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 EU has fl-extended the Brexit deadline for a third time to 31/01/2020. The UK General Election is on 12/12/2019 and the polls predict a Conservative win! If the polls are correct, Johnson says the UK shall leave the EU end Jan 2020.  If the UK leaves the EU, France will introduce a new system of residence cards. 
  • If a deal is agreed by the UK and the EU, British citizens have until June 2021 to apply for the new card. If there is no deal, Edouard Philippe promised all UK citizens living and working in France, 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. DATES MAY CHANGE DUE TO THE SHIFTING BREXIT DATE.
  • French residency permit applications
  • The card you are issued, if there’s no deal, will depend on your personal situation:
    • 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 with a permanent contract, salaried with 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 and UK nationals living in France for less than 5 years who 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.
  • 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.
  • In the absence of a deal or further extension, the legal default remains that the UK will leave the EU on 31/01/2020 with no deal. If you have not done so already, apart from residency/work permits it is also important to research: the validity of your passport, entitlement to French healthcare, exchanging your UK driving licence for a French one, ensuring your professional qualifications will be recognised post-Brexit, (pet owners) contacting your vet at least 4 months before travel and lastly checking out rules for non-British family members if you decide to return to live in the UK.
  • 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 British Embassy, Paris regularly holds events all over France to answer Brexit questions. Events begin with a brief introduction and then the floor opens for questions. Keep an eye out on EventBrite, outreach meetings are free of charge and open only to British passport holders.

Useful links:

“Applying for French nationality” is a Facebook help group. 

RIFT  raises awareness of the potential effects of Brexit (they have a chapter for most EU countries). RIFT campaigns for the preservation of all current rights, it 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

No deal – quelles conséquences pour les entreprises françaises.

Un outil d’auto-diagnostic sur le Brexit à destination des entreprises


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