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Whether British or not, it’s becoming difficult to avoid the stream of media articles and speculation surrounding Britain’s withdrawal from the EU due to occur on 29th March 2019.
Following a strong show of opinion at a peaceful march by almost 1 million people in London on Saturday, the UK government shows no sign of changing course and is maintaining its poker face on the deal (or no deal as it seems at present). Given that a minority of the UK electorate voted to leave the EU, this sure is a nail-biting time for the Brits!
Not surprisingly, a lot of people are feeling very unsettled and uncertain about their futures. Some believe there will be no radical change for Britons already living in France, and others are rushing to make the move while it’s easier to do so.
Our job at Renestance is to help you settle in France, wherever you’re from. We don’t think Brexit will change your ability to live here, it just may take a few more documents to get you here after March 2019!
The figures indicate that pre Brexit is still a good time to purchase French property. The exchange rate is still ‘reasonable’, especially if you use a currency expert for the best deal. The main advantage of finding a new French pied-à-terre now is that you will be able to gain access to the French system before other administrative hurdles may be put in the way. We talk to people every week who are putting their French relocation plans on ‘fast forward’. Carpe diem!
Titre de Séjour
The truth is there are simply too many unknowns about the implications of Brexit. The one thing we can be sure of is that the French like a paper trail. If you haven’t already got this covered, now is the time to start.
Renestance has been encouraging all Britons to look carefully at their residency situation – be clear about where you need to declare your income for tax purposes, and where you have your healthcare covered.
The document that resident Britons are now strongly advised to have is a Titre de Séjour (a residency permit), which will guarantee you can stay in France for a fixed period, whatever the outcome of the EU/UK negotiations.
Is a Titre de Séjour right for you? There are two main questions:
1. How much time of the year do you really spend in France?
A large number of our UK clients are non-residents, in which case there’s little need to obtain a Titre de Séjour. In the case of a hard Brexit, your future visits to France could be via VISA, just like all other non-EU nationals.
2. If applying for a Titre de Séjour (1, 5 or 10 years) can you prove you are a French resident and have health cover in France?
Keep in mind that, for the moment, a Titre de Séjour for UK nationals is optional, as it is for all EU citizens. There are essentially two types of French Titres de Séjour for EU citizens:
- An initial Carte de Séjour, valid up to five years, when you cannot prove stable residency in France for at least the five previous years, or
- A Carte Résident, valid ten years and confers permanent residency, when you can prove stable French residency for five years.
If you have the first one and remain in France, you’ll be able to apply for a Carte Résident when the Carte de Séjour expires.
The best proof that you’re a French resident is a French income tax return. If you don’t have one from previous years, you may be granted a one-year Carte de Séjour and then will have to present the official document when you renew twelve months later.
As for healthcare, you’ll either need to present your French Carte Vitale (proof of Assurance Maladie coverage) or private health insurance in your dossier. You can apply for ‘Assurance Maladie’ if you possess an S1, or if you can prove French residency for at least three months. Nicole is our resident expert on French healthcare so contact her if you need to discuss the possibilities in more detail.
Submitting your dossier
Once you’ve made your decision to apply for residency, Renestance can help you complete the dossier. As mentioned above, each prefecture operates differently, but you will require at least the following key documents for your Titre de Séjour application:
- Birth certificate (original and certified translation)
- 3 passport sized photos (official standard)
- Marriage/Divorce certificates (if applicable – including certified translation)
- Proof of residency for every 6 months of the year (this can be a utility bill, bank statement,(a cross-section of different documents is advised)
- Proof of French health coverage
- Copy of your annual French tax return(s). The further back you can go the better, up to about 10 years
If for any reason you are not sure you will be able to provide these documents, please contact us for advice.
Given the sudden surge in applications from Britons, prefectures across France are struggling to meet the demand of people seeking appointments. If you manage to get an online appointment, which is quite a challenge already, prepare yourself for a wait of several weeks.
Following a successful application interview and having had your fingerprints taken, you should then receive your Titre de Séjour within 4-8 weeks, although each ‘département’ operates differently.
If you are committed to a new life in France, there is no reason to let Brexit stop you.
Support for the British in Europe campaign
In person or online, should you wish to support the national Last Mile citizen’s lobby on 5 November (a key date in British calendars!) – please see more details here.
British Embassy Help for British people in France
Annette is Renestance’s 'go to' girl for all things marketing and social media. Bilingual and originally from Surrey in the UK, Annette has lived in France since 2008. In addition to her web design and marketing consultancy, Annette is the founder of Languedoc Jelly (a network of free events across the region for anyone working from home) and also Urban Sketchers Languedoc (part of a global community of people that like to draw or paint on location). A fan of all things French and Franglaise, she also has a Citroen 2CV called Beryl.
All articles by: Annette Morris
Derek Arnoldon 2019-02-04 at 17:10
My wife and I applied for renewed Carte d’Sejour Permanent (we have lived and worked here for 21 years) on the 10th December at the Nice Prefecture. So far we have heard nothing back from the Prefecture. I have now been told that the Prefecture in Nice is not issuing the residency cards to Brits until the outcome of the Brexit no deal or deal is confirmed one way or another. Can anyone verify if what I have been told is actually correct. Many thanks Derek
Who told you that the Préfecture in Nice is not issuing residency cards to Brits at the moment? Bear in mind that if a government official has not told you directly, and officially (via letter), then everything should be taken with a grain of salt.
Technically, carte de séjour applications are to be processed with four months, after which the request can be considered refused. Although in most cases, even with a refusal, you will be officially informed of the decision.
We work mainly with the Montpellier, Nimes, Béziers and Carcassonne Préfectures, all of which have continued accepting British applications and issuing titres de séjour to British citizens. However, I know for a fact that many Préfectures have a backlog of hundreds of applications they are unable to process on time.
If you were given a “récépissé de demande de titre de séjour” at your appointment, that is your proof that you have applied. My advice to you is to contact the Préfecture, if you have not done so yet, by email, in person and/or by registered letter with delivery receipt, and demand an update on your application. Then, as will all things concerning the administration, sit back and wait.
Finally, seeking council from an immigration lawyer would be your next step if you either don’t hear back from the Préfecture or receive a negative response to your request.
j.w. And DLM Leesonon 2019-04-04 at 16:05
My wife and I have owned a house in France since1999. We usually leave for France early in April ,and return to the U.K at the end of September or just into October How do you see our position ie 1 there is s brexit deal and 2. There is a no deal situation
Thank you in anticipation of your reply