you are a british citizen


Right of residence

On the date the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, British nationals based in France will be considered to be citizens of a non-EU country. In the event of withdrawal with an agreement, British citizens may circulate freely in France under the same conditions as today until the end of the transition period, on 31 December 2020 at the earliest, and will have until 31 July 2021 to obtain or renew their residence permit. If there is no withdrawal agreement, British citizens will be subject to border controls and will have to apply for a residence permit. In all cases, the conditions for being granted French nationality will remain the same for British citizens and, as from the withdrawal date, they will no longer be able to vote or be a candidate in local elections (élections municipales) and European elections organised in France.


As a British citizen based in France, you are concerned 1) if you already have a residence permit or if you do not yet have one; 2) if you wish to be granted French nationality.

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Frequently

asked questions


  • Will British nationals be obliged to obtain a residence permit ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    British citizens who are present in France prior to 31 December 2020 will have to apply for the new permit provided for in the withdrawal agreement. They will be able to apply at least until July 2021 under conditions to be specified at a later date.
    British nationals who arrive in France after 1 January 2021 will have to apply for a standard residence permit (titre de droit commun).


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    An application for a residence permit will have to be filed after the date the UK leaves the EU. British citizens who are lawfully residing in France before the withdrawal date will have a year, as from that date, to obtain a permit under simplified conditions. During the interim period, they will keep all their rights as regards residency, employment and social security. The permit application must be filed within six months of the leaving date.


  • What conditions need to be fulfilled by British citizens already living in France who wish to apply for a residence permit ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    The conditions will be the same as at present in terms of recognising a right of residence for EU citizens. British nationals will have to prove that they come under one of the following categories :

    • Either carrying on a professional activity (or having carried on such an activity or being registered as a jobseeker)
    • Or having sufficient resources for themselves and their family, as well as health insurance
    • Or being a student or undergoing vocational training, as well as having health insurance
    • Or being a member of the family of a British citizen who is based in France prior to 1 January 2021 and having a right of residence (spouse, child, ascendant, partner, common-law spouse or dependent family member or belonging to the household of a British citizen)

    Without a withdrawal agreement

    British citizens who are lawfully residing in France before the withdrawal date and have been doing so for more than five years will be entitled to a residence permit.

    Those who have been lawfully residing in France for less than five years on the withdrawal date may apply for a standard residence permit, depending on their circumstances (salaried employee, temporary worker, self-employed, pensioner, student, citizen of a non-EU country who is a member of the family of a British citizen), and according to simplified conditions.


  • What are the conditions for obtaining a residence permit for British citizens living in France ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    As with current EU legislation, British citizens who enter France prior to the UK’s withdrawal date and who are able to prove that they have resided lawfully there for five years, will be granted a residence permit representing a permanent right of residence.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    In order to be granted a residence permit, a person has to have lived in France for at least five years, and have sufficient resources and health insurance. These resources must be at least equivalent to the social inclusion benefit (RSA). Resources in the form of welfare benefits may not be included to calculate whether the minimum threshold has been reached. If the applicant does not have sufficient resources, the application may nevertheless be accepted if he/she is able to prove that he/she owns his accommodation or occupies it free-of-charge. Lastly, recipients of the adult disability allowance or the additional allowance for the elderly are exempt from such means testing.

    On the other hand, people who already have a residence permit which was issued due to their former status as EU citizens will be automatically entitled to exchange this document for a new permit without having to provide any supporting documents.


  • Will British citizens living in France prior to the UK’s withdrawal have to pay for a residence permit ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    Residence permits issued following the date the UK leaves the EU will be provided free-of-charge, unless a duplicate is required.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    Residence permits issued following the date the UK leaves the EU will cost €119.


  • Will residence permits granted prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU still be valid after this date?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    Permits bearing the words “citoyen Union européenne” which were obtained prior to the date when the UK leaves the EU (possession of which is not compulsory) will remain valid until 31 December 2020. Subsequent to this date, they will have to be replaced by the new permit provided for by the agreement. Permit applications will have to be filed within a timeframe to be specified at a later date and, in all cases, at least until July 2021.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    Permits which were obtained prior to the date when the UK leaves the EU will remain valid for a maximum of one year. Their holders will, however, have to apply for a new permit corresponding to their new status within six months as from the withdrawal date, even if their old permit has permanent validity. This will enable British citizens to have a new permit which matches their circumstances.


  • Will British jobseekers be entitled to a residence permit ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    British citizens living in France prior to 31 December 2020 who are jobseekers will be entitled to a residence permit under the same conditions that were applied under EU law. The criteria for being granted this permit will factor in the duration of previous employment which means that they will still be entitled to a right of residence under worker status.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    British citizens living in France prior to the UK’s withdrawal date who are jobseekers may be entitled to a residence permit if they have worked in France for at least three months out of the twelve months preceding their application or if they have been awarded a higher education diploma during that same period. 


