The British Embassy held an event in Bordeaux last Friday (19th October) to help shed some light on current Brexit negotiations for British nationals living in France.
Caroline Moreau, from First Start in Bordeaux, attended the event and provided us with her own conclusions from the meeting.
The general feeling is that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future and many unresolved questions, most importantly regarding free movement rights around Europe for British citizens.
As a British citizen if you have already been living in France for over 5 years then you are definitely entitled to stay, which means that you have the right to health care etc.
The official departure for the UK from the EU is the 29th March 2019. However there is total free movement in place until 31st December 2020, thus provided you arrive in France before the 31st December 2020 then you can accumulate your 5 years of residency and thus entitlement to stay.
Most of the discussion and questions were about ‘cartes de séjours. All British citizens are entitled to a carte de séjour and moreover are advised to apply for one as soon as possible (even if you’re not obliged to have one for the moment). Numerous people at the meeting claim to have applied for one from the Prefecture and have been refused. The advice is that you need to insist to try to obtain one even following a refusal.
If you have the possibility to apply for French nationality, given that you still have the right to dual nationality this would be a safer option than just applying for the carte de séjour.
Caroline is a native Londoner who settled in Bordeaux more than 15 years ago. First Start in Bordeaux is a relocation agency that aims to assist people who face resettlement issues when moving to the South of France.