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France is currently the only EU country (except the UK for now) that hasn’t required EU citizens moving from another EU state to register as a legal resident after 3 months. This means that most UK citizens in France have not applied for a carte de séjour - in fact, figures from the Ministry of the Interior suggest that to date only a huge minority have done so.

There are a number of possible outcomes depending on whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or with no deal and also depending on your circumstances.

You will find more details by clicking on the links below. Keep reading for more general information about carte de séjours.

1. Pre-Brexit - Retired/Inactive

2. Pre-Brexit Working/Self Employed

3. Pre-Brexit - Student

8. Cartes - HELP!


Everyone will need to hold a carte de séjour/carte de resident after Brexit, whether there is a deal or not.


An online system is in place in case of no-deal. You will find the online portal here. Please read our article about the new system before you use it. You'll find the article here.


Under a deal, this card would be free of charge and the transition period would be longer (expected to at least until end 2020). 


With no Deal, there will be a transition period and you will have 6 months to apply for a card.  


Under no deal, this card is expected to cost 119 € - each renewal. 


With a deal this card is free. 


Those with 5 years or more residence will have to apply for a carte de resident longue durée (CdRLD). This is covered by the EU Long Term Residence Directive. If you already hold a carte de séjour permanent as an EU citizen you should enjoy and easy exchange. If you don't have one you'll have to apply with more information to prove your 5-year legal residence. 


Those with less than 5 years' residence will have to apply for one of the cartes de séjour listed in the decree. 


Certain family members (of any nationality) who were living with a British citizen at any cut off date may apply for and receive the same term of the card as the legally resident British family member. 


Health cover under an S1 will continue for a while and hopefully will be honoured going forward as it was before the common market (to be clarified/agreed).

There are likely to be reciprocity conditions.



We talked earlier about legal residence. 


You do not need to have a card for less than 3 months of residence.


Those between 3 months and 5 years will need to apply for cards (varied) - see CdS decree tab in here under 5 years


Those with 5+ years of legal residence will apply for permanent status - see Cds decree tab in site for more than 5 years

Suggestions right now (before Brexit)

1. If you have less than 3 months of residence, what we suggest is that you start putting together your dossier ready for your first application. Collecting paperwork is vital in France. 


2. If you have between 3 months and 5 years of residence, tidy up your dossier in preparation.


3. ​If you have lived in France for over 5 years, and your préfecture is still accepting applications - try to get a carte de séjour permanent now. 



​Applications & Renewals

Current applications for a Carte de Séjour are handled by your local préfecture or at the Préfecture de Police in Paris. The préfecture will usually let you know - online or email what documents they need. You can find your préfecture's website online by adding to your department's name. For more information on your préfecture you can do a search on the main RIFT group Facebook page to get some local experiences (search box is usually on the left-hand side for PCs and at the top for phones - enter keywords - such as préfecture name). 


A new online system for your initial application is expected to be launched in October 2019. We will release more details as soon as we have them. Expect the new system to require one Préfecture visit for your electronic fingerprinting. EU Citizens who live legally in France are entitled to a card by right.


Cartes de Séjour are for adults only. You can ask for a DCEM for your children - a special card to facilitate travel and prove residence.

See here for DCEM details


You do not need to speak French in order to qualify for a carte de séjour as an EU citizen or post any exit from the EU, if already resident. Third Country Nationals do need to speak some French (or be ready to learn some fast). You will need to answer questions in French during your meeting at the préfecture, so those without basic French skills may want to take a friend to help out (or you could try to amuse the staff with some interesting translations from your mobile device).


Renewals - Your permanent Carte de Sejour and in case of no-deal (and perhaps deal) your CdRLD will last for 10 years and is renewable. At renewal you need to provide - passport, a set of recent Id photos, proof of where you live and proof you’ve been living in France. Renewal is free in case of deal or no Brexit (small fee if you’ve lost your card) or probably 119€ in case of no deal. To renew a less than 5 years card it’s all the same dossier as your first application unless your status has changed.

​Renewals must be done within the 2 month period immediately before expiry.


“Paperasse” - a “popular” French word for - Paperwork - RED TAPE!

As a minimum, you’ll need your passport, proof of income, proof of medical cover and proof of résidence along with a “mugshot”  (take the strip you get from the machine/photographer as numbers of pictures vary)

Click here for photo requirements



Be ready to provide more information/documents - such as birth and marriage certificates. 

​If you don’t pay bills you’ll need an attestation d'hébergement (a bill payer vouching for you)

Here is a link to a draft 

You need to prove you have medical cover - this is usually in the form of an "attestation" from your health care “caisse”. It’s basically the paper part of your Carte Vitale, proving your rights are still valid. They can usually be printed from your online account or from the machines in the foyer of your “caisse” - often CPAM. Comprehensive private medical cover can also be shown but you may need to explain this to your préfecture who may not be familiar with such documents. This does not mean that you need private health insurance - the French system is enough. You need to be covered to the same level as a French national and therefore a private "mutuelle" (top-up) is not required.

You don't need to provide a letter of motivation for an application, however, if you prefer to write one that’s fine too.


How much Income?


