Written by Erin Harding,
Last Modified: 17th December 2021

As the Brexit transition period comes to a close at the end of this year, you may be wondering what to do about residency if you’re currently living in France, or if you plan to move there before 31 December. We outline the key points about French residency in this article.

If you’re a British national living in France, until now, you have not needed to apply for residency to retain your EU rights. However, you will now need to apply for residency in line with the Withdrawal Agreement. After a delay due to COVID-19, the application site is now due to open on the 1st of October.

Do I need to apply?

If you’ve been living in France for a while or plan to move there before the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December, you will need to apply for French residency. However, if you’re only planning on visiting France for less than 3 months in every 6, and hence keeping your UK residency, then you don’t need to apply for French residency.

Make sure you know how your purchase could be impacted by a no-deal Brexit with our guide, How to Live in France After Brexit.

The online residency portal opens next week, on 1 October. Luckily, you don’t have to rush to apply. You have until 30 June 2021 to apply for a residency permit and retain your EU rights.

UK nationals required to apply for residency include:

  • UK nationals with a European carte de séjour (even if it is marked “permanent”, or has no expiry date)
  • UK nationals without a European carte de séjour (it is currently optional to have one)
  • UK nationals applying for a second nationality UK nationals married to or PACSed to (in a civil partnership with) EU nationals
  • UK nationals recently arriving or well established in France

If you applied for residency on the previous ‘no–deal’ portal, you will not need to re-apply using the new one. Your application will be processed by the appropriate Préfecture before the deadline.

The French government has said that it will take a generous and flexible approach to granting residency.

Will the process be simple?

We spoke to our writers in France about their experiences with applying for French residency and what they’re expecting from the application process in October. Most agreed that in the past, the process for applying for residency could be time-consuming and overly bureaucratic. The struggle to get an appointment at the Préfecture, due to the number of people applying, was stressful too.

However, they anticipate that the process this time will be much more straightforward. There is no longer a need to go to a Préfecture and the whole process can be completed online. The French government has said that it will take a generous and flexible approach to granting residency.

Currently, the French government haven’t outlined which documents you’ll need to complete the application. However, the British Embassy suggests that you may need your passport, mortgage documents or rental contracts.


What happens if I’m moving to France next year?

If you haven’t moved to France yet, but have plans to move next year, then the process for applying for residency becomes more complicated.

British citizens and their family members who wish to move to France after the 31st of December will be subject to national legislative provisions and will be required to obtain a long-stay visa before going to a prefecture to file their application for a residence permit.

Here are some useful links which provide information on applying for French residency:

The gov.uk website:


The French government’s guidance:



The British Embassy in Paris Facebook page:


Buying a House in France Guide.

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