FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Understanding what French residency means for you can be complex. The FAQ page aims to be a quick reference tool for some common questions. We'll be adding to this page by reviewing the latest guidance and information and in response to your questions.

You can use the search bar at the top of the (white) FAQ section to search by topic or keyword.

For now, you might be interested in the top ten residency questions and answers from the British Embassy in Paris.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR resources section FOR THE CURRENT UK AND FRENCH GOVERNMEnt official GUIDANCE.

How do I apply for a residency permit? What are the key dates?


Now that the UK has left the EU, if you are British and living in France by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, you will need to apply for a new residency permit in order to protect your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. You will still need to apply for a residency permit even if you already have a carte de séjour, or are married or PACSed to a French person.

You must apply for the permit between 19 October 2020 and 30 June 2021 via the French government website. Your non-EU family members and dependants will also need to apply for a Withdrawal Agreement residency permit via the website.

All the information you need to apply is on the application website. Consult the flowchart which details which supporting documents you need according to your situation.

Key dates:

19 October 2020 ➡ Online residency permit system opened

31 December 2020 ➡ Transition period ends - must be resident in France by this point

30 June 2021 ➡ Last day for residency applications*

* You need to be in possession of your new residency permit from 1 October 2021.




What does being “legally resident” mean in practice?


The conditions for legal residency under the Withdrawal Agreement are the same as now for EU citizens. These are:

  • Having a professional salaried or self-employed activity (or having had such an activity or being registered as a jobseeker);
  • Having sufficient resources for themselves and their family, as well as health insurance;
  • Being a student or undergoing vocational training, as well as having health insurance;
  • Being a member of the family of a British citizen who is based in France prior to 31 December 2020 and having a right of residency (spouse, partner, child, ascendant or dependent family member or belonging to the household of a British citizen);
  • Already being a permanent resident (having previously worked, studied or been self-sufficient for 5 years or more).
In practice this means that if you do not yet have the right to permanent residency because you have not yet been here for 5 years or more, you will either be studying; working or running a business; registered as a jobseeker if unemployed; inactive but able to support yourself; or a close family member of someone who meets these conditions. The French government has said it will take a generous and flexible approach and that their starting point is to grant residency wherever possible. You will be able to provide extra information in your application and to correct any errors or omissions with the Prefecture later. More detail on exactly what will be assessed is available on the application website and the Living in France guide.




Do I really need to apply for a new residency permit? I already have a 10 year or permanent Carte de Séjour / am married or PACSed to a French or EU person / have lived here for thirty years. Should I apply in my own name, or as a spouse of a French/EU person?


The short answer is yes. All UK nationals living in France need to apply. The current carte de séjour, whether it is a short-term or a permanent one, is for EU citizens and will cease to be valid for British nationals. If you hold a permanent carte de séjour, there is a simplified process to exchange it via the new online residency system. You will be automatically entitled to a permanent ten-year residency permit under the Withdrawal Agreement. Shorter-term carte de séjour holders also need to apply through the new residency system. Being PACSed or married to a French person does not afford you automatic residency status so, if this applies to you, you still need to apply for a residency permit. The same applies if you are married to an EU national. However, whereas there is a specific category for partner or spouse of a French national on the application website, there is no such category for that of an EU national. Therefore, for the latter, you only have the option of applying in your own right for a WA residency permit, or regularising your status through the current system for non-European family via your Prefecture. You might be considering applying for French nationality but, as the process can take time, we strongly recommend that you apply for a residency permit as well to ensure your rights are protected if there is a delay in receiving nationality. Nationality and residency applications are two separate procedures.




Do I need to apply if I already have temporary carte de séjour or have already applied for a carte de séjour at my prefecture, and/or I applied through the “No Deal” website last year?


In short, no matter which carte de séjour you hold or have applied for, you need to apply for a residency permit through the new system, unless you have confirmation of an application through the online “no deal” process. What is the online “no deal” process? Last year, the French authorities opened the online system for a short period in preparation for the possibility that the UK would leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. Some British people living in France made a residency permit application during this period. Those applications have been stored and the French government has said that those applicants do not need to re-apply. If this applies to you, you would have received an email confirmation earlier this year. Local Prefectures will start processing those applications shortly. If you have moved department since making your application, however, you do need to apply again. In certain regions, a backlog of EU carte de séjour applications meant that some British people who applied for a carte de séjour up to 18 months ago had their applications put on hold, or were still going through the process just before the new system launched. If you are part of this group, you need to apply for a new residency permit via the online system.