  • Will British citizens require a work permit to continue working in France ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    British citizens who begin working in France prior to 31 December 2020 will not require a work permit.  Only those who come to France as from 1 January 2021 will be obliged to apply for such a permit.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    British citizens who begin working in France prior to the date the UK leaves the EU will not need a work permit. They will however have to apply for a residence permit within six months of that date in order to exercise their rights.

    Les ressortissants britanniques arrivés en France après la date de retrait devront obtenir une autorisation de travail.


  • What are the conditions for issuing residence permits to the self-employed ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    British citizens who carry on a self-employed profession prior to 31 December 2020 will have to provide proof, by any means, that they do so on a lawful, actual and long-term basis. The supporting documents required are the same as those listed on the www.demarches.interieur.gouv.fr website for issuing residence permits to EU citizens carrying on a self-employed activity.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    British citizens who carry on a self-employed profession will have to provide proof that they do actually carry on this activity and certify that they can live off the resources earned from this activity in order to be granted a residence permit which corresponds to their circumstances. These resources must be at least equivalent to the social inclusion benefit (RSA). Resources in the form of welfare benefits may not be included to calculate whether the minimum threshold has been reached. If the applicant does not have sufficient resources, the application may nevertheless be accepted if he/she is able to prove that he/she owns his accommodation or occupies it free-of-charge. Lastly, recipients of the adult disability allowance or the additional allowance for the elderly are exempt from such means testing.


  • Are British citizens who have been issued with a residence permit required to exchange it if they change address ?
  • British citizens who have been issued with a residence permit prior to the date the UK leaves the EU will be required to exchange it. They may also mention their change of address at the same time.

     


  • Will permits issued in France allow their holders to travel throughout the EU ?
  • Besides the holders being able to settle in France, the residence permits issued there will allow them to travel in the other Schengen Area countries for periods of less than three months.

     


  • Will citizens of non-EU countries who are members of the family of a British citizen have a special status ?
  • With a withdrawal agreement

    Citizens of non-EU countries who are members of the family of a British citizen (who moved to France prior to 31 December 2020) will be entitled to a residence permit due to their family connections. As is currently the case, these connections will continue to be materialised by the issuing of a permit that they will be required to apply for.


    Without a withdrawal agreement

    Citizens of non-EU countries who are members of the family of a British citizen (who moved to France before the date the UK left the EU) will be entitled to a residence permit bearing the words “vie privée et familiale” with the duration being the same as the permit held by the person being accompanied or joined. The family member may be a direct descendant under 21 years of age or a dependent descendant, a dependent ascendant, the spouse or partner of this British citizen. He/she may also be a direct dependent ascendant or descendant of his/her spouse.


  • How can British citizens living in France be granted French nationality ?
  • There is no special procedure to facilitate access to French nationality for British citizens.

    Depending on their circumstances, they may use the citizenship by decree procedure (Articles 21-15 et seq. of the French Civil Code) or nationality declarations in their capacity as spouse, ascendant, brother or sister of a French citizen (Articles 21-2, 21-13-1 and 21-13-2 of the French Civil Code).

     


  • Can minors also acquire French nationality ?
  • The procedure varies depending on whether or not the minor was born in France.

    If he/she is was born in France of British parents, and subject to complying with the additional conditions required by legislation (having lived in France for five years as from the age of eleven), he/she may acquire French nationality by declaration pursuant to Articles 21-7 (automatic acquisition when coming of age) or 21-11 (early acquisition by declaration, at thirteen years of age by declaration from the parents if the minor has been a resident since the age of eight, or sixteen if he/she has been a resident since the age of eleven) of the French Civil Code.

    If the minor was not born in France, he/she may become French as of right if one of his/her parents acquires French nationality (Article 22-1 of the French Civil Code).

    Lastly, Article 21-22 of the French Civil Code provides that “Nobody may be granted citizenship prior to the age of eighteen. However, citizenship may be granted to a minor who has remained a foreigner even though one of his/her parents has acquired French nationality if he/she is able to prove that he/she has lived with this parent in France during the five years prior to filing the application”.


  • Do civil status documents (e.g. birth certificates) have to be legalised or translated, and by whom? Do they have to date back less than six months? Do the originals have to be presented or are copies accepted ?
  • The originals of civil status documents and their translation by a sworn translator are required for procedures to acquire French nationality but they do not have to date back less than six months. British civil status documents do not have to be legalised or stamped with an apostille.

    British nationals who were born and/or married in the UK’s former overseas possessions are allowed to present reconstituted documents. Those born in Hong Kong (under British control until 1997) are also exempt from Chinese legalisation procedures.

     


  • How long after the filing of the application is French nationality granted ?
  • For declarations of nationality, the French nationality access platform has six months from the filing date to examine the application. The minister responsible for citizenship then has a year to potentially refuse registration of the declaration. The current timeframe is approximately six months.

