Brexit update: Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021.

There are broadly no changes to the rights and status of UK nationals (and their direct family) living in France while the UK remains in the EU.

Those living legally and permanently in France will be able to stay and continue to work, as well as accessing French education and healthcare.

The French Ministry of Interior are working on the system they will put in place – to enable UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU to claim their rights after Brexit – but whatever happens you will have until at least December 2020 to submit any necessary registration documents.

Those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will also continue to receive their UK state pension and any relevant benefits.

In the meantime, we would encourage eligible UK nationals to get ready their papers (bank statements, examples of household and place of residence bills, etc) so that they’re able to demonstrate continued residency in France.

Looking forward, it’s probably best to apply for an EU carte de séjour (registration card) as well, which is free.

One issue not yet agreed on is onward movement beyond 2020 – for example if you currently reside in France but wanted to move to another EU country thereafter – but as soon as we know the details, you’ll know them too ok!  In the meantime join others and learn more in the forum.

Official information for UK nationals moving to and living in France need to know, including Brexit guidance, residency, healthcare and driving.

The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.

If you are resident in France at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in France.

Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. Read this guidance page for more information.

We will update this guidance as soon as more information becomes available.

You should also read the guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for France.

Residency
If you are resident in France before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, you will be able to stay.

All UK nationals resident in France will need to obtain a new residence permit in line with the Withdrawal Agreement. This includes:

  • UK nationals with a European carte de séjour (even if it is marked “permanent”, or has no expiry date)
  • UK nationals without a European carte de séjour (it is currently optional to have one)
  • UK nationals applying for a second nationality
  • UK nationals married to or PACSed to (in a civil partnership with) EU nationals
  • UK nationals recently arriving or well established in France

When the system opens, you will need to apply using the online residency portal. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the opening of the website, initially planned for 1 July 2020, has been postponed to 1 October 2020. You will have until at least 30 June 2021 to apply.

If you applied for residency on the previous ‘no–deal’ portal, you will not need to re-apply using the new one. Your application will be processed by the appropriate Préfecture before the deadline.

Read the French government’s guidance for UK nationals (in English), and the French Interior Ministry’s website on how to secure your residency rights (in French).

UK Nationals Support Fund
The government has announced funding for organisations to provide practical support to UK nationals who may have difficulty completing their residency applications.

Most UK nationals in France will be able to complete the simple online application by themselves. Support offered by the Fund is available to those who need additional help. This may include pensioners, disabled people, people living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties.

The services available for people who need this additional support include:

  • answering questions about residency applications, such as the documents required and application procedure
  • guiding individuals through the process, if necessary
  • supporting people facing language barriers or difficulty accessing technology

In France, three organisations are providing this support: The International Organisation for Migration in Brittany, Normandy and Paris, The Franco-British Network in the Dordogne, and SSAFA specifically for veterans across France. Information and guides produced by these organisations will be publicly available.

If you or someone you know may have difficulty completing the application, you can contact them using the details below to discuss how they may be able to help you.

IOM – The International Organisation for Migration (Brittany, Normandy and Paris)
Visit the IOM website

Email: UKnationalsFR@iom.int

Hotline: 08 09 54 98 32 available during the following hours:

Mon-Tues 2pm to 4pm and Wed-Thurs 10.30am to 12.30pm

FBN – The Franco-British Network (Dordogne)
Visit the FBN website

Email: The Franco-British Network

Hotline: 05 19 88 01 09 available during the following hours:

Mon, Tues and Wed, 9am to 1pm; Thurs and Fri 1pm to 5pm

SSAFA, The Armed Forces Charity (across France)
Visit the SSAFA website

Email: ukvie.support@ssafa.org.uk

Hotline: 08 05 11 96 17

Passports and travel

The rules on travel will stay the same until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from France.

Passports from 1 January 2021
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip.

From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). This requirement does not apply if you are entering or transiting to France, and you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may need to show a return or onward ticket and that you have enough money for your stay. You may also have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped for visits to these countries.

Entry requirements
From 1 January 2021, you will be able to travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism. This is a rolling 180-day period.

To stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel, you will need to meet the entry requirements set out by the country to which you are travelling. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit. You may also need to get a visa if your visit would take you over the 90 days in 180 days limit.

Periods of stay authorised under a visa or permit will not count against the 90-day limit. Travel to the UK and the Ireland will not change.

Different rules will apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen Area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

Healthcare

There will be no changes to your healthcare access before 31 December 2020. You can also continue to use your EHIC, as you did before, during this time.

You must register for healthcare as a resident in France, and in addition, you can sign up for top-up health insurance (mutuelle).

If you are legally resident in France, you can get a French social security card for healthcare (carte vitale). To get a French social security card, you will need to register with your local Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM). They can tell you which documents they need for your registration. Top-up insurance cover (mutuelle) also exists to cover the cost of healthcare not covered by a Carte Vitale.