My son or daughter was brought up in France and educated here but has returned to the UK for university. How can they apply for a residency permit?


Studying abroad is not an obstacle to obtaining a residence permit as long as an individual’s usual residence is still France. Those who’ve lived in France more than five years can apply for permanent residency in their own right. Those who have not should apply as a family member of a British national (and not as a student if they are studying outside of France).

The process is the same as that described above. When asked for proof of residency in 2020, individuals should indicate their family's place of residence (or that of a third party if applicable), unless they have a personal domicile in France. See more information in the FAQ document on the application website.




I am self-employed / retired early / unemployed due to Covid – can I still apply for a residency permit?


Yes, you should still apply for a new residency permit under the Withdrawal Agreement. If you have been living in France for over five years, you will be eligible for permanent residency and your current employment status does not matter. For those of you who have been here for less time, the French authorities will take a case-by-case approach, considering your history and personal circumstances. Their intention is to allow UK nationals resident here to stay and the authorities have told us they will be pragmatic and show good will to anyone that may have been negatively impacted by COVID, for example losing income or relying on financial aid. If a decision is made that you disagree with, there are routes of appeal with the French authorities. You can also inform the Embassy via our website.




I have a second home in France and want to spend more than 90 days in 180 there. What should I do?


If you are not legally resident in France before 1 January 2021, then you will have to follow France’s immigration rules for long stays.

You will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period. However, if you want to stay longer in France, you will need to look at visa options. You can find information about this on the French government’s website here. The FCO’s France Travel Advice page always provides the most up to date information on entry requirements for travellers.




I’m a dual French-UK national or a dual UK-EU national. Do I need to apply for the residency permit? If not, are there any advantages to it?


If you are living in France and hold another EU nationality through birth or naturalisation in addition to your British nationality, then you are still covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. If your second EU nationality is not French, you can choose to apply for a residency permit, but you do not need this to protect your rights in France. We are waiting for the French authorities to confirm how dual British-FR nationals in France who do not need a residency permit can show that they also have other rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. For UK-related rights, such as eligibility for an uprated UK State Pension, the government will casework your entitlements as and when you reach state pension age or seek to access a UK benefit or service. This will ensure your entitlements are consistent with your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Further information is available on the government website.




I think I may have trouble completing the application when the system opens – what assistance is available to me?


The French authorities have provided clear information about the application process and we expect most UK nationals in France to be able to complete the simple online application by themselves. However, for those not comfortable with technology, computer access points with personal support may be available in certain Prefectures – check with your prefecture to find out more. The Embassy is working with a number of British associations across France to share information about the process and offer support where possible. Speak to your local British association, neighbour or friend to find out where to get support. Four organisations in France (funded by the UK government) are providing practical support to British nationals who may have difficulty in completing their residency applications. Support is available for pensioners, disabled people, and people living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties. Services include answering questions about and guidance through the application procedure and supporting people facing language barriers or difficulty accessing technology. If you or someone you know may have difficulty completing the application, you can contact these organisations using the details on our Living in France Guide to discuss how they may be able to help you. If you struggle with mobility, speak to your doctor or a social worker to investigate what transport costs may be covered under healthcare arrangements. When the Prefecture contacts you for an appointment, let them know about your mobility issues to find out what support may be possible. Prefectures can make some exceptions if someone is truly unable to attend an appointment.




Once I have my new residency permit, how long does it last for? Am I able to leave the country and how long for?


In general, if you have lived in France for less than five years, you will receive a residency permit valid for five years. With this permit, you can be absent from France for up to six months (or longer in exceptional circumstances) and retain your residency rights upon return. This will allow you to build up to the five years needed for permanent residency status. However, if you have recently moved to France as a jobseeker and have never worked in France before, you may be issued with a shorter-term residency permit. Once you have five or more years’ residency in France, you will have the right to permanent residency and therefore be entitled to a 10-year renewable residency permit. In this case, you can be away from the country for up to five years without losing your residency rights. You can find more information in our Living in France Guide.





Helping UK Nationals in France

IMPORTANT: The Project provides help and support to UK Nationals in France free of charge. We do not provide professional or legal advice. Please see our terms for more information about our services.

The “Diocese in Europe Residency Support Project” is operated by the Diocese in Europe Diocesan Board of Finance, a charitable company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales (registered number 00106580). Our registered address is at 14 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QZ.

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