Report on RIFT

Withdrawal Agreement

Residence Permit Survey

In January 2021 RIFT took a snapshot of the situation with regard to 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 the survey

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).

The survey ran for 20 days – 12 January to 31 January 2021 – 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.

 

Who responded?

A total of 4098 respondents completed the survey. The response rate amounts to almost 20% of our membership[1].

The responses cover all regions of France. Some 60% of respondents had been here more than five years with the remaining 40% arriving within the last five years.

We can therefore be confident that the sample size is large enough and sufficiently comprehensive to be a representative snapshot of the situation at the end of January i.e. almost halfway through the application period.

Key findings

An impressive 86.5% of respondents had already applied for their WA RP. 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 56% of people, this was their first ever application for a residence permit. The other 44% already held an existing Carte de Séjour (CdS).

Of those people who have already made a WA RP application, c.85% 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, it is normal at this stage of the process.

So far just under 5% of our respondents have actually received their WA RP.

In most cases where people have received the WA RP, this has been a straight swap from an existing card without the need for interview.

The vast majority of applicants (72%) have received acknowledgement of their application but have heard nothing further.

There is a slight distinction between those who have been here more or less than five years. Of those who have been here more than five years c.33% have received a rendez-vous date or some form of further contact, compared to only 18% of those who have been here less than five years.

Interview dates

Few people received interview dates in the first 6 to 7 weeks that the new process was operational. This can partly be explained by the fact that the decree bringing the process into law was only published towards the end of November.

Invitations to interview started coming through more steadily from the beginning of December but the vast majority were received in January.

Whilst some respondents have received interview dates as far ahead as April, the interview dates cluster in January suggesting that many people are receiving dates at relatively short notice.

Further information requested

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

We are a 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.

Are there regional variations?

There are regional variations that are generally explicable. Some regions are known to have a significant proportion of UK nationals and a few of these such as Dordogne (24) have been provided with extra staff to test the system and speed up processing in those areas.

Conversely, in areas where there are many third country immigrants who have always needed permission to be here, there is already a backlog in processing residence permits due to Covid-19. As some of these people will have permits about to expire, making their situation illegal, these assume a greater urgency.

We have provided a detailed breakdown of the five departments where we had the greatest number of responses and they largely follow the national trends.

Calvados (14) is leading the header board in terms of actual WA RPs received but, it must be borne in mind that we had relatively few responses from this area (only 19 had actually applied).

Key data

We provide a summary of the key data and access to the further detail at the end of this report.

What if I haven’t yet applied?

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 by 1 October 2021.

We know that many of you are still collating information or waiting to hear about others’ experiences before submitting your application and we hope this report will reassure you that most people are finding the process straightforward.

There is no indication at this stage that people risk being caught up in a last-minute rush but we encourage you to apply as soon as you have your documentation ready to allow for the time it takes to process.

 

Next steps for RIFT

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

If it appears useful to do so, we will repeat this exercise towards the end of April to gauge progress nearer the final deadline.

The Survey

The survey ran for 20 days – 12 January to 31 January 2021 – 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.

A total of 4098 respondents completed the survey. The response rate amounts to almost 20% of our membership, covering all regions of France, so we can be confident that the sample size is large enough to be a representative snapshot of the situation at the end of January i.e. almost halfway through the application period.

We have analysed the responses received to provide data to give a picture of the situation across the whole of France and by department.

We have summarised the key data below

Data for your area

You can view the national data and the breakdown for every department via this link: Survey Data Spreadsheet

 

Please note the spreadsheet is best viewed on a large screen. Click the tabs at the bottom to view the different departments.

Data for departments with few respondents should be treated with caution. We have however provided a summary of the five departments with the most responses and this mirrors the national picture.

Our data shows that

  • 98.80% of respondents to our survey are UK passport holders. This means we have little data on how easy it is proving for non-British family members to go through this process.

Nationally 

  • 86.50% of all respondents have applied for their Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit, a total of 3545 applications. 

and of those

  • 71.48% have not yet been given an RDV date or been contacted further following receipt of the email acknowledging their application.

  • 7.93% have been informed that their permit will be sent automatically without the need for a RDV. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: 7 February 2021

 

[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

 

[1] Membership on 6.2.21 was 22,335

Except where otherwise noted, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

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