France

    Guidance

    1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

    On 6 February 2019, the French Government issued five orders.

    Order n°2019-76 determines the rights of UK citizens continuing to stay in France after Brexit. The main provisions applicable in the event of a no-deal Brexit are as follows:

    • Implementation of a transition period (between three and 12 months as of the Brexit date):  at the end of this transition period, UK citizens must be in possession of the appropriate permits allowing them to stay and carry out professional activities in France.
    • UK citizens residing in France for less than five years as of the Brexit date must apply for a permit depending on their status (student, employee, temporary worker, etc.).

    UK citizens residing in France for at least five years will be entitled to residency card (valid for ten years).

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    Business visas

    2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?

    No, Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It will apply from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. When it takes effect, UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    The Schengen exemption will apply:

    • from Brexit date in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’) is ratified (under the WA, UK nationals keep their EU free movement rights until 31 December 2020).

    UK employees would need to obtain an ETIAS (‘European Travel Information and Authorisation System’) authorisation before travelling. This is an electronic system intended to ensure that visitors are not a threat to the security of the country. It is valid for three years or until the end of validity of the travel document registered during the application.

    Long stay:

    For longer stays, UK employees should obtain one of the work permits listed in section 3.4 below.

    2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border once UK citizens are considered third-country nationals?

    The ETIAS document as from 1 January 2021. An online application form must be filled out. The application requires a valid passport, answers to background questions (medical conditions, travel to conflict zones, criminal records, etc.) and payment of a EUR 7 fee.

    Travel documents (valid passport).

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    Permission to work

    3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work? 

    Yes.

    However, British citizens who started their professional activity in France before 31 December 2020 if a Withdrawal Agreement is ratified on or before 31 October 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit would not need a work permit.

    3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

    No.

    3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?

    • From 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 31 October 2019;
    • From 1 November 2019 in the event of no deal if the professional activity and the individual’s residence in France did not start before these dates.

    3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?

    The work permit may take the form of either a visa or residence permit or a separate document.

    Visa / Residence permit:

    Documents leading to the automatic granting of work permits:

    ‘Private and family life’ residence permit;

    • ‘talent’ residence permit (mostly for foreigners with a French diploma and whose annual wage is higher than EUR 36,506.20);
    • ‘posted worker’ residence permit;
    • resident card (for foreign nationals who belong to defined categories: those with French children or a French parent, married to a French national, veteran, refugee, etc.)
    • long-term resident card (French resident for at least five years, among other conditions)

    Documents leading to the granting of work permits after approval by the French labour administration (DIRECCTE):

    • ‘employee’ residence permit (for employees with a permanent employment contract);
    • ‘temporary worker’ residence permit (for employees with a fixed-term employment contract);
    • ‘seasonal worker’ residence permit (for employee with seasonal employment contract).

    The Government has announced that British nationals currently living in France will be able to obtain these visas and residence permits under simplified conditions. More information should be available in the near future.

    Separate work-permit:

    If a foreign worker does not have a residence permit or a visa that allows him or her to work, he or she may apply for a temporary work permit. This is issued for a maximum of 12 months, renewable.

    3.5 If permission to work or stay is needed, how long does the procedure take?

    The processing time is usually four months for visas and residence permits and two months for the separate work permit once the application has been made.

    3.6 If permission to work or stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for this permission?

    Visas and resident permits usually cost between EUR 250 and EUR 269. In addition, fees must be paid by the employer:

    • When hiring for between three and 12 months: from EUR 74 to EUR 300 depending on the amount of the wage;
    • When hiring for more than 12 months:  55% of the monthly salary (capped).

    Depending on the type of permission requested, the application can involve the fulfilment of certain conditions, which may increase the time required for the procedure (medical examination, conclusion of an employment contract, etc.).

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    Permanent residence

    4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?

    The permanent resident card can be obtained by holders of:

    • A resident card granted to foreigners who belong to one of the eight categories defined by law (foreign national with family attachments in France, refugee, veteran, beneficiary of a work-related accident pension, etc.).
    • A long-term EU resident card granted to employees who have lived in France legally and continuously for at least five years.

    Both cards are valid for ten years. When they expire, their holder may apply for a permanent resident card. 

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    Residence Status

    5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?

    • Applying for an EU residence or permanent residence card as soon as possible.
    • Applying for French nationality. However, no specific procedures exist to facilitate access to French nationality for British citizens.

    Applying for a residence permit under simplified conditions reserved for British nationals. In all cases, the request must be justified by one of the grounds of the right of residence: exercise of a professional activity, having sufficient resources, pursuing training or being a family member of a French resident.

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