Two weeks before the effective date of Brexit, the British living in France are flocking to the prefectures to obtain a residence permit. This is particularly the case in Dordogne, the department which has the most subjects of Her Gracious Majesty of the territory, where the prefecture had to set up a dedicated team to cope with the influx of requests.
REPORTAGEIt is the department of France where most of the subjects of her Gracious Majesty live. An estimated 8,000 British residents live in the Dordogne. Until now, European citizens, their choice to reside in France has not given rise to any particular administrative concerns. But with Brexit, they will have to hold a residence permit. And the requests are so numerous that the prefecture of Dordogne has set up a dedicated team in a “Brexit office”, in which some 80 Britons crowd each day.
Britons “very worried and very urgent”
“Currently, we will issue 2,200 residence permits per year,” explains to Europe 1 Christine Guarino, director of citizenship and legality at the prefecture. It was therefore impossible for the prefecture to cope with the influx of 8,000 Britons “without creating a dedicated full-time structure, so as to be able to respond very quickly to requests”. Especially since these British are “very worried and very urgent to have a justification which allows them to stay in France” for 10 years, she recounts.
Almost 5,000 requests already made
Because for these subjects of His Gracious Majesty, there is no question of returning to Great Britain on January 1, 2021, especially when they have lived in the Dordogne for several years. But the obligation to have to obtain a residence permit sounds like a reminder of the divorce between London and Brussels. “I am angry with the English who voted for Brexit”, explains at the microphone of Europe 1 a woman who came to get her precious sesame. “I feel at home in the Dordogne.”
Although they can wait until the end of October to apply for a residence permit, nearly 5,000 Britons have already taken the necessary steps to stay in France. At the same time, requests for naturalizations from British citizens living in France and therefore wanting to become French, are also experiencing a marked increase.