can get you deported from France?

If you’re living in France and you’re not a French citizen, there are certain scenarios in which you can be expelled from the country, and although this isn’t an everyday occurrence there are quite a wide range of offences that can see you kicked out of France. 


In France, there are a few different deportation procedures for foreigners.

Expulsion – The first, which you may have heard about before, is “expulsion”, which means you must leave the country immediately.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin recently made headlines after calling for the expulsion of an Imam for making anti-Semitic, homophobic and sexist comments, as well as speeches that were “contrary to the values of the Republic.” 

For the average person, being expelled from France is very unlikely.

Under president Nicolas Sarkozy, a 2003 law was passed allowing for three possibilities to expel foreigners who are already “integrated” into France – if they have engaged in “behaviours likely to undermine the fundamental interests of the State; that are linked to activities of a terrorist nature; or constitute acts of incitement toward discrimination, hatred or violence because of the origin or religion of persons.”  

In most cases though, “expulsion” only occurs if a person is living in France illegally (ie without a residency permit or visa) and they represent a “serious threat to public order.” 

Notice to quit – The more likely scenario for the deportation of a foreigner living in France is an OQTF (Obligation de quitter le territoire français) – an obligation to leave France.

The decision is made by your préfecture. You will be formally notified, in a document which outlines which country you are to return to, as well as the time limit for when you must leave France. 

This can occur following a prison sentence, or if your residency permit has been withdrawn (again, the most common scenario is following a criminal conviction) or if your application to renew a residency permit has been denied.

You can challenge an OQTF. In most cases, the administrative court responsible for handling appeals should offer a response within six weeks.

Barred from returning – if you have committed an immigration offence such as overstaying your visa or overstaying your 90-day limit, this is often only flagged up at the border as you leave France. In this circumstance, you are liable to a fine and can also be banned from returning to France. Bans depend on your circumstance and how long you have overstayed, but can range from 90 days to 10 years.

In practice, being barred from returning is the most common scenario for people who have overstayed their visa or 90-day limit, but have not been working or claiming benefits in France.  

You can be ordered to leave France within 30 days if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You entered France (or the Schengen area) illegally and you do not have a residency permit or visa. You can be immediately ordered to leave France under specific scenarios such as representing a threat to public order or being a “risk of fleeing.”
  • You have entered France legally, but you have overstayed your visa or overstayed your 90-day limit. If you stay more than 90 days in every 180 in the Schengen area without a valid residency permit, then you can receive an OQTF, although in practice this is not the most common response.

READ MORE: What happens if you overstay your 90-day limit in France?

  • Your residency permit application or your temporary residence permit has not been renewed or has been withdrawn.
  • Your residence permit has been withdrawn, refused or not renewed or you no longer have the right to stay in France (more on this below). 
  • You failed to apply to renew your residency permit, and stayed after the expiration of your previous permit. Keep in mind that once your permit expires, you can stay an additional 90 days in France if your home-country does not require a 90-day visa. However, in order to do this you must exit the Schengen zone and come back in to re-start the clock. 
  • You are working without a work permit and have resided in France for less than 3 months. A scenario where this might apply would be coming to France for under 90-days as a tourist (ie without a visa) and take a seasonal job. If you are found to have done this, you can receive an OQTF.
  • Other scenarios include being an asylum seeker whose application for protection was definitively rejected, or being categorised as a threat to public order (for those who have resided in France for less than 3 months).

Why might my residency permit be withdrawn or refused?

For those with a valid temporary or multi-annual residency permit, you might have your titre de séjour withdrawn in any of the following scenarios: 

If you no longer meet one of the necessary conditions for obtaining the permit in the first place. Keep in mind that if you have a salarié residency permit or a passeport talent, these cannot be withdrawn if you become “involuntarily unemployed” (meaning – you do not need to worry about potentially being deported if you lose your job). The best advice for this would be to request a change of status as needed rather than staying on a permit that no longer applies to you.

If you did not fulfil all the criteria for renewing your permit – this could involve failing to appear for an appointment you have been summoned to by the préfecture. 

If your permit was issued on the basis of family reunification, you could lose your titre if you have broken off your relationship with your spouse during the 3 years following the issuance of the permit. This does not apply in the case of death or spousal abuse, and there are exceptions for couples who have children settled in France. 

Other reasons might include:

  • Living in a state of polygamy in France
  • Serious criminal conviction (drug trafficking, slavery, human trafficking, murder etc.)
  • Illegally employing a foreign worker
  • Having been deported or banned from French territory previously
  • Being a threat to public order (usually terrorism related)

If you have a residency card, you can also lose your right to residency if you are out of France for a period of between 10 months and two years – depending on the type of card you have.