British citizens will have to obtain long-stay visas to France for stays longer than three months, in case of a no deal Brexit.
According to a bill published this month by the government of France, which was introduced as a preemptive bid to avoid no-deal chaos, in case of a no deal Brexit, Britons would become third country nationals. Thus, they would need long-stay visas, for stays longer than three months. As per Britons already residing in France, upon a no-deal Brexit, they would automatically be considered illegal stayers, due to lack of residence documents.
“In the event of withdrawal from the United Kingdom without agreement, British nationals who enjoy the right of free movement and free establishment throughout the European Union, as well as members of their family, will become nationals of third parties and will therefore in principle be subject to common law, that is to say to the requirement to present a visa to enter the French territory and to justify a residence permit to stay there,” the bill reads.
It also clarifies that under national law, the code on the entry and residence of foreigners and the right of asylum provides for the obligation, subject to France’s international commitments, for any foreigner wishing to enter France with a view to stay for more than three months to apply to the French diplomatic and consular authorities for a long-stay visa.
“In case of exit without agreement, the British wishing to enter France to stay for more than three months would be subject to this requirement. Moreover, in case of withdrawal from the United Kingdom of the European Union without agreement, British nationals currently residing in France and their family members would be staying illegally for lack of one of the residence documents,” the draft law points out further.
According to the bill, British residents in France working in certain professions, as doctors, pharmacists and tobacconists would be among the most affected professions, if the UK withdraws from the EU block without an agreement.
President Macron does not rule out visas
French President Emmanuel Macron has commented the bill, claiming suggestions that UK visitors to France might be denied visas were “fake news”. However, he did not rule out visas.
“In case of no deal our responsibility is to ensure that the life of our people will not be so far impacted. That’s why we will definitely deliver visas for people,” President Macron said, adding that “I prefer a deal and I want a deal, but I will never favor a bad deal.”
UK Home Office warns Britons in the EU to get ready for a no-deal Brexit
Last month, the UK Home Office warned its citizens residing in the EU countries, that in case of a no-deal Brexit, they should be ready to be treated as “third-nationals.” Through a notice, the Home Office advised Britons living in the EU that they need passports issued within the last 10 years, and valid for three more months beyond their stay in the Schengen Zone.
“If your passport does not meet these criteria, you may be denied entry to any of the Schengen Area countries, and you should renew your passport before you travel,” the notice explained.
The UK decided to leave the EU after a referendum to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 51.9% to 48.1%, with a turnout of 71.8% or 30 million people voting.
The leave is to be completed on March 29, 2019, though a deal between the UK and the EU block has stilt yet to be reached. Many experts have foreseen negative effects of Brexit, especially in aviation industry, air business and travelers.