Living in France After Brexit: What You Need to Know


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Living in France After Brexit: What You Need to Know

If you’re one of the almost 150,000 British expats that call France home, you probably have a whole bunch of questions about how Brexit is going to impact your life in France. Do you need to apply for your Carte de Séjour (residency permit)? What are your rights now that the UK has left the EU? How will Brexit affect your taxes, pensions, and healthcare? Here’s everything you need to know about living in France after Brexit.

What Are the Rights of British People Resident in France After Brexit?

If you were legally resident in France before January 1st, 2021, your rights are protected under the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. Essentially, this means that all UK nationals resident in France before this point will have the right to live, work, and stay in France permanently as long as they meet minimum requirements (we’ll get to that in a minute). 

First things first. If you’ve been living in France for more than five years or already have permanent residency status in France, you will not need to meet any minimum requirements to obtain your residency status. You will also be eligible to apply for French Citizenship if you wish (this is not a legal requirement but does have some benefits). Either way, you must still apply for a French Residency Card (Carte de Séjour) to secure your rights. 

If you’ve been living in France for less than five years or moved during the transition period (which ended December 31st, 2020), you will still be granted the right to stay in France as long as you meet the minimum requirements to apply for a French Residency Card (Carte de Séjour). 

If you weren’t a French resident by the end of 2020, read our article on moving to France after Brexit

Protect Your Rights: Apply for a French Residency Card (Carte de Séjour)

Regardless of your current status or how long you’ve been in France, you MUST apply for a French Residency Card (Carte de Séjour) to protect your rights. All British expats will require a Carte de Séjour by October 1, 2021. 

Applications can be made via France’s online residence permit application site and must be submitted before July 1, 2021. If you previously applied between October 2019 and January 2020, and have received confirmation of your application, you do not need to re-submit your application. 

To apply for your Carte de Séjour you will need:

  • A photocopy of your passport
  • Your current residence permit or proof of the date you became resident in France (for example, a tax document or home insurance contract)
  • Proof of residence in France (for example, a water or electricity bill)

If you have been living in France for less than five years, you will also need to prove that you meet the minimum requirements to stay in the country. For most applicants, this will mean providing proof of your job, business, enrolment in a study program, or sufficient funds or income. This document from the French government (in English) lays out the minimum requirements for French residency.

You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received, after which it will be processed by your local prefecture. You will then receive another email inviting you to the prefecture to complete the application, including having fingerprints taken and submitting a photograph for your residency card. Finally, your residency permit will be sent to you by post.

All Brits currently resident in France will have the right to apply for permanent residence or French citizenship after living in the country for five years.

What Else Do British Expats in France Need To Do Now?

From now on, British expats in France will have a different status, and there are a few things you are legally required to do. As well as applying for your Carte de Séjour, you will also need to register for French healthcare (if you aren’t already registered) and change your UK driver’s licence for a French one. Don’t worry – our handy 2021 checklist for British Expats in France will ensure you don’t forget anything!

Life in France After Brexit: What Changes?

For British expats permanently resident in France before Brexit, most things will remain the same. Once you’ve received your residency permit, you’ll be free to live, work, and study in France just as you did before Brexit. 

However, if you are a British passport holder, you will notice some changes when you travel to the UK from France, including new laws on what foods you can bring back to France with you. There are also changes for those travelling with pets between the UK and France

Find out more about life in France after Brexit with our guides to Retirees and Pensions After Brexit, Working in France After Brexit, and Taxes in France After Brexit.

Keep checking this page for the latest news on living in France after Brexit or head to our Brexit zone to learn more about living, travelling, and buying property in France from now on. 

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  •  Peter Jenkins
    2022-10-16 12:15:02
    Peter Jenkins
    My wife and I have post Brexit Titres de Sejour (1x5 years and then 1x10 years). We have decided for family and tax reasons to return to the UK. How do we do this?


    • Zoë Smith
      2022-10-17 12:02:01
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Peter, Thanks so much for your question. I'm going to answer it in detail as one of our Reader Questions article as I feel it's an answer that would be useful to go into some detail on. Please keep an eye out for it in the next week! Best regards, Zoe