If you have been resident in France for more than 3 months you can apply to be covered by the French healthcare system (PUMA).

Read the guidance on who can access healthcare in France and how to register.

Read the guidance on how to register for healthcare if you are a student.

State healthcare – S1
If you live in France and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

Read the guidance on how to get an S1 form.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you are resident in France, you must not use an EHIC from the UK for healthcare in France.

When you travel from France for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay:

If you’re living in France or move there permanently before 31 December 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in France as you do now, provided you remain resident.

You should also read guidance on:

Working and studying in France

If you are resident in France on or before 31 December 2020, you will maintain your right to work, as long as you remain resident in France.

Read the French government’s guidance on working in France and the guidance on working in an EU country.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a:

Studying in France
If you are resident in France on or before 31 December 2020, your right to study in France will stay the same, as long as you remain resident. You will maintain equal access to education, including higher education, on the same terms as domestic students.

University tuition fees for UK nationals coming to France to study from 1 January 2021 may be higher due to the French government’s reforms to public university tuition fees.

Increased fees will not apply to:

  • UK students already enrolled on a course of study when the reforms were announced (September 2019) for the duration of that course
  • UK students starting a course during the transition period, for the duration of that course

Check with your grant provider for any continued eligibility for student support (in French) and read the Campus France guidance on tuition fee reforms. (in English)

Money and tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with France to ensure you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in France have not changed.

Read the guidance about:

You should get professional advice on paying tax in France. Find an English-speaking lawyer in France.

Declaration of assets
All residents must declare any assets held outside France, including bank accounts, securities, rights, insurance, annuities and property. This declaration is separate to the annual tax return.

National Insurance
Find out if you can pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU or EEA and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

Pensions

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you retire in France, you can claim:

You can read the French government’s guidance on French social security including pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions
If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t. Or you can ask your local town hall (mairie) to fill in a French life certificate (certificat de vie) (in French) instead.

Pensions after 31 December 2020
There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming the UK State Pension in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.

If you are living in France by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.

If you work and pay social security contributions in France, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your French pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after 31 December 2020.

If you are considering moving to France on or after 1 January 2021 and you are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the rules depend on negotiations with the EU and may change. Check the guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension.

Benefits

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in France. You can:

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC, if you are asked for this.

French unemployment benefit
For French unemployment benefits, you should:

French disability benefit
Contact the Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées (MDPH) (in French) about disability allowance – there are several disability allowances so it’s best to seek advice from them before applying.

French family allowance
To apply for child allowance, family income support, single-parent allowance or housing allowance, contact the CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales) (in French) if you need help applying, request an appointment with the social worker at your local town hall (mairie).

Benefits after 31 December 2020
There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If you work and pay social security contributions in France, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for French contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after 31 December 2020.

If you are considering moving to France on or after 1 January 2021 and you are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the rules depend on negotiations with the EU and may change. Check the guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Driving in France

Driving licence rules will remain unchanged until 31 December 2020.

To exchange your UK licence for a French one, you can apply to the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés using their online platform (in French). You must be able to prove that you have been living in France for 185 days.

You must apply to exchange your UK or other EU licence for a French one in the following cases:

  • it needs to be amended to include a/several new driving categories
  • it needs to be exchanged because you committed a driving offence under the French Highway Code resulting in penalty points or a driving ban

If you are in the process of exchanging your UK licence for a French licence, do not try to renew in parallel with DVLA because this will invalidate your application. Applications in the UK with a French address cannot be processed.

For information on driving in France, read the guidance on:

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to France
Read the guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Read the European Union’s guidance on car registration and taxes in France. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so, you will need certificates of exemption.

Please contact your local prefecture or read the French government’s guidance on driving in France with a foreign licence (in French).

Voting

You cannot vote in elections in France or European Parliament elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in France, you will need to register the birth abroad.

If someone dies in France you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services in France

You may also need:

Accommodation and buying property

Read the guidance on:

Pets

Current pet travel rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on bringing your pet to the UK.

Emergencies

You can dial the European emergency number 112 in France, or dial:

  • 17 for police
  • 18 for fire brigade
  • 15 for medical

Find the full list of emergency number in France.

If you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault, you can find guidance on rape and sexual assault in France.

If you’re the victim of a crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact the British embassy in Paris.

Returning to the UK

You should tell the French and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

You should tell your local French tax office (in French) that you are changing address and the date you will leave.

You’ll need to tell your local social security office (in French) and benefit office you’re leaving if you’ve been getting unemployment benefit (in French) or child and housing benefit (in French).

If you get a UK State Pension, you must tell the International Pension Centre. If you get a French pension, contact your pension provider.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you’ll be able to access NHS care without charge.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the French authorities.

Source: gov.uk

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