If you have decided to move to France and would like to secure your future there post-Brexit, you’re going to have to apply for a Carte de Séjour, or residence permit.
Estimates suggest that currently fewer than 10% of Britons living in France possess Cartes de Séjour, so French authorities anticipate having to issue over 150,000 cards.
The new Carte de Séjour, issued under Article 18(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement, will prove that holders have a right of residence, and will be necessary for travel and work. To qualify, you must be living legally in France by the end of the Transition Period, currently set at 31st December 2020.
Here, we’ll take a look at how to go about applying for the new Carte de Séjour.
Carte de Séjour – Online Application
UK citizens living in France have until 30th June 2021 to apply. A new online system for applications was due to begin in July 2020, but has been delayed until October. The Ministry has advised that all Cartes de Séjour issued under the Withdrawal Agreement will be free of charge.
If you have already applied at your local préfecture, your application should remain in the system and automatically be entered into the new application process, and there will be no need to reapply.
If you already hold a Carte de Séjour Permanent as an EU citizen you will be able to exchange your old card for a new one, and if you hold a temporary card there will be fewer papers to submit in the application process.
Applications made by families at the same time shall be considered together.
Permanent or Temporary Card
Anyone who has been living in France for more than five years can apply directly for a permanent residency card.
Anyone who has just moved to France can apply for a temporary card which will be valid for between 1 and 5 years depending upon your situation. The Withdrawal Agreement gives the right to attain 5 years’ residence and then apply for a permanent card.
These will need to be scanned and uploaded during the application process, and will include:
If employed: certificate of employment/contract and payslips
If self-employed: proof of self-employment
If economically inactive: proof that you have sufficient resources – see below for more details
If you’re a student: proof that you’re enrolled in a registered educational establishment
Proof of comprehensive health cover, either through France’s own health system or private health insurance. An S1 form is sufficient for those who receive a UK state pension or other qualifying benefit
Sufficient Resources – What Does This Mean?
If you’re not economically active (whether retired or not) you will need to prove that you’re self-sufficient and that your resources are enough to live on without being deemed to be a burden or potential burden on the state.
France’s official government website quotes a required income level equivalent to the top-up benefits for those on low incomes. They are known as RSA (Revenu de Solidarité Active) or, for the over-65s, ASPA (Allocation de Solidarité aux Personnes Agées).
Current rates of RSA are approximately €560 a month for a single person, €840 for a couple. If you have a child or children, these figures are increased. Current rates of ASPA are approximately €900 a month for a single person and €1400 for a couple.
If your income is higher than these figures, you will automatically be considered to have ‘sufficient resources’.
Local préfectures cannot systematically refuse a Carte de Séjour to people whose income is below the guideline figures – each case will be assessed individually and they will take into account whether, for example, you own your own home or live rent-free.
It remains unconfirmed how savings will be assessed to see whether the self-sufficiency conditions are met.
How the Online Application Should Work
The online application is essentially a streamlined version of applying at the prefecture, and you will need to scan and upload any supporting documents.
If you have been living in France for less than five years you fill in your personal details – name, age, address, marital status etc, and then state which category you fall into: employed, self-employed, student, retired, unemployed or otherwise economically inactive, or a family member of someone meeting the conditions under one of these categories.
If you have been living in France for more than five years you will also need to enter the date of your arrival, before uploading supporting documents which will include proof of your arrival date.
On successfully completing your application, you will receive an acknowledgement email and a reference number.
Your application will be evaluated by your local préfecture, who will contact you either to request further information, or to make an appointment to finalise the procedure. This may well involve having fingerprints taken and your passport verified.
The new Carte de Séjour will be sent by post. The time it takes to process the application will vary depending on your area, and the number of applications they have received.
Please note that this information was accurate at the time of writing.