LONDON – British nationals living in France before 2021 will have three more months to apply for a post-Brexit residence permit, France’s Home Office has confirmed, amid calls for clarity on how those requests will be handled.
The French residency program officially closed at midnight on Wednesday, but the French government said Thursday the website for UK citizens to submit applications will remain open until September 30 as demand remains high.
France is one of 13 EU countries plus Great Britain that have decided to establish a compulsory residence regime for their nationals living in their respective territories after Brexit. These citizens must enroll in the program or risk illegal migration status.
Kathryn Dobson, spokesperson for the British campaign group in Europe, hailed the decision to keep the portal open, after days of rumors and confused messages from regional authorities.
But she said the ministry must determine whether applications submitted during those additional three months will receive the same processing as those before June 30, or whether applicants will need to prove they had legitimate reasons for missing the original deadline. . The latter could see some British nationals fall through the cracks.
There is no exhaustive list of legitimate reasons in France, but they could be linked to cases of force majeure, such as the inability to return to France due to the COVID-19 disease or the closure of borders; health problems; or professional obligations.
“As Brits in Europe, we are very happy that people still have time to apply for residency; we think it is very necessary given that we are in a pandemic, ”said Dobson. “With the portal open for these three months is very good news, but we would like to see some clarity on what that means.”
The French device, launched in October 2020 after a delay caused by the pandemic, had received around 140,900 applications at the end of May, according to the most recent official statistics published Tuesday.
The EU and UK estimate the number of UK residents to be around 148,300, but campaigners and migration experts have warned that these estimates are unreliable because neither Britain nor France is have never had any British nationals in the country.
Earlier this month, the Netherlands extended their residency application period until October 1, while Luxembourg said it will continue to welcome applications until December 31.
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