British expats in France worried over residency permit refusals

Published:  22 Nov at 6 PM
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French authorities in several regions are refusing to process British expats’ residency permits, advising them to try again once Brexit is finalised.

In an attempt to secure their status in France should the Brexit negotiations fail, many long-stay British expats are applying for a carte de sejour, the French residency permit available to foreigners who’ve been continually resident for five years or more. Applications are being processed without problems in many regions, but several prefectures are now rejecting applications, telling expats to come back after Brexit has been finalised.

British expats believe the carte de sejour is useful as it certifies its holder has lived in France on a ‘stable and legal basis’, but the most important reason for many is the avoidance of the post-Brexit rush of applicants. The majority are still concerned about the continuing insecurity being caused by breakdown after breakdown in the Brexit negotiations, and are afraid a hard Brexit may result in their being forced to return to the UK.

One 60-year old Briton living in Gironde has already had his application rejected and has received a letter reminding him he has legal status in France until Brexit finally kicks in. He told reporters he has no faith in the British government and is worried as to whether their angering of French lawmakers may result in his losing his right to remain. He’s aware he has no redress against the rejection, adding they have the right to just say ‘no’.

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Gironde prefecture confirmed Britons are being told to delay their applications, adding the referendum hasn’t changed the law as British expats are still EU citizens. The department, she said, invites those wishing to stay to apply as advised. At the same time, those who’ve been refused are being told by lawyers to return to the prefecture and point out they have a legal entitlement to apply at any time and have their applications processed.
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