New French law allows Brit expats to stay but cartes de sejour are costly

Published:  8 Feb at 6 PM
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The fast -tracked French law giving at least some certainty to UK expats terrified of the effects of a no-deal Brexit is on the statue books as of today.

A new French law passed as an emergency has now established residency for British expats living in France on Brexit day, and applies specifically to a no-deal Brexit. However, should the UK fail to allow French expats the same rights, it will be cancelled. The law allows a timescale of between three and 12 months for UK expats to get a non-EU citizen ‘carte de sejour’ under specially designed rules differing from and easier than those relating to other non-EU citizens. Those who’ve already applied for and received their cartes de sejour will be able to exchange them for a non-EU citizen document known as the carte de sejour longue duree.

An important aspect of the new law is that it allows healthcare access to British state pensioners holding S1 forms, although the financing involved in and supporting the scheme is not yet clear. Healthcare access is to be granted for two full years, hopefully pending a reciprocal agreement with the UK government and giving it time to respond. British pensioners on RSA income support benefit will also be allowed to continue receiving it for the same period of time. Not announced at the same time as the new law was the unpleasant fact that British expats applying post-Brexit for the cartes de sejour will be charged €269, a hefty sum for both single pensioners and married couples.

The UK’s settled status process seems to be far less financially onerous than the French version, with the reason given being that the British cards are based on a withdrawal agreement rather than a no-deal Brexit. The French plan is closer in intent and application to the requirements requested from non-EU citizens wishing to stay in the country, although it doesn’t include a mandatory visa. The present, optional residence cards offered to British expats are free, but must be replaced post-Brexit.
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