Report on RIFT's 2nd

Withdrawal Agreement

Residence Permit Survey

Survey button.GIF

Please note the spreadsheet is best viewed on a large screen. Click the tabs to view the different data sets.

​Data for departments with few respondents should be treated with caution.

Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit Survey

 

In April 2021 RIFT conducted a second survey of applications for the new Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WA RP) and this is a summary of our findings.

About RIFT

Remain in France Together (RIFT) is a small group of volunteers providing information and support to UK passport holders and their families living in France. Our information relates to the rights of UK passport holders and their families who are afforded the protection of the Withdrawal Agreement.

​The group, which receives no funding, was set up following the referendum in 2016. It provides information and guidance on citizens’ rights post Brexit via a popular Facebook group (in excess of 22,000 members), website and regional Facebook groups.

About our surveys

In January 2021 the group ran a short, anonymous survey to take a snapshot of the situation with regard to applications for the new Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WA RP). You can read more about it here.

 

​We ran our second survey between 31 March and 11 April 2021, again with the aim of gauging what percentage of UK passport holders and their family members have or haven’t applied and to identify any trends which are emerging regarding timescales, documents required and any variations in the process by individual préfectures.

 

We have summarised the data below and you can also view the national data and the breakdown for each department and topic via the link at the top or bottom of the page.

Who responded?

A total of 5187 respondents completed the survey. The response rate amounts to over 20% of our membership, covering all regions of France, so we can be confident that the sample size is large enough to give a representative snapshot of the situation as at mid-April i.e. six months into the application window.

33.8% of respondents had also completed the January survey.

The responses cover all regions of France.

Some 60% of respondents had been living in France for more than five years with the remaining 40% arriving within the last five years. These figures are the same as in our January survey.

98.70% of respondents to our survey are UK passport holders. As with our survey in January, this means we have little data on how easy it is proving for non-British family members to go through this process.

Key findings

We had a total of 5187 respondents, of whom 94.4% had already applied for their WA RP, an increase of 7.9% on our survey in January. Whilst it is to be expected that our survey respondents are more likely to be digitally-enabled and well informed about the process, this figure is nonetheless very encouraging.

For 51.6% of people, this was their first ever application for a residence permit. The other 48.4% already held an existing Carte de Séjour (CdS).

Of those people who have already made a WA RP application, 93.26% have applied since the new WA RP portal was launched in October 2020 and the remainder had applications carried over from the ‘No Deal’ portal that was open for a few months during 2019/20.

How long is the wait?

Many people will probably jump straight to this section. If you are still waiting and impatient for news then don’t worry, a large minority of applicants have not yet been contacted by their préfecture.

Of the 4899 respondents who have applied for their WA RP (applicants), 29.27% had received their WA RP at the time of completing the survey. This is an encouraging increase of 22.28% on our January survey.

In 65% of cases where the applicant had already received their WA RP, they had been required to attend a rendez-vous at the prefecture. 29% reported that their WA RP had either been sent directly or had been available to collect without the need for a rendez-vous. 6% did not indicate how they obtained their card.

In contrast to our January survey, where 72% had received an acknowledgement of their application but had heard nothing further i.e. had not been invited to an rendez-vous or asked for further information, our April survey shows a significant decrease in this number to 45.51%, so there is a significant increase in the % of people who can be confident their applicant is actually being processed.

Waiting Times for contact from the local préfecture

We analysed the applications made on the new online system for the first 6 months of its implementation – October to March inclusive.

The vast majority of applications (1806 / 39.52%) were made in October and of those 31.62% have not yet been contacted.

2142 applicants indicated that they have had, or are due to have, a rendez-vous at the préfecture.

 

We noted in the last report that processing of applications did not begin in earnest (except in a few test areas) until the decree bringing the process into law was published in late November 2021. Rendez-vous dates started coming through thick and fast from January onwards.

The average waiting time for an applicant who applied in October and has been contacted further by their préfecture was 4.33 months. (October was counted as a full month)

The more recent the application, the higher the percentage of people awaiting contact from their préfecture.

 

Month of application - % not yet contacted

Oct  31.62%    

 

Nov  41.96%

Dec  57.41%

Jan  62.69%

Feb  70.11%

March  76.04%

There is a certain amount of ‘buzz’ on Facebook complaining that processing is taking place in an ad-hoc manner rather than first come, first served. Our evidence does not bear this out. Our table below shows the month in which the application was made and the month in which the WA RP was received. 

On the contrary, the more recently the applicant was made, the higher percentage of people applying, the more likely you are to be waiting for contact from the préfecture.

Table.GIF

Waiting times can vary significantly between préfectures depending on the ratio of available staff to WA RP application in each préfecture. What seems clear is that individual préfectures are dealing with applications in order.

Rendez-vous dates

2142 applicants indicated that they have had, or are due to have, a rendez-vous at the préfecture. At the time of the survey 1604 applicants had already attended a rendez-vous, the majority (656) during March 2021. A further 404 are booked for April and 134 are booked for May, June and July 2021.

