Brexit, Europe, France, UK

BREXIT for working Brits in France

SmartSteps recruits bilingual executives (HR, sales, marketing, operations, …) including English mother tongues, many British, for companies operating in France (“FR”). Here we discuss Brexit and its implications.

As British & EU citizens, Freedom of Movement (“FOM”) allowed for living, studying and working in any EU country and mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Brexit spelt the end of the above! Before reading further, 1) we advise all Brits in FR to research their own unique situation (see info. links at end document 2) we update this article regularly.

Working across the border

04/03/2021 – In the link below there is much precious information for cross border workers and for anyone who hasn’t yet regularised their situation following Brexit: British Embassy Paris – Voisins Voices-Working across the border special edition


15/01/2021 – Everyone including British nationals visiting the UK must have had a negative COVID-19 test carried out no more than 3 days before departure. You are also supposed to complete a passenger locater form and self-isolate for 10 days upon your arrival. You may be eligible for Test and Release, allowing you to leave self-isolation after 5 days if you test negative again. Accompanying children under 11 years are exempt from this measure.


  • 01/07/2021 – All Brits living in France before 31/12/2020 should have requested a “withdrawal agreement” residence permit. Brexit – Demande de Titre de Séjour 
  • 01/10/2021 –
    • All Brits will be expected to have a residency card irrespective of their date of arrival in France. 
    • For French travel companions to the UK: border control will no longer accept EU/French ID cards, you must have a passport.


  • 26/04/2021 – The EU parliament voted in the EU/UK Free Trade Agreement.
  • 01/01/2021 – The UK became a third country.
  • 31/12/2020 – the UK/EU Transition period ends. 
  • 30/12/2020 – a Free Trade Agreement between the EU/UK is approved by UK parliament. In full the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
  • 01/02/2020 – Brits in FR had their rights enshrined in the Withdrawal Agreement (“WA”), an international treaty.  It means Brits currently living and/or working in FR have the right of residence, to work, to buy a home, to run a business and social security rights.
  • 31/01/2020 – The UK left the EU and entered the transition period ending 31/12/2020. 

Post-Transition Period reciprocal advantages will end, notably:

    • The right to work in the EU without a work permit.
    • The right to study in the EU (the UK has opted out of  the European Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students “ERASMUS”,
    • Onward FOM within the EU has ended. Residence cards cover your host country only,
    • Mutual recognition of professional qualifications has ended for new arrivals to EU. For those already in FR your qualification will continue to be recognised but only in FR, where the decision was issued (or the country where the decision was issued, if you are a frontier worker), if you applied for recognition,
    • After one year of residency, your UK driving licence should be exchanged for a French one,
    • The European Health Insurance Card will no longer be valid. If you work in FR after a period of 3/6 months (exact length of time to be verified) you should be on the French social security system.
    • If you use a car, check your insurance coverage for both EU/UK. French drivers in UK are required to have an insurance green card.
    • Visas for stays superior to 90 days will be required,
    • Frontier workers already resident in France can continue to live in FR and work in border countries. You will be able to apply for a document from the country you work in certifying you are a frontier worker.
    • Any future spouse/partner non-EU citizen will have to apply as a third country citizen. Equally British nationals returning to the UK with their non-British partners will have to comply with UK national immigration law.
    • Brits in France (without a second EU nationality) have lost the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal and EU elections. Those outside the UK for more than 15 years are unable to vote anywhere!
    • Now the UK has left the EU, FR will reintroduce residence cards. British citizens in France prior to 31/12/2020 have until 01/07/2021 to apply. All Brits should have a residency card as of 01/10/2021 irrespective of their date of arrival. Residency permits – French Gov Information site. The card you are issued will depend on your personal situation.
      • All UK nationals legally resident in FR on 31/12/2020 will need to apply for a new residence permit under the WA. The new cards for those covered by the WA agreement will include the words “accord de retrait” (Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union).
      • If you already have a residency card you will be able to exchange it (free of charge) for the new WA residence permit.
    • Apart from the above it is also important to research: the validity of your passport, pet passports will no longer be valid, checking out rules for non-British family members if you decide to return to live in the UK. 

Useful links:

  1. EU-UK Friendship Group
  2. France rights
  3. RIFT
  4. British in Europe
  5. UK Government Living in France Guide
  6. UK Government Guidance to Living in Europe – 3 July 2020
  7. French Government Brexit page for UK citizens
  8. British in France
  9. Britannique, je réside en France
  10. No deal – quelles conséquences pour les entreprises françaises?
  11. Un outil d’auto-diagnostic sur le Brexit à destination des entreprises
  12. The Connexion – French News and View in English
  13. French version of the Withdrawal Agreement
  14. RIFT Report in PDF
  15. Your Europe: Help and Advice for EU citizens and their family
  16. EU publications on Brexit



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