What rights for the British in France if there's no deal? Part 1: general provisions

On 7 February the long awaited ordonnance that will govern our rights if the UK leaves the EU without a deal was published.

We spent a manic 24 hours beavering away at the Articles in the ordonnance, cross-checking all the legislation it refers to (and there's a lot of it!) and translating into English the main provisions that affect us all: residence, and health care.

There is a lot to understand, so I’m going to break it into bits, as this is important stuff. In this post we’ll look at some general information; the next post will look at what the ordonnance says about people with less than 5 years residence; and the one after that will look at what it says about people with more than 5 years residence. Then finally in this series we'll explore the rights of family members, and lastly the ongoing health care rights of people currently covered by an S1.

So take a deep breath .... and here we go.

General provisions of the ordonnance

1. There will be a transition period of between 3 and 12 months - to be defined by a decree - during which you’ll have to apply for an appropriate card (see posts 2 and 3).

2. All of us will, as you know, become third country nationals (TCNs). This ordonnance makes it clear that our future status will be based on the current cards for TCNs but with more favourable conditions. You might call us ‘TCNs with benefits’. In other words, there will not be a special status for us if there is no deal - the cards that we have to apply for will be the same card as, for instance, your Thai or your Syrian friends have to have.

3. Everyone will have to apply for their new status within the transition period - no exceptions. For some this will be easier than others.

4. No language or other integration conditions will be required.

5. The provisions in the ordonnance only apply to people who were resident before Brexit day AND apply for their new status before the end of the French transition period.

6. There are strict reciprocity conditions. The citizens’ rights provisions in the ordonnance can be suspended by a decree if the French government finds that the UK doesn’t grant treatment equivalent treatment - not just to French citizens living in the UK but also on the control of goods and passengers to and from the United Kingdom and veterinary and phytosanitary control on imports from the United Kingdom. We were expecting much of the rest but including goods and passengers in the reciprocity condition was a bit of a startler.

7. There will be a fee for the issue of ALL cards under the new system, and for each future renewal. We don't know the exact amount of this yet, but we do know that current third country nationals pay 268€. We certainly hope that it's a bit less than that!


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