In the 3 years since the Brexit vote, I have spent hundreds of hours on this subject and seen so many files that I have lost count. I repeat myself often and wonder if my message gets out there? I certainly hope some of you get the messages and that it helps make even a small difference. I hear each time, the same uncertainty, the same anguish and the same difficulty in making life changing decisions. Should I stay or should I go (you know that song right?)
As we find ourselves once again in the final run up to the Brexit date of 31st October, just what words of advice am I offering to not only my clients but to those of you who have still not quite decided how to deal with the situation. Many are in the ‘wait and see’ camp. Others are already brandishing their well earned CDS EU’s but wondering what the next steps will be.
So firstly let’s take a quick look at what the new rules would be for British expats in the world of a no deal Brexit :
- Your freedom to move around European countries, as it has been, will no longer exist.
- When you move to France (or any other EU country for that matter), you will need to go through the immigration process
- You will become a third country national in that if you are not a legal resident in France (by Brexit date or after ANY transiton period) you would have the same rights as a non European ie Americans, South Africans, Australians etc.
- After Brexit, you will need to meet the somewhat trickier conditions to become a resident of France (financial etc)
- If you wish to come to France for longer than 3 months, you will need to apply for a long stay visitors visa
- Working in France will be complex as you would need to have an employer who wants to go through the immigration system with you.
But don’t let this panic you as even if there is a no deal scenario on 31st October, there will be a short transition period for those of you who are already in France to get your paperwork in order. So do start now and if you need help, then shout out. There are some very good forums for those that feel they can do this alone. For those that want that extra help, care and attention, then contact us.
If you already have a European Residency Permit (Carte de Séjour Europeene): bear in mind that this will need to be altered to a non-European card at some stage in the near future. When to change it will be largely dependent upon if a deal is agreed or not. The advantage of having this card is that you will have already proved your financial status so the paperwork will be easier.
If you do NOT have a European Residency Permit: After the Brexit date and if a deal has not been agreed, you will need to provide a complete list of paperwork, including financial, in relation to your situation in France (retired, worker, business owner etc) in order to apply for the appropriate non-European residency permit. We have been assured by French Government that in the case of a no-deal Brexit, there will be a grace period of up to 1 year for everyone who is living in France to get their files to the prefecture. We still have no information on what the actual process will entail, although one can imagine a visit to the prefecture is the logical answer! So once again, start preparing your file, don’t wait.
Coming to France, after a no deal Brexit, what are your options?
If you are married to a European or a dependent family member of a European citizen
You will have the right to apply for a residency permit based on your european partner’s status. Of course his situation would need to be stable as you are dependent on his or her situation in France. You could come to France with your EU partner for 90 days and then you would need to contact your local prefecture to apply for the family EU card once here and within those 90 days.
Apply for a long stay visitors visa before your arrival
You should apply for a long stay visitors visa at the nearest French consulate in the UK (London, Manchester & Edinburgh). You will then get this validated by the immigration office within 3 months of arrival in France. This will be valid for one year and then you would renew it. Of course the type of residency card would depend on your activity in France. To get this visa, you will have to apply and provide certain documents to get the long stay visa namely : travel documents, proof of healthcare for the length of your stay, ID, photos, proof of address where you will be staying and healthcare.
Granted this may seem a little complex but soooo many non Europeans have been going through this process to come to France for years, so if you have a dream and want to come to France, then don’t let the paperwork stop you. Make it Happen !! I do believe in moving forward one step at a time and I made it happen for me for many other of my clients, so please don’t let paperwork get in your way of living your peaceful and dream life in France.
I hope this has proved useful and given you some steps to help you through the next few weeks and months. If you wish to book a consult to look at your file before a prefecture visit, then click here to book a slot with Tracy Leonetti who has a 100% success rate on CDS files.