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Applying now the portal  has closed

Information for UK nationals and their families who were living lawfully in France by 31 December 2020

Following the UK’s exit from the EU and the end of the transition period, UK nationals (and their non EU family members) no longer enjoy the right of Freedom of Movement within the EU members states.


UK Nationals are now Third Country Nationals in relation to the EU.

Therefore UK nationals who live or want to live in France will fall into one of 3 main categories (please note for the purposes of this article we do not include those who have an EU partner or spouse)

Category A – Those living lawfully in France by 31 December 2020 – afforded residency rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Category B – Those moving to France after 1 January 2021 AND joining a qualifying member of family who is already living in France (under Category A) AND who is considered an immediate* family member – afforded residency rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Category C – Those moving to France after 1 January 2021 NOT afforded residency rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.


This article relates to those who were already living lawfully in France by 31 December 2020 – Category A above.

For those immediate* family members (those in Category B) joining a Category A family member after that date, please see this article - Joining a Family Member

For those in Category C, it is still possible to move to France even if you are not covered by the WA, for more information please read our Bitesize guide - Moving to France after 1 January 2021 


The Withdrawal Agreement (WA)

The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) sets out the rights that allow UK nationals and their families living lawfully in an EU country by 31 December 2020 to remain living in their host EU country after Brexit.

It also sets out the rights of immediate* family members joining them after 31 December 2020.

You can read the WA on the EU website  and will find the Citizens’ Rights agreement in Part Two (Article 9) and also here.

You may find this EU Q&A document of use and in particular the pdf relating to France


The French government put in place a constitutive residence scheme which means UK nationals and their families, living lawfully in France by 31 December 2020, must apply for their new residency status.


Even those who already held a permanent or temporary Carte de séjour, obtained as an EU national, need to exchange it for the new card which confirms they have obtained the new residency status. To find out more about the different types of card and to determine if you need to exchange your card, please read this article.


You can read more about the application process in the series of articles here

In France a grace period for applications was put in place; it ended on 30 June 2021.


However, the application portal remained open until 4 October 2021 and the French government encouraged all qualifying UK nationals and their family members to apply if they had not already done so.

We suggested that if you made your application after 30 June 2021 (the end of the ‘grace period’) that you ensured you included reasons for your late application in the comments section of the online application.

On 1 January 2022, it will be mandatory for UK Nationals and their families (who do not also have an EU nationality) to hold a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WA RP) Carte de Séjour

So what do you do if you were living lawfully in France by 31 December 2020 but did not apply for the new residency status before the portal closed?

You will find more information on the recently updated French Public Services website

You should contact your local préfecture immediately and arrange to make your application.

Most préfectures have online contact forms or email addresses on their websites.

In some departments you may be able to visit your préfecture in person.

Ensure you explain that you were living in France by 31 December 2020 and that you are therefore covered by the WA – l’accord de retrait – and that you qualify for and need to apply for an Article 50 TUE Carte de Séjour in accordance with Article 18(1) Accord de Retait du Royaume-Uni de l’EU.

You will need to set out why you did not apply by the end of the grace period (30 June 2021)

There is a French government website page giving brief information about what circumstances might be considered when reviewing a late application.

You can refer to our WA permit process pages to find out what information you will need to provide to show proof that you were lawfully living in France by 31 December 2020.



*An immediate family member would cover a spouse, registered partner, direct descendant (child, grandchild etc) who is under 21 OR who is older than this but dependent, or direct ascending relative (parent, grandparent etc) who is dependent. Others may have derived rights (for example post-divorce) and some may have facilitated entry (for example those newly arrived in a durable relationship). Children adopted at a later date may also be covered by the WA. 

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