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BREXIT

France ordered 95 Brits to leave country since Brexit, EU data shows

France has ordered just 95 Brits to leave the country since the end of the Brexit transition period, one of the lowest figures in the EU, new data shows.

France ordered 95 Brits to leave country since Brexit, EU data shows
Photo by JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT / AFP

Data published recently by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, reveals that about 2,250 UK citizens were ordered to leave EU countries between 2020 and September 2022 – this includes both people ordered to leave because their immigration paperwork was not in order and those deported for other reasons, such as recently released prisoners.

But France, despite having one of the highest populations of UK nationals in the EU, was responsible for only a tiny fraction of the orders to leave. 

Of the 2,250 British nationals ordered to leave EU countries between the first quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2022, Sweden is responsible for 1,050 of them.

The Netherlands follows with 615 orders to leave. Norway and Switzerland, which are not part of the EU and have separate Brexit agreements with the UK, issued 455 and 125 departure orders respectively, according to Eurostat data.

REVEALED: More than 2,800 Brits ordered to leave European countries since Brexit

Malta ordered 115 UK citizens to leave, France 95, Belgium 65, Denmark 40, Germany 25 and Austria 10.

Spain, which hosts the biggest UK community in the EU, has not ordered any Briton to leave the country since Brexit, and nor did Italy – at least according to the Eurostat data.

The countries did not provide data on the reasons for the expulsions, and it is not possible to compare the numbers to pre-Brexit figures because Brits at that time were not counted as third country nationals.

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

The data from Sweden correlates with research from our sister site The Local Sweden, which showed that large numbers of Brits were either denied the right to stay after Brexit or were ordered to leave if their post-Brexit paperwork was not in order.

The Local Denmark has also reported cases of Brits being ordered to leave the country for missing deadlines for post-Brexit paperwork.

France, on the other hand, seems to be taking a more relaxed approach so far. Data from September 2021 (when the deadline to make the application had passed but the deadline to be in possession of the card had not), showed that 2,200 of 162,100 applications for the post-Brexit carte de séjour were refused. Organisations dealing with Brits have reported that several of these were granted on appeal and some were due to incorrect filing of the application.

Brits who were living in France before December 31st 2020 had until January 1st 2022 to get their carte de séjour, after several extensions to the deadlines.

However, because France does not require residency permits for EU nationals, it is not possible to know how many Brits were living in France before Brexit, and therefore how many people have failed to hit the deadline to get the residency permit.

The Franco-British Network, which received UK government funding to help vulnerable people deal with their paperwork, has reported only a handful of cases of people who missed the deadline, and feedback suggests that local préfectures are still willing to process the paperwork for people who have missed the deadline.

However, it is likely that things will get stricter as more time passes, with people who do not have the correct paperwork likely to encounter difficulties in accessing healthcare or social security, and with travelling.

READ ALSO What to do if you have missed France’s Brexit residency deadline

Refused entry

Eurostat’s data also includes figures for the number of Brits refused entry to the EU – however this covers 2021 only, a period when strict Covid-related rules were in place for much of the year. The data does not distinguish between people refused entry for immigration reasons and those refused entry because they could not supply the Covid-related paperwork (negative tests, travel attestations, essential reasons for travel etc) that were in place at the time.

In total 139,000 non-EU citizens were refused entry into the EU at one of its external borders, of these, 4,470 (3.2 per cent) were UK citizens.

France was responsible for more than half, 2,610, and UK nationals were almost 32 per cent of non-EU citizens blocked at the French external border (8,210 in total). The Netherlands refused entry to 995 Brits, who represented 26.6 per cent of all third-country nationals denied access to the country. 

This data broadly correlates with passenger numbers, since the France border has by far the highest number of entries from the UK, including many people who are travelling onwards to other EU countries by road or rail.

This article was produced in cooperation with Europe Street News

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VISAS

‘Be ready to wait’: Your tips for getting a French visa post-Brexit

Now that Britain is out of the EU, just how much harder is the process of moving to France from the UK after Brexit? British readers share their experiences of applying for visas as 'third country nationals’.

