A new French government website where British people who live in France can make carte de séjour applications entirely online is set to ‘launch during October’.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has confirmed that the site – which has long been promised – is to go live in coming weeks, making the process of applying for cards, which Britons in France will be obliged to hold if Brexit takes place, easier than before.
It is expected that most people will then be able to apply entirely online, including scanning in and attaching supporting documents, and that only one prefecture visit will be required to collect the card and give fingerprints.
Various matters remain to be clarified however, including what cards people will be able to apply for and whether the new system will be an optional alternative to current methods or obligatory. Connexion is making enquiries with the Interior Ministry and the British Embassy and will provide updates in due course.
At present application methods vary around France with a few prefectures asking for them by post, while others operate either a system of generalised queueing to see an official – sometimes for several hours – and others ask people to book a set appointment in advance.
A substantial number of supporting documents is usually needed and prefectures often ask people to bring in both originals and photocopies. Translations may be asked for for ones in English.
In some cases Britons have had many visits to their prefecture due to being turned away on some occasions because of excessive queues, being asked to return with extra documents etc.
In best-case scenarios at present people have usually had to attend in person at least once to lodge their dossier and then again to collect the card. The length of the whole process has varied from two or three weeks to more than a year.
As for what cards Britons will need, at present they may only apply for EU citizens’ cards, which are usually optional for EU citizens but will be useful to Britons if Brexit takes place. For example the carte de séjour – séjour permanent can be simply swapped for a non-EU citizen’s long-term resident card the French no-deal laws say.
After a no-deal Britons would have six months in which to apply for one of a range of non-EU citizens’ cards and one year in total from Brexit to live in France legally without one. After a Brexit with a deal they would have to apply for some form of card during the transition period in order to remain in legal residency.
Also this week the prime minister said that France was well-advanced with no-deal preparations and had taken on 600 extra customs officers and 200 extra veterinary experts. He also said he had appointed the prefect of the Hauts-de-France region and the Nord department, Michel Lalande, as national coordinator for Brexit preparations.
A French government website of Brexit information is in place at brexit.gouv.fr and is available in both French and English.
- There will be more information about impacts of Brexit and how to prepare for it in our new guide to Brexit and Britons in France.
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