BREXIT: France reassures British expatriates

With Brexit scheduled for 31st December 2020, LegalRoad considers the latest developments for UK nationals living in France and the effects of a potential no-deal outcome.


On the 17th January 2020, the French government announced legislation permitting it to make quick decisions by declaration. Where in the event of a no-deal Brexit it will ensure the lives of French and British citizens living in France are “impacted as little as possible”, with the proviso the same rights are guaranteed for French people living in the UK. This will empower it “to take any other measure necessary to deal with the situation of British nationals residing in France”. The bill will enable UK nationals living in France to have the right to remain in France without a permit and with access to all existing rights for a period of 12-months and to acquire formal residency within one year from the 31st December 2020. UK nationals who have been living in France for less than five years should apply for a temporary Carte de Séjour residency card which is renewable each year. Thereafter a UK national living in France for five years or more can apply for permanent residency. A UK national, post-Brexit, would have to apply as a ‘third-country national’ where under the terms of the new legislation, British subjects would need to meet more modest conditions than non-EU citizens. The bill’s no-deal provisions preserve the social security rights of UK nationals living in France before Brexit. UK nationals would also to be permitted to continue to work in certain regulated professions such as accountants, advocates and notaries and to remain employed as civil servants. The French government has confirmed a separate directive would be implemented to ensure the continuity of certain financial activities and in particular relating to insurance. This proposes that even in a no-deal situation UK nationals will continue to receive payments in France from private British pension and insurance companies. It’s important to understand that none of these French no-deal provisions are enshrined by law. They would still need to be passed into law by the French government and this will be dependent upon the UK government reciprocating with the same rights for French nationals in the UK.

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