British expats who live in France are being urged to get their residency applications sorted by the end of this month or they could become “undocumented migrants risk.”
All Brits who have been living in France before 31 December, 2020 have the legal right to remain through the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
But, they only have the right to remain if they apply for the carte de séjour, which is the French residency permit, by the end of June.
Kalba Meadows of citizens’ rights group France Rights said, “With just 30 days to go now before the deadline, I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure that you apply for your residence permit before 1 July.
“Every UK citizen who was resident before 1 January, 2021 must do this, however long you’ve lived in France and even if you hold a card issued to you as an EU citizen.
“If you miss this deadline without ‘reasonable grounds’ you’re at risk of losing your right to live in France altogether, you could effectively become a sans papier or undocumented migrant with all that that entails.
“If you’ve already applied, please help others you know or know of, especially those who might be vulnerable, by making sure they’ve applied too.
“It’s a straightforward process, you’ll find lots of help plus screenshots of the application form on the France Rights website.”
There are an estimated 148,000 Brits who live in France, 73,000 have received their carte de séjour out of 122,000 who have applied.
If any British expat fails to get their carte de séjour then they will face becoming an undocumented migrant which means they could be arrested and deported back to the UK.
Professor Michaela Benson of public sociology at Lancaster University, who has specialised in studying British residents in the EU, told the Guardian, “That’s only a month to go before a hard deadline, after which a lot of people could lose their rights.
“We urgently need more communication from the UK, the EU and member states to get in touch, especially with hard-to-reach, vulnerable UK citizens who risk missing a vital cutoff point.”
Ms Benson said the people at risk of “falling through the gaps” were often the most vulnerable.
An FCDO Spokesperson said, “The rights of UK nationals to continue living, working and studying in their EU Member State are protected by law.
“Anyone legally resident before 1 January 2021 can stay but should register their residence.
“The UK government has been running a public information campaign across Europe to inform UK nationals about the actions they may need to take to secure their rights and access to services.
“This includes outreach events, adverts on social media and in newspapers, and support through our network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates.
“We have also allocated up to £4m of grant funding to provide support for UK nationals who need additional assistance with their residency applications to ensure support is available.”