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).

    UK citizens and their family members can now apply for a residence permit via the Ministère de l’Intérieur online residence permit application service. 

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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.

    In addition, in accordance with the decree of 27 March 2019 issued by the French Government, British citizens wishing to travel to France will be able to use SAS PARAFE (automatic ePassport gates).

    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.

    With a withdrawal agreement

    UK nationals do not need a work permit. A 21-month transition period (until 31 December 2020) will ensure that the same EU rights and obligations apply.

    The conditions that will apply at the end of the transition period are still being negotiated.

    Without a withdrawal agreement

    British employees working in France prior to the withdrawal date will be covered by the provisions in the Order dated 6 February 2019 regarding the right of residence and the right to work.

    The Order then establishes a three-month grace period (which will be determined by decree at a later date) during which UK citizens lawfully residing in France and pursuing a professional activity will be exempt from needing to obtain a work permit.

    When the grace period ends, UK citizens should be in possession of a residence permit that is the equivalent of 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?

    With a withdrawal agreement

    The conditions that will apply at the end of the transition period (i.e., as from 1 January 2021) are still being negotiated.

    Without a withdrawal agreement

    At the end of the three-month grace period, which will be determined by decree at a later date.

    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.)
    • longterm 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 fixedterm employment contract);‘seasonal worker’ residence permit (for employee with seasonal employment contract).

    UK citizens and their family members can now apply for a residence permit via the Ministère de l’Intérieur online residence permit application service.

    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. UK citizens and their family members can now apply for a residence permit via the Ministère de l’Intérieur online residence permit application service: https://contacts-demarches.interieur.gouv.fr/brexit/brexit-residence-permit-application/
    • Applying for French nationality. However, no specific procedures exist to facilitate access to French nationality for British citizens. Depending on their circumstances, they may apply for citizenship by decree procedure (Articles 21-15 et seq. of the French Civil Code) or in their capacity as the spouse, ascendant, brother or sister of a French citizen (Articles 21-2, 21-13-1 and 21-13-2 of the French Civil Code).

     

     

    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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