No deal - the decree and the nitty gritty of your citizens' rights in France for those with LESS 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.

This is the second of two articles looking at the decree and what it means - yesterday's article covered those with more than 5 years residence in France. In this article we'll look specifically at what the decree says and what it means for people with less than 5 years residence. It's important to read it alongside the original article covering the ordonnance for those in this situation. You'll find that article here: https://remaininfrance.blogspot.com/2019/02/what-rights-for-british-in-france-if_9.html.

The provisions in this article apply only to those who were living legally in France on the day of a no deal Brexit.

If you've lived in France for less than 5 years, you'd have to apply for one of several residence cards, depending on your particular circumstances. Note that even if you already hold an initial carte de séjour as an EU citizen, there is no automatic exchange for a new card - you have to make a complete new application for a new status.

Below we take you through each card, what you'd need to provide as evidence and what conditions you'd have to meet.



Common provisions

Whichever of the following cards you're applying for, you'd need to provide the following proofs alongside the specific items mentioned for your particular card:
  1. your passport;
  2. a photograph that conforms to official requirements;
  3. your current carte de séjour if you have one; and
  4. if you've never had a carte de séjour, proof of the date of your arrival in France.

Students

Students will apply for a carte de séjour pluriannuelle marked 'étudiant' - the length of the validity of the card is determined by the length of your studies. As well as the items listed under 'Common provisions' you'll need to provide:
  1. proof of your enrollment in an educational establishment;
  2. if you've been on the same study cycle for more than a year, proof that your studies are 'genuine and serious' and that you are regularly engaged in them.

Employed people on a CDI

You will apply for a carte de séjour pluriannuelle marked 'salarié' which will last for 4 years. As well as the items listed under 'Common provisions' you'll need to provide:
  1. your contract of employment, which must be a CDI;
  2. a pay statement less than 3 months old.

Employed people on a CDD

You will apply for a carte de séjour temporaire marked ‘travailleur temporaire’. This will be issued for one year at a time. As well as the items listed under 'Common provisions' you'll need to provide:
  1. your contract of employment;
  2. a pay statement less than 3 months old.

Self-employed people (including microentrepreneurs)

Self-employed people will apply for the carte de séjour pluriannuelle marked ‘entrepreneur/profession libérale’. This will be issued for 4 years. As well as the items listed under 'Common provisions' you'll need to provide:
  1. proof of your registration with RCS or Chambre de Commerce or Métiers or of affiliation to SSI (la sécurité sociale des indépendants);
  2. proof that you have sufficient resources to maintain yourself, excluding social security benefits (eg prime d'activité). Note that this is a new criterion and different from the 'genuine and effective work' criterion that's applied to EU citizens. The decree doesn't specify that the resources must come from your business, but they must exist.

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. 


Job seekers

Two groups of people would apply for the carte de séjour temporaire marked ‘recherche d’emploi ou création d’entreprise’. One comprises those who’ve graduated from a French higher educational establishment in the year before their application; the other comprises those who are unemployed, having been employed in France for at least 3 months in the year before their application and as long as they are registered as a job seeker and have health insurance. If you're in the second of these situations, as well as the items listed under 'Common provisions' you'll need to provide:
  1. proof that you're registered as a job seeker;
  2. salary slips showing at least 3 months working activity in the previous year;
  3. proof that you have health cover.

Everyone else with less than 5 years residence, including retired or otherwise non economically active

You'd apply for a one year carte de séjour temporaire marked ‘visiteur’, renewable each year until you reach 5 years. Note that this card doesn't allow you to work in France. As well as the items listed under 'Common provisions' you'll need to provide:
  1. proof that you have resources that are 'sufficient to maintain yourself', not including social security benefits (for example RSA);
  2. 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.

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.


Is this all good or bad?

It's a mixture, to be honest. The biggest change is that with less than five years residence in France and in a no deal situation, you'd be almost totally subject to national immigration rules, albeit with easier entry conditions than regular third country nationals. All of the cards listed in the ordonnance, the decree and on this page derive from France's immigration law.

The level of 'sufficient resources' required is based in all cases on RSA, whereas for regular third country nationals it's usually based on SMIC, which is considerably higher.

If you currently hold a carte de séjour as an EU citizen, there is no process simply to exchange this as there would be for those who hold a carte de séjour permanent - you would have to make a completely new application.

For those who are 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'. But those resources don't have to come from your business - you can use other income to make the total up to the required level if you don't take enough from your self-employment.

For those over 65 applying for the 'visiteur' card, 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.

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


After five years ...

After five years of residence, you will be entitled to receive a ‘carte de résidence longue durée’. In order to apply for this you’ll have to show sufficient resources, the details of which are exactly as described above. This would be the case whatever your situation - ie whether you're working, self-employed, a student, retired or otherwise non economically active.


Remember that these provisions only apply in the case of a no deal exit. France has not yet published the details of its implementation of the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement that would apply in the case of an exit with a deal.


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


Kalba





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