BREXIT: For Working Brits in France

SmartSteps recruits bilingual personnel including English mother tongues, many from the UK, for international companies. Many of our candidates are British so we must discuss Brexit and its implications.

As Brits and EU citizens, Freedom of Movement (“FOM”) allows you to live in another EU country; work as an employee or be self-employed; run a business; and also provide services cross-border and there is also mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Brexit spells the end of FOM and British citizens will be considered third country nationals. 


  • The theoretical leave date is 31 October 2019, parliament is divided and a General Election is coming! The UK is 11 days away from exiting the EU and no one knows if the EU will consent to the 3 month delay requested by Boris Johnson, he has sent a second letter saying he does not want them to grant an extension! If, when and in what circumstances Britain leaves the EU, France will introduce a new system of residence cards. If the deal agreed by the UK and the EU on 17/10 is accepted British citizens have until June 2021 to apply for the new card. 
  • Edouard Philippe promised all UK citizens living and working in France that even if there is no deal, Brits will have 1 year to regularise their situation: 6 months to apply for a residence card, the remaining 6 months are for the authorities to process applications. Deadline: 31 October 2020.
  • Online demand for Residency cards opens today! What to do according to your circumstances (working, …)
  • Prior to 26/03/1995 and FOM to obtain a “Carte de Séjour” Brits had to have an employment contract and accommodation or proof of sufficient funds to be totally self sustainable.
  • For those wishing to work in France post-Brexit, alternatives involve being sponsored by your future employer (this means paperwork, time and expense), employers sponsor as a last resort! You could apply for a Blue Card a work- and residence permit for non-EU/EEA nationals Apply for the EU Blue Card.
  • The card you are issued, if there’s no deal, will depend on your personal situation. Categories are as follows:
    • British living in France for 5 years or more
    • British living in France for less than 5 years falling under one of the below categories:
    • salaried worker with a permanent contract
    • salaried worker with a fixed-term contract
    • self- employed
    • during the last year you either graduated in France or worked for at least 3 months and now seek work or are creating a business
    • students
    • family members of UK nationals qualifying for one of the above categories
    • UK nationals living in France for less than 5 years but do not fulfil any of the above categories

    In a no-deal scenario, applications for residency cards will cost €119. UK nationals resident in France for at least 5 years holding a permanent carte de séjour prior to Brexit will be able to exchange their card for the new card with reduced formalities once the new system is launched.

  • The British Embassy, Paris holds events all over France to answer Brexit questions. Events begin with a brief introduction and then the floor opens for questions. Events are advertised on Facebook “British Embassy Paris” and general ‘anglophone in France’ press. Book your place on EventBrite, events are FOC and open only to British passport holders. 

Useful links:

“Applying for French nationality” is a Facebook group. Members share experiences.

RIFT  raises awareness of the potential effects of Brexit (they have a chapter for most EU countries) & campaigns for the preservation of all current rights. RIFT is pro-Europe, against Brexit and is a forum where members support each other through their community.

 UK Government Living in France Guide

French Government Brexit page for UK citizens

British in France

Britannique, je réside en France

The Local – The ultimate No Deal checklist for Brits in France



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