U.K. nationals: how to apply for permanent residency in France after Brexit ?

What does Brexit mean for U.K. citizens residing in France ?

When the U.K. was a member of the European Union, British nationals had the right to live and work in other EU states, including France, without the need for a visa or residency permit. This status came to an end after the U.K. ended its transitional arrangements with the EU on 31 December 2020, completing its exit from the organization.


British nationals already living in France have their rights to live in the country protected by provisions of the withdrawal agreement as long as they lived in France before January 2021. However, if this applies to you, you must apply for a new residence status by 1 July 2021 to secure your rights. Possession of a residence permit will be compulsory from 1 October 2021 for anyone over the age of 18. Minors are exempt from the obligation to hold a residence permit unless they require one for work or study reasons.


All U.K. nationals must apply for this permit, even if you have an existing European carte de séjour (an optional residency document). Those without a carte de sejour, as well as those applying for a second nationality, or who are married to or in a civil partnership with an EU national, should also apply for the new residency permit to secure their rights.


How long will my residency registration be valid for?

If you have been living in France for more than five years, you will be eligible for permanent residency granted with a 10-year renewable residency permit. Those who have been in France for fewer than five years will be eligible for a card valid for five years, after which they will be eligible for permanent residency status.


When applying you will also need to provide your passport, evidence proving you have been residing in France, and documents showing your personal status. For example, students will need to show they are attending an educational institution, workers must provide evidence of employment or self-employed status, or retirees proof of financial resources. More information on what documents you will need to apply for residency can be found in this flow chart here: Required French residency documentation. You can submit your documents online via scanned or photographed copies in approved file formats ( .pdf, .png, .jpeg or .jpg).


You can apply online via the French government’s online process, here: French residency application.


After validating your request online, you will receive an e-mail with a registration acknowledgment number and once your application has been processed, an email will be sent to you by your local prefecture’s services department setting up an appointment where you will finalize your application by submitting photographs for your permit and having your fingerprints taken. Your residence permit will then be posted to your home.


Before October 2021, your rights will remain the same under the withdrawal agreement, even without your residency permit, but you should carry evidence that you are a resident in France like a tenancy agreement, property rental receipts, or energy bills in your name dating to 2020, in order to prove your status.


I am not currently living in France but wish to apply for residency

As of the 1st of January 2021, U.K. citizens wishing to live, work, or study in France for more than 90 days will need a long-stay visa and cannot benefit from the provisions of the withdrawal agreement as the laws on entry for third-country nationals apply. You will need to submit your application to the French Consulate General. You can stay in France for an extended period for tourist or personal reasons, to work, to pursue education, or join family members but are required to attach specific documents supporting your application, such as proof of employment or study, as well as criminal record checks and your passport.


Registering for healthcare in France

Those registering as residents or moving to France to live must register for state healthcare in France and can sign up for top-up health insurance if desired. If you are a legal resident in France, after three months, you can get a French social security card for healthcare (known as a carte vitale). To get a French social security card, you will need to register with your local Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM), who will tell you the required documents you will need to submit with your application.


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Frequently asked questions about applying for residency in France

Is additional support available to U.K. citizens residing in France?

Those needing help to complete their residence application or registration - such as the elderly or disabled - can get support from organizations funded by the UK Nationals Support Fund.

As a French resident can I travel to other EU countries?

Those with permanent residency in Schengen states - like France - are free to travel to any country within the visa-free area for short stays of up to 90 days - longer stays will be subject to local rules. You should travel with your residency card.

I have applied online for a residence permit between 9 October 2019 and 31 January 2020 - do I have to re-apply?

No. As your application has been registered and will be processed. However - if you have moved to a new prefecture you will need to re-apply.