No deal - the decree and the nitty gritty of your citizens' rights in France for those with more than 5 years residence

As you'll all know if you've been following our previous articles, France has been publishing its 'no deal' citizens' rights plans in stages: first the main enabling legislation, then the ordonnance which put most of the flesh on the bones, and finally - this morning - the decree which does the final polishing and tells us more about both the process and the conditions that we'll have to meet to get our new status.

In this article we'll look specifically at what the decree says and what it means for people with more than 5 years residence. It's important to read it alongside the original articles covering the ordonnance and the long term residence directive. You'll find those two articles here:

A second article will cover the situation of those with less than 5 years residence.

If you've lived in France for over 5 years and already hold a carte de séjour permanent

You can breathe a sigh of relief. 

You'll be applying for the carte de résident longue durée, and this will be a straight exchange, with a seamless transition from one status to another. The decree states that you'll only have to produce your passport, and your current carte de séjour. (No mention of a photo, but it may be that they intend to use a digitalised version of the existing one. More on this when we get clarification).

If you've lived in France for over 5 years but don't yet hold a carte de séjour permanent

You'll need to apply for your new status, according to the process which is still to be put into place. You'll need to provide as evidence:
  1. your passport;
  2. a photo that meets official standards;
  3. a carte de séjour if you have one (for example, an initial CdS that you obtained as an EU citizen); or
  4. if you've never had a carte de séjour, proof of the date of your arrival in France; 
  5. proof that you have resources that are 'sufficient to maintain yourself', not including social security benefits. Note that this will apply whatever your status is - whether you're working, retired, or otherwise inactive;
  6. if you don't have any form of carte de séjour, proof that you have health cover.

What are 'sufficient' resources?

The decree states that the sufficiency of resources is looked at taking account individual circumstances but that in no case must this be more than the level of RSA - currently 559,74€ per month for someone living alone, and 839,62€ per month for a couple. There are other figures for families with children - see the government website here for details. 

It also states that if your resources aren't deemed to be sufficient, a favourable decision may nevertheless be taken if you own your own home or otherwise live rent-free.

If you're in receipt of AAH (l'allocation aux adultes handicapés) the sufficient resources criterion will not apply. 

Is this good or bad?

It's a mixture, and there are some clarifications needed before we can properly answer that question!

For those over 65, on the whole it's good, as it reduces the level of 'sufficient resources' from its current (and higher) level of ASPA down to the lower RSA level.

For those who are working or self-employed, it means that you'll have to justify a certain level of resources for the first time - previously you'd have been required only to show that your work was 'genuine and effective'.

If you receive AAH, it's also good news, as it means that you won't have to justify sufficient resources at all.

There is, though, one thing that we need clarity on. Taken literally, the wording of the relevant article of the decree (Article 11) implies that you must 'have' sufficient resources, not that you have to 'have had' them for 5 years as you would for an EU carte de séjour permanent or for a regular carte de résident longue durée. We want to get more clarity on this and an understanding of what's intended, so we'll be taking this up as soon as possible with the Ministry of the Interior. Until then, please don't read too much into this, and continue to put your dossiers together to cover a 5 year period. We'll update you as soon as we can.

When must I apply?

Although you have the legal right to live in France without a residence card for up to 12 months from the date of a no deal Brexit, you must apply for your new card within 6 months. We don't yet have details of the new application process but we expect there to be an online application form which would then be forwarded to préfectures for processing. 

How much will my new card cost?

A first application for a card will cost 100€ for everyone. Renewals will be charged at the same rate as for 'normal' third country nationals.

If you want to consult the decree itself, you'll find it here: French No Deal Decree.


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