No-deal Brexit might loom on the horizon, but this has not deterred many Brits from buying or considering to buy property abroad.

When it comes to Brexit, the latest release of a government document outlining “reasonable worst case scenarios” in the case of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, has left many shocked. While the government resisted the publication of the so-called Operation Yellowhammer document, the six-page document which is dated 2 August and was leaked to the Sunday Times last month, warns of a three-month disruption at Dover and other channel crossings, public disorder and shortages of fresh food.

Buying in France

While the political landscape in Britain is chaotic, with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looking more threatening day by day, many Brits are considering moving to France.

As the British parliament is trying to stop a no-deal Brexit, many European countries, including France, Spain and Germany are preparing for Brexit.

The French government and customs authorities will test a period before Brexit to judge the preparedness of companies in the case a no-deal Brexit. According to Gerald Darmanin, the French minister in charge of overseeing the customs agency, French companies which conduct their business in Britain will have to present their plans online, make their declarations to customs officers and open up their shipments to inspectors.

He explained that countries doing business with Britain should be prepared to deal with the country as if it was “South Africa.” He also explained that, “For a month, we are going to act as if there is Brexit for a large number of companies. We’re going to put in place a sort of general rehearsal, so that we are ready at the end of October.”

With more than 4 million trucks going through the northern port of Calais every year, businesses have been used to frictionless trade without having to deal with customs controls and borders. For this reason, many fear that a no-deal Brexit would cause chaos at the borders creating uncontrolled traffic. In this respect, customs officers' numbers will increase by 700, while the customs agency is practicing all through September to prepare.

Residency rights for Brits

According to The Local, France will launch a new online platform in October so that Brits can apply for their carte de séjour residency permits. The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, stated: "The Ministry of the Interior will launch an online registration platform for British nationals living in France in October." The website will be in English and Brits will be able to complete their application online, scan in all relevant supporting documents and then receive a receipt for their application, with only one in-person appointment for fingerprints. This appointment can be done at préfectures, sous-préfectures or local mairies. Some prefectures have closed applications as they don’t know yet what will happen with Brexit, while others are processing applications within weeks. The online application system can be used by Brits already living in France on the day of Brexit.

The French government and the British embassy have advised British residents in France, living there for more than five years, to apply for cartes de séjour residency permits.

After Brexit, all British people will apply for residency rights, in the same way that third-country nationals do. While a no-deal Brexit will allow for a one-year grace period, applications should be sent within six months of Brexit day. On the other hand, if there is a deal in place, there might be a transition period until December 2020. For those who already have a carte de séjour permanent they will be able to exchange it after Brexit. More information is regularly updated on the French government’s website.

Kalba Meadows from the British in Europe citizens’ rights’ group said: "We were given to understand last year that there would be a centralised application platform, and this was confirmed in the table produced by the European Commission in June, so while it's not 'new news' for us it's good that a timeline will now been put into place so that the process can begin as soon as possible. It's going to be a mammoth task processing applications from up to 200k Brits in France. As ever, the devil is in the detail though - and we understand that although applications will be made on a central online platform they will still be processed by individual préfectures, many of which will struggle to meet the demand without extra resources.”

For the French government a no-deal Brexit is the most likely scenario, with officials expecting an economic slowdown.

Universal Partners FX

If you are considering buying a property abroad amidst Brexit preparations and uncertainty, you should also be prepared and secure your funds. If you don’t want to worry about currency volatility and future exchange rates, you could fix your rate today. Universal Partners FX can help you hedge your funds, get access to the best exchange rates and transfer your funds fast, securely and cheaply. Give them a call today to find out more about international currency transfers and saving costs.