Changing the rendez-vous date

A question sometimes asked on our Facebook group is how to change the date of the rendez-vous where it is not possible for the applicant to attend.

We asked respondents to tell us if they’d contacted their préfecture and if so, what response had they received to their request.

 

A total of 117 respondents had tried to change their date, and of those 82 had received a new date directly from the préfecture, 14 were told to re-apply via the online system in order to obtain a new date,12 were told to rebook their date via the préfecture website and 9 were refused a change of date.

Further information requested of applicants

169 applicants have been asked to provide further information via the online system, prior to a rendez-vous being given.

​All applicants who have been asked to attend the préfecture have been asked to take certain items/documents to their forthcoming rendez-vous.

We are pleased to report there have been no surprises in the types of information that are being requested. There appears to be no trend emerging of préfectures asking for unusual or unexpected documents or for translations of documents.

It should be noted however, that we have been made aware, via our Facebook group, of a very small number of cases where a préfecture has asked for excessive or inappropriate documents but there does not appear to be any trend either in the documents sought or the préfectures concerned.

Surrendering a current CdS

790 respondents had been asked to surrender their current CdS in order to obtain their new WA RP, of these the vast majority (599) were asked to surrender it at their rendez-vous.

Are there departmental variations?

​There are some variations across the departments. Some are to be expected in departments which are known to have a significant proportion of UK nationals and departments such as Dordogne (24) have been provided with extra staff to test the system and speed up processing in those areas.

For the Dordogne (24) our survey shows that 76.60% of the 235 applicants had received their WA RP already.

​We noted other variations, for example in Lot (46) of the 92 applicants over 60% have been contacted and nearly 50% have received their WA RP.

By contrast, in Puy-de-Dôme (63) and Drôme (26), only 2 of the combined 60 applicants have been contacted and none have received their WA RP.

It should be remembered however, that the préfectures have until 1 October 2021 to provide the WA RP to qualifying applicants, although the application portal for UK passport holders living in France by 31 December 2020, closes on 30 June 2021.

 

More than 5 years and less than 5 years – CdS or no CdS

60% of our respondents have lived in France for more than 5 years and 40% have arrived within the last 5 years.

 

48.4% of our respondents had previously held a Carte de Séjour (CdS) and 51.6% had not.

We looked in more detail at the data to see if holding a previous CdS sped up the process in any way.

The data indicates that those with more than 5 years residence who hold a current or expired permanent CdS, are more likely to have received their WA RP than any other group, whilst those with less than 5 years residence who have never held a CdS, are the least likely.

Those living in France for more than 5 years.

44.85% of respondents who have lived in France for more than 5 years, had applied for their WA RP and held either a current or expired permanent CdS (known as a 10 year card) had already received their WA RP.

 

27.48% of respondents who have lived in France for more than 5 years, had applied for their WA RP and held either a current or expired temporary CdS had already received their WA RP.

27.29% of respondents who have lived in France for more than 5 years and had applied for their WA RP but had not held a CdS before had already received their WA RP.

Those living in France for less than 5 years.

27.39% of respondents have lived in France for less than 5 years, had applied for their WA RP and had held either a current or expired CdS had already received their WA RP

15.81% of respondents who have lived in France for less than 5 years and had applied for their WA RP but had not held a CdS before had already received their WA RP.

 

What if I haven’t yet applied?

As we’ve said, the window for applications closes on 30 June 2021 and UK passport holders living in France are obliged to hold a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WA RP) by 1 October 2021.

Whilst we know that many of you are still collating information or waiting to hear about others’ experiences before submitting your application, we strongly recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. We hope this report will reassure you that most people are finding the process straightforward.

You can also view the national data and the breakdown for each department and topic via the link at the bottom of the page.

 

Next steps for RIFT

We will be further analysing the data and providing it to the British Embassy and the Ministry of the Interior.

 

Survey button.GIF

Please note the spreadsheet is best viewed on a large screen. Click the tabs to view the different data sets.

​Data for departments with few respondents should be treated with caution.

Disclaimer

This is one of a series of resources produced by Remain in France Together (RIFT). RIFT[2] is a statutory association governed by French law and managed and run by volunteers. It exists to uphold the rights of British citizens living in, or moving to, France affected by the UK withdrawal from the EU.

This report is based on anonymous survey data and RIFT is not responsible for the accuracy of the respondents’ information. The report is offered free for personal, non-commercial use.

When using our printed guides, you should check the website to make sure that you have the latest version.

Original author: Claire Phillips

This information was last updated:19 April 2021

 

 

[1] Membership on 16/04/2021 was 22,485

[2] Remain in France Together (RIFT) - Association Loi 1901 enregistrée sous le No. W112005854 à la Sous Préfecture, Bureau des Associations, 12 Rue du Palais 11300 Limoux