    For applications for obtaining French nationality by decree, the applicant has a regulatory timeframe of six months to compile his/her file. The minister responsible for citizenship then has eighteen months once the full file has been constituted – in consideration of a receipt – to take a decision. The timeline may be reduced to twelve months when the applicant is able to prove that he/she has had his/her habitual residence in France for at least ten years on the date when the receipt is issued.

    In practice, the timeframe is between twelve and fifteen months from the filing of the application to the proposal for citizenship.

     


  • What is the minimum period of residence in France for applications for French nationality ?
  • Pursuant to Article 21-17 of the French Civil Code, applicants for French nationality must provide proof that they have had their habitual residence in France during the five years prior to filing the application. Should they fail to comply with this requirement, the application will be inadmissible under said Article 21-17.

    The five-year timeline is reduced to two years for foreigners who have successfully completed two years of higher education with an eye to being awarded a diploma conferred by a French university or higher education establishment (Article 21-18, 1° of the French Civil Code).

    The reduction of the probationary period to two years also applies to foreigners who have given or can give significant services to France owing to their skills and talent (Article 21-18, 2° of the French Civil Code). Implementation of these provisions is still rare. This category may include artists, writers or intellectuals of international renown, scientists whose work is accepted as authoritative or the most accomplished sportspersons.

    Lastly, the two-year period applies to foreigners who manifest an unusual record of integration, judged by their actions or accomplishments in the civic, scientific, economic or sporting realms (Article 21-18, 3° of the French Civil Code).

    Articles 21-19 and 21-20 of the French Civil Code which provide for dispensation of the probationary period should not concern British citizens.

    Those who apply for French nationality under Article 21-13-1 of the French Civil Code (declaration of nationality as an ascendant of a French citizen) must provide proof that they have lived in France for 25 years. If the application is submitted pursuant to Article 21-13-2 of the French Civil Code (declaration of nationality as the brother or sister of a French citizen), the applicant must have lived there since the age of six.

     


  • How will the lawfulness of residence for British citizens wishing to apply for French nationality as from the withdrawal date be assessed ?
  • As from the withdrawal date, the condition of the lawfulness of residence for British citizens wishing to apply for French nationality will be assessed in the same way as for other foreign nationals.

    Article 21-27(2) and (3) of the French Civil Code provides that “No one may acquire French nationality or be reinstated in that nationality if he/she has (…) been subject either to an exclusion order which has not been expressly revoked or repealed, or to a banishment from French territory which has not been fully enforced. The same applies for persons whose residence in France is unlawful with respect to the legislation and agreements concerning the residence of foreigners in France”.

    Nevertheless, in order to ensure legal certainty, transitional arrangements are being considered to allow British citizens who have lived in France for several years until the withdrawal date and who could have, in this capacity, claimed French nationality on the basis of legislation in force prior to that date, to submit an application for French nationality without the unlawfulness of their residence being invoked against them.


  • When they acquire French nationality, do British citizens have to give up their original nationality ?
  • France allows the existence of double nationality or multiple nationalities. The same applies in the UK and this means that a British citizen who acquires French nationality will not be required to give up his/her former nationality.

     


  • Will British citizens have to execute a Republican Integration Contract (CIR) ?
  • British citizens who come to France prior to the date the UK leaves the EU and who have lived there lawfully are exempted from executing a Republican Integration Contract.

    However, those who arrive in France subsequent to the withdrawal date, or after 31 December 2020 if there is a withdrawal agreement, will be required to sign a Republican Integration Contract in the same way as citizens of non-EU countries.

     


  • As a British national, will I be able to vote at the next European and local elections ?
  • As from the withdrawal date, British citizens living in France will no longer be able to take part in the election of French members of the European Parliament nor in local elections. As the condition of nationality (being a citizen of an EU Member State) provided for by Article 2-1 of the Act of 7 July 1977 on the election of members of the European Parliament and Article L.O. 227-1 of the French Electoral Code for local elections will no longer be fulfilled, British citizens will therefore lose their right to vote in these elections.

    Accordingly, British citizens who also have French nationality are not concerned by the foregoing.

     


  • As a British national, can I be a candidate for the next European and local elections ?
  • As from the withdrawal date, British citizens living in France will no longer be able to be candidates for election as members of the European Parliament nor in local elections. As the condition of nationality (being a citizen of an EU Member State) provided for by Article 5 of the Act of 7 July 1977 on the election of members of the European Parliament and Article L.O. 228-1 of the French Electoral Code for local elections will no longer be fulfilled, British citizens will therefore no longer be able to be candidates for these elections.

    Accordingly, British citizens who also have French nationality are not concerned by the foregoing.

     


  • My municipality’s municipal council has a councillor who is a British citizen. Will he/she be able to remain in office until the next local elections ?
  • British citizens who are municipal councillors on the withdrawal date will not lose their mandate and will remain in office until the next municipal council renewal. Nevertheless, they may not be candidates in the next local elections.