Since the UK left the EU and the British government opted to end freedom of movement, all British nationals living in France need to apply for the carte de séjour residency permit – a huge task for French bureaucrats since there are an estimated 200,000 – 300,000 Brits living in France.
The government has put in place a streamlined system for Brits who were already living here before December 31st 2020 to gain residency, and the online portal for processing applications went live after several delays in October 2020.
According to the British Consular Network 90,000 UK nationals have applied online already – the deadline for applications is June 30th, 2021.
Over 90,000 ?? nationals living in ?? and covered by the Withdrawal Agreement have applied for residency
Deadline to do so is end of June 2021. Find all the details here⬇️
— British in France (@BritishinFrance) February 4, 2021
The application process is as follows – the applications are all made online on a central web portal, they are then passed to the applicant’s local préfecture for processing and once the application is approved the applicant will then be invited to an appointment to give fingerprints and present original copies of documents such as passports. The card is then sent out by post.
For full details of how the application process works, click HERE.
But with many people worried because they have had no response to their applications from French authorities, citizens’ rights group Remain in France Together (RIFT) carried out a survey to ascertain average waiting times.
Here are some of the key findings of the survey, an online poll that received 4,098 responses from all over France.
- Just five percent of people who have applied have actually got their new card. In most cases, these were people who already had a carte de séjour permanent, which is a simpler process to swap.
- 28 percent of people have received a date for the appointment at their local préfecture
- The remaining 72 percent have received the automated acknowledgement of their application but have so far heard nothing else
- Among people have who have been in France for more than five years, 33 percent have received an appointment date, compared to just 18 percent of those who have been here less than five years
- Of the people who have received appointments, the vast majority were contacted in January, most appointment dates were within a couple of weeks of contact, but some people have received appointments in March or April
The survey also showed variations in waiting times between different areas.
Although all applications are made on a central portal, they are then passed to the local préfecture for processing, so waiting time depends on the staffing levels in the préfecture, the number of British nationals living in that area and the number of other third-country nationals in the area whose applications also need processing.
Areas that have a high number of third-country nationals were already struggling under a backlog of applications caused by the lockdown, even before they were hit with new applications from Brits.
Some areas that have a large British population, including Dordogne, have been given extra staff to deal with applications, but most préfectures have not.
Incredibly simple process to get post-Brexit residency permit at Paris police prefecture. 5 min in and out.I was in shock. Hardest thing was getting asked to explain Brexit to the very chatty policewoman at front foor. “Democracy is in danger” she said as she waved me through. pic.twitter.com/wwc8omC9Sb
— Ben McPartland (@McPBen) February 3, 2021
- In Paris, where immigration matters are dealt with by the Préfecture de Police, 50.91 percent of applicants have received an appointment date
- Meanwhile in neighbouring Seine-Saint-Denis, just 9.09 percent have a date
- Dordogne, which has been given extra staff to deal with UK nationals’ applications, has offered appointments to 51.3 percent
- In Charente 10.5 percent of people have their appointment date
- In Aude in south west France, 9.3 percent have an appointment
- In Alpes-Maritimes, which contains Nice, 24.7 percent an appointment
All UK nationals living in France – even those who have been here a long time, are married to a French person or who had already received a carte de séjour permenent before October 2020 – must apply for a new card using the online system.
The deadline to have made the application is June 30th 2021 and by October 1st 2021 it will be compulsory for all Brits living in France to have a carte de séjour. Once you have applied online you will receive an email confirming your application has been received – this can be used as official proof of your status as a resident until you get the card.
The above system applies only to Brits to moved to France before December 31st 2020, those who moved this year will need a visa – find out the requirements HERE.