Applying for a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit
Applying for a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit
All adult UK nationals resident in France by 31 December 2020, who wish to continue living in France, need to obtain a special permit to protect their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).
The term Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WA RP) may be unfamiliar to you. The British Embassy and the French Ministry of Interior are using this as their preferred term so that these permits can be easily distinguished from the many other types of carte de séjour.
RIFT has a series of resources to help you through the process.
This guide provides an at-a-glance overview.
Other guides are available to help you:
Where do I apply?
All applications need to be submitted online on the new site. Instructions are available in English and French. See the section on ‘Where can I get help’ if you will have difficulty applying online.
If you submitted an application under the previous ‘No Deal’ portal (open from October 2019 to January 2020) but never received a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WA RP), you do not need to apply again. Your Préfecture will contact you for an appointment to provide photographs and fingerprints and let you know if they need any further information. The exception to this is if you have moved house and are now in a different département, in which case you will need to reapply via the new system.
Who needs to apply?
All adult UK nationals who are already resident in France or who became resident by 31 December 2020. If you have an existing card, it needs replacing by the Withdrawal Agreement Residence permit (WA RP) that confirms you are covered by the WA.
Under 18s are not obliged to hold a residence permit. Minors who will be 18 before 1 January 2022 can and should apply. Minors who require a card to undertake work placements can also apply.
If you are a UK/Irish dual national or other UK/EU dual national you are not obliged to hold a residence permit. If you have ever lived or worked in the UK, it is however a good idea to apply for one as proof that you have rights under the WA.
If you are a UK/French dual national you cannot apply. We are pursuing the matter of what proofs you can use if you ever need to demonstrate you are covered by the WA.
When do I need to apply?
The site opened for applications on 19 October 2020.
You have until 30 June 2021 to submit your application.
NB - The portal was due to close on 30 June 2021 but on 1 July 2021, the French government announced that the online application portal will remain open until 30 September 2021 for those who were unable to apply by 30 June 2021. If you submit your application from 1 July 2021 to 30 Sept 2021, please indicate in the comments section of the online form the reason for your late application.
All UK citizens will need to be in possession of a card by 1 October 2021.
If your situation is straightforward, it should be an easy process and there is no reason to delay.
If you are a new arrival, or your situation is complicated, you need to understand the requirements and prepare all the necessary paperwork.
What conditions do I need to fulfil?
You need to be legally resident in France. Second homeowners or people working in France and resident elsewhere cannot apply.
If you have already been here at least 5 years, you are already classed as a permanent resident. There is little information to provide and the process will be very simple.
If you have been here less than 5 years, you need to establish which category of resident you fit:
Married to, or living with, a French person.
Jobseeker (registered unemployed in UK prior to arrival or registered with the pôle d’emploi)
Investor (special status whereby you have to invest 300K in a French business - we do not cover this)
What is the application process?
You fill in the online application form and upload any documents required. The evidence you need to provide depends on whether you have been here more or less than 5 years and which of the categories you fit into. We provide a detailed breakdown by category in a separate guide.
It is a nationwide system but your application will be processed by your local Préfecture. The Préfecture will contact you if anything is missing or unclear.
Once everything is in order you will be given an appointment to go to the Préfecture where your photograph and fingerprints will be processed.
Your card will then be prepared and sent directly to your home address.
As stated above, some of you who applied under the No Deal portal that was briefly opened in late 2019/ early 2020, already have applications in the system and these will be processed so you do not need to reapply. Your Préfecture will contact you for an appointment to provide photographs and fingerprints. The exception to this is if you have moved house and are now in a different département.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge for the issue of a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit
Can families apply together?
You will need to fill in an application form for each individual.
If you want to ensure that you get appointments together so that you only need to visit the Préfecture once, you should state this in the comments box available on the application form. You should try to write your comments in French.
When will I receive my card?
Some Préfectures will be dealing with many thousands of applications so cannot give indicative processing times. You do not need to be in possession of your new residence permit until October 2021.
Once you have completed your application you will receive an email with an attestation that you can print and keep as proof that you have applied. You should take this with you if you travel outside France. You should store it carefully as you will not be able to get another one if you accidentally delete it.
Your card will be sent by registered post to your home address. You will need to sign to say that you have received it.
Please do not chase up your application as this will just cause further work and delays.
Where can I get help?
A number of agencies have been provided grant aid in order to help people through the process.
Diocese in Europe - French Residency Support
(France-wide website and helpline and a focus on Nouvelle Aquitaine)
Visit the Diocese in Europe Residency Support Project website with a contact form
at the Diocese website
Or call the French Residency Support HELPLINE: 05 32 80 00 05
Monday to Friday: 09:30 -12:00 & 13:30 - 16:00.
Tuesday evening: 17:30 - 20.00.
Saturday: 09:30 - 12:00.
SSAFA, The Armed Forces Charity (across France)
Visit the SSAFA website
Hotline: 08 05 11 96 17
IOM - The International Organisation for Migration (Brittany, Normandy and Paris)
Visit the IOM website
Hotline: 08 09 54 98 32 available during the following hours:
Mon - Tues 2pm to 4pm and Wed - Thurs 10.30am to 12.30pm
FBN - The Franco-British Network (Dordogne, Auvergne, Rhone Alpes, Provence Alpes and Cote d’Azur)
Visit the FBN website
Email: The Franco-British Network
Hotline: 05 19 88 01 09 available during the following hours:
Mon, Tues and Wed, 9am to 1pm; Thurs and Fri 1pm to 5pm
If you have difficulty with access to the technology to scan your documents and submit your application, your local mairie or library may be able to help.
If you have difficulty getting to the Préfecture in order to provide fingerprints, the local Préfecture or one of the grant-aided support groups will help you find a solution. The Préfectures are very aware of the difficulties faced by disabled people and the problems caused by Covid-19.
Finally, RIFT is here for you as ever. We are a self-help group run by volunteers and without funding (except for occasional donations). We can’t give legal advice or do the applications for you. However, with over 20k members, we understand the real issues on the ground and are working closely with the British Embassy, the Ministry of the Interior and other support groups to solve common problems. We will be updating our web and print guides as necessary and answering your questions on our Facebook group.
What if I get it wrong?
We recommend taking your time, asking questions if you are unsure and making sure you get your application right first time.
If your application is unclear, the Préfecture will contact you and you will have the opportunity to give more information and correct errors or omissions.
Although there will be a formal appeals process, we are assured that refusals will be rare and only for the most serious matters.