Reader Q: Are My Children Covered by the Withdrawal Agreement When They Turn 18?


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Reader Q: Are My Children Covered by the Withdrawal Agreement When They Turn 18?

Each month, we answer one of your most frequently asked questions about buying or selling French property, moving to or living in France. This month, our FrenchEntrée Digital Editor, Zoë Smith, looks at how to apply for a carte de séjour for children covered under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Question: Can I apply for a carte de séjour for my children when they turn 18 under the Withdrawal Agreement?

I am British, my wife is American, and we have 17-year-old twin girls who hold British passports. My wife and I both have 5-year French Carte / Titre des Sejours (CDS), which we got when Brexit happened (they expire in 2026). We’ve been living in France since July 2016. As dependents (under 18), my girls were not eligible to get a CDS when we received ours.

In October 2024, our twin girls turn 18, and we are worried they won’t have the correct papers to stay here with us. We are also worried about their rights to travel with us to and from France.

What type of visa or carte de séjour should they apply for?  


Answer: Yes, the Withdrawal Agreement covers children who moved with their parents to France before Brexit. You can apply for a carte de séjour once they turn 18.

Under the terms of the UK-EU Withdrawl Agreement (WA) (which you can read more about here), British citizens who had already established residency in France before December 31, 2020, were granted the right to stay in France. All British citizens resident in France at the time were required to apply for a Titre de Séjour/Carte de Séjour (a residency permit/card), as William and his wife did.

There were two types of card issued – either a 10-year carte de séjour for those who had been living in France for more than five years prior to December 31, 2020, and a 5-year carte de séjour for those who had been living in France for less than five years prior to December 31, 2020, as with William and his wife. Both cards bear the wording ‘CARTE DE SEJOUR – ARTICLE 50 TUE’ (on the front) and ‘ARTICLE 18(1) ACCORD DE RETRAIT DU ROYAUME-UNI DE L’UE’ (on the back).

The former (10-year card) grants recipients the right of permanent residence in France, including the right to work and the right to have their children/spouse join them in France – this right to residency will only be lost if the individual lives outside of France for more than five years. The 10-year card is renewable.

The latter (5-year card) allows individuals the same rights to residency as above, but this is subject to the individual completing an initial five years of continual residency in France. Under the terms of the WA, the individual will acquire permanent rights after five years of residency. In Williams’ case, as he moved to France in 2016, these five years have already lapsed, and he already has permanent residency rights. His 5-year residency card doesn’t expire until 2026, after which he will be able to renew this for a 10-year carte de séjour.

Note that the five years is counted from the date of arrival in France (the date from which the individual became resident in France), not the issue date of the carte de séjour. William could, in theory, apply for a 10-year carte de séjour now – however, in practice, most prefectures will only let you renew your 5-year carte de séjour upon expiry.

The rights of minor children in France under the Withdrawl Agreement

Minor children were not able to apply for a carte de séjour after Brexit, as William points out – they were instead covered by their parents’ residency permits. However, under the Withdrawl Agreement, they are afforded the same rights as their parents.

Children turning 18

According to France’s government site (see here), the children (British or from any other non-EU country) of a British national beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement or the children of their spouse must apply for a carte de séjour within one year following their 18th birthday.

This application must be submitted directly at their local prefecture. They will be issued a carte de séjour bearing the same wording ‘CARTE DE SEJOUR – ARTICLE 50 TUE’ (on the front) and ‘ARTICLE 18(1) ACCORD DE RETRAIT DU ROYAUME-UNI DE L’UE’ (on the back), allowing them the right to stay in France and work/study in France. As with all WA carte de séjours, this should be issued free of charge.

If your child is turning 18, it’s a good idea to contact your prefecture as soon as possible and find out the process for applying for this carte de sejour – make sure that you make it clear that you will be applying for a “titre de séjour portant la mention « Accord de retrait du Royaume-Uni de l’Union Européenne »” . The procedure may vary slightly between prefectures, but expect to fill in an application form and provide supporting documents such as the child’s birth certificate, parents’ birth certificates and titre de séjours, and proof of address (for example, an attestation that the child lives with their parents).

Upon application, you should receive an attestation that serves as proof if your child wishes to travel prior to receiving their titre de séjour.

Children under 18 years old

Minor children under the age of 18 do not require a residency permit/carte de séjour to legally reside in France, providing that their parents do. They also do not need such a permit to travel as dependent children with their parents to and from France.

It is possible in some circumstances for children between the ages of 16 and 18 to apply for a carte de séjour, but this depends on the prefecture. Prefectures that do issue such cards only do so if there is a specific reason, such as undertaking a work placement that requires such a permit. In most circumstances, this will not be required.

If required, you may also apply for a “document de circulation pour étranger mineur” – this travel document allows the child to travel outside of Europe without their parents and serves as proof of residency to allow their re-entry into France. This document should be free of charge under the Withdrawal Agreement. Note that this isn’t required unless your child is travelling alone and hasn’t yet started the application for their carte de séjour.

You can read more on the governemnt’s Brexit site here.

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