  • Employed people don’t need to prove minimum income

  • Self Employed people need to prove their business is genuine and effective

  • Students need to prove they are studying

  • People not working/retired need to prove they will not be a “burden” on the state in their first 5 years of résidence

  • Unemployed people need to show they are receiving “chômage” from the Pôle d’Emploi

  • Disabled people receiving AAH do not need to prove income


Couples usually have their income considered as a couple as that’s what also happens for Impôts. If your husband/wife has no income - they can have a family member card. Couples who are PACsé usually need 1 year after PACS to be considered together

Whilst we are EU citizens, France cannot specify a set amount for "sufficient resources" and they have to consider your personal situation. 

They can use basic social income benefits (RSA) as a minimum guide for "inactives". For over age 65 they look at ASPA benefits.

Once you have 5 years of adequate income and prove the other tests of legal résidence then income isn’t tested and you can receive basic income benefits (RSA) and still get a card. They’ll probably test you anyway before they pay RSA. 

Capital/investment income should be considered

Home ownership may reduce the minimum income requirement slightly (scroll down on this site to see how much they reduce by if someone is claiming basic medical top-up cover )

The best way to prove income is an Avis d’Impôts if you have lived in France for more than a year

These are the guideline minimums for “inactives” at September 2019

RSA for under 65 (single) - 559,74€ per month

RSA for under 65 (couple) - 839,62€ per month

​ASPA age 65 and older (single) - 868,20€ per month

ASPA age 65 or older (couple) - 1347,88€ per month

​See Government website on RSA for income with extra dependents

If you are trying to prove 5 legal years in the past these are historic RSA/RMI figures - click here for the relevant site 


Health Cover


Note the requirement for health cover. It seems that many have used an EHIC on arrival in France but technically this is only for visits as a tourist and not as a resident. It is not a fast process to join the medical system and it can be accessed by 


  • employment or self-employment;

  • or a UK issued S1 form if you’re in receipt of a state pension or those that work in the UK, and their dependants; or

  • through the French universal health coverage system - known as PUMa (Protection Universelle Maladie).


All legal residents may access PUMa. 




Taxes are what we pay for civilized society

​If you live in France you must get to grips with French tax forms. All need to complete these and get an Avis d'impôts every year. They don't chase you to file your taxes so you need to know it's something that needs doing. Don't forget to declare foreign bank accounts unless you like big fines. The Avis you get back will be one of the most precious items to add to your residence dossier. The French fiscal (tax) year runs from January to December. You will usually need to make your tax declaration in May of the following year.


​Permanent Residence


To get a carte de séjour permanent, you have to produce all the evidence to show that you've met the conditions for 5 years - even if you've been living in France for 20 years.​

In some special cases and if you have been exercising treaty rights as a worker, then you can qualify for permanent residence in less than 5 years - retirement after 3 years of work, illness after 2 years of work, work accident, certain cross-border workers.




Do you meet the conditions to be legally exercising your free movement rights in France?

All EU citizens have to meet certain conditions during their first 5 years in another EU state in order to be considered legally resident. After 5 years you acquire permanent residence status. How do you prove permanent residence? The following is taken from the EU parliament website. You can read it in full here




Right of residence for up to three months (no carte or visa required for UK citizens)


1.   Union citizens shall have the right of residence on the territory of another Member State for a period of up to three months without any conditions or any formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport.

2.   The provisions of paragraph 1 shall also apply to family members in possession of a valid passport who are not nationals of a Member State, accompanying or joining the Union citizen.



Right of residence for more than three months


1.   All Union citizens shall have the right of residence on the territory of another Member State for a period of longer than three months if they:

(a) are workers or self-employed persons in the host Member State; or

(b) have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State during their period of residence and have comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the host Member State; or

(c) are enrolled at a private or public establishment, accredited or financed by the host Member State on the basis of its legislation or administrative practice, for the principal purpose of following a course of study, including vocational training; and have comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the host Member State and assure the relevant national authority, by means of a declaration or by such equivalent means as they may choose, that they have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State during their period of residence; or

(d) are family members accompanying or joining a Union citizen who satisfies the conditions referred to in points (a), (b) or (c).

2.   The right of residence provided for in paragraph 1 shall extend to family members who are not nationals of a Member State, accompanying or joining the Union citizen in the host Member State, provided that such Union citizen satisfies the conditions referred to in paragraph l(a), (b) or (c).

3.   For the purposes of paragraph 1(a), a Union citizen who is no longer a worker or self-employed person shall retain the status of worker or self-employed person in the following circumstances:

(a) he/she is temporarily unable to work as the result of an illness or accident;

(b) he/she is in duly recorded involuntary unemployment after having been employed for more than one year and has registered as a job-seeker with the relevant employment office;

(c) he/she is in duly recorded involuntary unemployment after completing a fixed-term employment contract of less than a year or after having become involuntarily unemployed during the first twelve months and has registered as a job-seeker with the relevant employment office. In this case, the status of worker shall be retained for no less than six months;

(d) he/she embarks on vocational training. Unless he/she is involuntarily unemployed, the retention of the status of worker shall require the training to be related to the previous employment.

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