'Be ready to wait': Your tips for getting a French visa post-Brexit

Whether you’re moving to France to live, or you’re a second-home owner wanting to spend more than 90 days out of every 180 in France, if you’re British you will now need a visa.

You can find more on how to apply for a visa, and how to understand what type of visa you need, in our visa section HERE.

But how these systems work in practice is not always the same as the theory.

To learn more about the process of getting a visa as a UK national, The Local asked British readers for their experiences of going through the system.

The consensus among respondents was that the whole thing was bureaucratic, though there were notable differences in experiences that ranged from the “easy” to the “complicated” and “time-consuming”, while the advice for future applicants was, routinely, have all your paperwork ready – and be prepared for a lengthy wait at one of the UK’s TLS centres

Appointments

Like most visas, French visas for UK nationals must be applied for before you leave home. You can find a full explanation of the process here, but the basic outline is that you apply for the visa online, and then have an in-person appointment in the UK in order to present your paperwork. 

Sue Clarke told us: “As long as you get all your paperwork together correctly and in the right order, the time it takes to receive your passport back with the visa in it once TLS has sent it off is only a few days.

“TLS – the centre which works on behalf of the French Embassy to collate your application – is so very busy,” she added. “That part of the process took hours even when you have an appointment.”

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: What type of French visa do you need?

“The visa process itself was fairly well run, and a decision for the initial visa was quick,” wrote Ian Sheppard, who successfully applied for a visa in July 2022. 

“Although getting the follow up residence permit was a pain, [and] took longer than expected, and there was little to no communication with severely limited ways to get in touch about the application.”

Sheppard thought that, biometrics apart, the process could have taken place online, and wondered whether the follow-up residence permit application could be more closely linked to the initial visa application, “rather than effectively submitting the same application twice”.

Georgina Ann Jolliffe described the process as “stressful”. 

“A lot of the initial stage was unclear and I needed a lot of reassurance about the visa trumping the Schengen 90 days. (The Local helped on that one),” she wrote. 

“[The] lack of ready communication was very stressful. It could be slicker, however staff at Manchester TLS were excellent.”

Jacqueline Maudslay, meanwhile, described the process as “complicated”, saying: “The waiting times for the appointment with the handling agent (TLS in the UK) are long and difficult to book online. We applied for a long-stay visa and were given a short-stay visa, with no reasoning and no option of talking to anyone.  

“We had met every criteria for the long-stay visa. There needs to be a contact link with the French Consular website directly for discussing visa applications.”

Handling agent TLS’s website – the first port of call for applicants from the UK – was a target for criticism.

“The TLS system is probably the most user unfriendly system I have ever used,” wrote Susan Kirby. “It throws up errors for no legitimate reason and even changes data you have keyed in. Dates are in American format so you have to be very careful and it can be very difficult to edit.”

Bea Addison, who applied for a visa in September 2021 with a view to retiring in France, agreed that it was complicated and believes the French system is chaotic and badly organised compared to other countries. “Even staff in the French Embassy in London were not knowledgeable of the process and documentation,” she wrote.

“The renewal in France was applied for in July 2022 … we have received an attestation that we will be granted renewal visas, which expired in October 2022, but we have not yet received a date to attend the préfecture due to a backlog.

Second-home owners

Many of our survey respondents were not moving to France, but were instead second-home owners who did not want to be constrained by the 90-day rule.

They have the option of remaining residents of the UK and applying for a short-stay French visitor visa – which must be renewed every year.

Second-home owner Peter Green told us: “Our appointment with TLS was delayed by two and a half hours and the whole experience was chaotic.

“We now have to go through exactly the same process again to get a visa for 2023. With second-home owners there should be a fast track that just involves proving financial viability, nothing else has changed. The system needs to be fully computerised.”

Second-home owner Alan Cranston told us his application met with no problems, but came with “unwanted cost and effort”. 

“Our six-month visa was for our first stint at our house in France in the spring, and that then overlapped our second visit in the autumn which was under Schengen. How that is handled seems to be a muddle (we did not leave the country for a day at the end of the six months, as some advise),” he said. 

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