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 political situation evolves constantly. We try to update this article very regularly.


  • The Conservatives won an 80 seat majority in parliament. Brexit is inevitable on the 31st January 2020. The PM is writing the end date of the transition period ending 31/12/2020 into law. Parliament can change it’s mind but must do so before the 01/07/2020. If nothing changes before this date it looks like the UK will head towards no deal or a bare bones deal meaning Brits may become third country citizens. This will make it complicated for those wishing to work in France with the exception of the highly skilled! When the UK leaves the EU, France will introduce a new system of residence cards (carte de séjours).
  • If a deal is agreed by the UK and the EU, British citizens have until June 2021 to apply for the new card. No deal on 31/12/2020 is still a real possibility and in the absence of one, 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.
  • During the transition period until 31/12/2020, nothing changes. Freedom of movement still holds as does reciprocal health care. British citizens seeking work in France will be able to do so as they have done so for the past 24 years! Post transition period much may change (health care, insurance, driving, and, of course, working!). 
  • 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. For stays longer than 3 months, visas may be introduced. 
  • 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. Another interesting take for those applying for those thinking of applying for nationality. Ten reasons to become French

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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