Britons in France urged to apply for post-Brexit permit amid deadline confusion

British nationals in France are being urged to apply for post-Brexit residency permits before midnight amid confusion and conflicting messages over whether or not a 30 June deadline to secure their rights has been extended.

A French interior ministry spokesperson last week confirmed to media outlets that the cutoff date for applications for the new permit, guaranteeing local residence, healthcare, employment and other rights had been extended by three months.

It followed statements on the websites of several local prefectures that the deadline had been pushed back to 30 September. While the reference to a deadline change has been removed from some, it remains in place on others.

According to the British in Europe campaign group, at least six prefectures have also since said, by email and in person, that a delay had been agreed, with some adding the new permit would be mandatory only on 1 January 2022, rather than 31 October.

However, there has been no public announcement of the change by the French government and the British embassy in Paris has repeatedly said it had not been informed of any extension, insisting the deadline remained midnight on 30 June.

British in Europe said the situation was “chaotic”, adding: “People have been told by official French sources there is a three-month delay. If today is the deadline, what happens tomorrow to those people told they have three more months to apply?

“We call upon the interior ministry and the embassy to clarify the situation publicly. This is our home. We pay taxes, are invested in local communities and deserve better than this. No one should face the misery of becoming undocumented overnight.”

Under the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, UK citizens who were legally resident in one of the EU’s 27 member states at the end of the Brexit transition period last year are eligible for permanent residence, protecting their basic rights.

Fourteen countries, including Spain, Germany, Portugal and Italy, opted for systems that automatically confer a new post-Brexit residence status on legally resident Britons, with no risk of losing rights if any administrative deadline is missed.

The other 13 chose a constitutive system under which Britons must formally apply for a new residence status, including five – France, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands – that initially set a 30 June deadline.

Last month, the Netherlands extended its deadline to 1 October and Luxembourg last week delayed its cutoff date by six months, leaving Latvia, Malta – and possibly France – as the only remaining early deadlines.

According to the latest official figures, 140,900 of an estimated 148,300 UK residents in France (the true number may be higher) have applied for the new permit. In Latvia, 500 have applied out of 1,200, and in Malta 9,200 out of 13,600. The French interior ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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