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France reassures British expatriates with no-deal Brexit legislation

Posted on 19th March 2019


Amidst ongoing uncertainty as the Brexit clock runs down with no defined outcome, Blevins Franks reminds us that France has taken particular care to reassure British expatriates that they are welcome to stay, whatever happens with Brexit.

The EU has given the UK a choice on Brexit: accept Theresa May’s agreement, leave the bloc without a deal, remain members for a long period, or revoke the Article 50 exit process altogether.

France’s no-deal legislation  

On 17 January, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed legislation that allowed his government to make quick decisions by decree in the event of a no deal Brexit. This was necessary, he said, “to respect our obligations, to make sure that the lives of our citizens and… British citizens living in France are impacted as little as possible.” 

Provided that the same rights are guaranteed for French people living in the UK from the date of the UK’s departure, the new bill enables UK nationals living in France to have:

  • The right to remain without a permit and access existing rights for a 12-month period.
  • A one-year window in which to acquire formal residency.
  • More favourable treatment than other non-EU nationals.

Although the French government has allowed extra time for Britons to regularise their residency status, they still recommend that this is done as soon as possible, even if a Brexit deal is agreed.

Residency rights

Once you have been living in France for five years or more as an EU citizen, you become eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Britons who have been in France for under five years should apply for a temporary Carte de Séjour residency card, usually renewable each year.

Post-Brexit, you would have to apply as a ‘third country national’, but under the terms of the new bill, Britons would need to meet simpler conditions than other non-EU citizens.

Download Blevins Franks guide to securing residency in France before Brexit

Access to benefits and professions

The bill’s no-deal provisions also preserve the social security rights of UK nationals living in France before Brexit.

UK nationals would also to be able to stay in certain regulated professions not usually open to non-EU foreigners (notaires, avocats, accountants etc.) and to remain as fonctionnaires (civil servants, including teachers in state schools, and nurses in public hospitals).

UK private pension payments

The French Prime Minister’s office says a separate order would “ensure the continuity of certain financial activities, in particular relating to insurance, after the loss of the UK’s financial passport”. This suggests that UK nationals living in France will continue receiving payments from British private pension and insurance companies, even in a no-deal situation.

Meet the team from Blevins Franks, the show sponsor, at The French Property Exhibition at Wetherby Racecourse on 18-19 May and don’t miss their informative daily seminar . “A New Beginning – What might change for UK expats moving to France?”

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