Reply from MP about the future of the S1 and regular healthcare under no deal

The orginal letter to the MP:
You have been my MP since you first stood in Amersham, I have however now moved to be with my husband in Northern France, I have been here for seven years so still have eight more years to be able to vote, firstly, please can you give me your governments stance on my health care needs if we leave with no deal, I am retired & am on an S1.
Secondly, please will you give me your view that I will be denied a vote after 15 years living abroad. M.S

Reply from the MP
You asked about access to healthcare for retired UK nationals living in France, in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

There is some uncertainty about the status of current EU reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the event the UK leaves the EU without a negotiated deal, and the UK Government has published some advice, UK nationals living in the EU/EEA and Switzerland: Healthcare (last updated 28 August). The advice notes that S1 certificates may not be valid in the event of no deal, as this will depend on decisions by and arrangements with the relevant host state. The webpage also advises that individuals should go to the NHS website for the latest information on each country. The Government made a Written Ministerial Statement on 19 March 2019, updating on reciprocal healthcare plans in the event of no deal. The following PQ response on 1 April 2019 also provides an update (PQ 237170, 1 April 2019):

Asked by Mr Steve Reed

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether UK citizens living in the European Union and utilising S1 form certificates to access medication for existing chronic conditions will be able to do so in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Answered by: Stephen Hammond

On 19 March 2019, I laid a written ministerial statement (HCWS1429) on the Department’s plans for the continuity of reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the event we exit the European Union without a deal. This statement includes specific guidance for residents and posted workers who hold S1 entitlement forms.

The United Kingdom has proposed to EU Member States and European Free Trade Association States that we should maintain the existing healthcare arrangements, in both a ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ scenario up until 31 December 2020. This will avoid disruption of healthcare provision which includes access to medication for UK nationals currently living, working, or travelling in the EU. We are also making a guarantee to member states, for the avoidance of any doubt on this issue, that we will reimburse member states for treatments that were ongoing on exit day, for up to one year where this is necessary.

Although we have been very clear that we would like to extend all existing healthcare rules, we cannot unilaterally guarantee all EU Member States will recognise EU healthcare entitlement forms including the S1 after exit day, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Thanks to MS from Nord pas de Calais for this - Note the MP HAS NOT answered the question about votes for life - a further letter has been snet

Carcassonne update - process in abeyance but helpful plus increased security

We went into Carcassonne Prefecture this morning.  Waited about 1hr. to be seen as desk did not open till 9am and we got there at 8.30 for when the gates were opened.  Still we were No. 10 in our particular queue.   We handed over all the papers and documents and as expected the chap explained that they had stopped processing applications.  However, he could/would take our papers and they would be dealt with as and when a decision was made.   I had typed up a list of all the items taken from my lever-arch file, and he kindly signed, stamped and dated this for me.   Someone will telephone my mobile once they know what is going to happen.  I said if the papers were not going to be processed in the end, then I would like the file back.  So, it was with great relief we came away with duplicate documents so we know exactly what they have had, and a signed informal receipt – better than nothing if anything goes wrong.

So that is the up to date situation at Carcassonne. Another new initiative, is the Security has been increased.  There is a new entry system, a bit like at the airport, where metal items are put in a tray and one goes through an arch-scanner, and bags also checked separately.  It added to the time to get in, but at least we felt confident nothing untoward was likely to happen.

PH

Reply from an MP ref S1 in the event of no deal

ou asked about access to healthcare for retired UK nationals living in France, in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

There is some uncertainty about the status of current EU reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the event the UK leaves the EU without a negotiated deal, and the UK Government has published some advice, UK nationals living in the EU/EEA and Switzerland: Healthcare (last updated 28 August). The advice notes that S1 certificates may not be valid in the event of no deal, as this will depend on decisions by and arrangements with the relevant host state. The webpage also advises that individuals should go to the NHS website for the latest information on each country. The Government made a Written Ministerial Statement on 19 March 2019, updating on reciprocal healthcare plans in the event of no deal. The following PQ response on 1 April 2019 also provides an update (PQ 237170, 1 April 2019):

Asked by Mr Steve Reed

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether UK citizens living in the European Union and utilising S1 form certificates to access medication for existing chronic conditions will be able to do so in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Answered by: Stephen Hammond

On 19 March 2019, I laid a written ministerial statement (HCWS1429) on the Department’s plans for the continuity of reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the event we exit the European Union without a deal. This statement includes specific guidance for residents and posted workers who hold S1 entitlement forms.

The United Kingdom has proposed to EU Member States and European Free Trade Association States that we should maintain the existing healthcare arrangements, in both a ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ scenario up until 31 December 2020. This will avoid disruption of healthcare provision which includes access to medication for UK nationals currently living, working, or travelling in the EU. We are also making a guarantee to member states, for the avoidance of any doubt on this issue, that we will reimburse member states for treatments that were ongoing on exit day, for up to one year where this is necessary.

Although we have been very clear that we would like to extend all existing healthcare rules, we cannot unilaterally guarantee all EU Member States will recognise EU healthcare entitlement forms including the S1 after exit day, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

House of Commons Library

My experience and worries about Carte Vitale

I thought you might be interested in my experience using my "Carte Vitale" recently. My husband and I are British and became resident in France officially just over a year ago in 2018. We are retired with full NI contributions in the UK and were therefore able to obtain our Carte Vitale for medical care in France using our S1 form which covers 70% of medical care paid for by UK.

All went well, last year we had an appointment and duly registered with our local doctor. However, this year in August 2019 after visiting the doctor I was given a hospital appointment and also sent to a laboratory for blood tests. At the hospital they informed me that there was a problem with my Carte Vitale and that I will have to pay the full price for the examination. A few days after I received a letter from the blood test laboratory saying that I would have to pay the full amount as my Carte Vitale had failed to reimburse the 70% to them, even though it registered my details at the time. At the pharmacy for a prescription, the card also appeared to be playing up, although they let it go through at the time. I had twice in the last year updated ("mettre à jour") our carte vitale at the pharmacy, so did not realise there was a problem.

I got onto the website "https://assure.ameli.fr" and sure enough all our details were there and I was able to use the site and look things up, so I thought I will look at the attestation and update it. It was then and only then, did it say there was a problem with our cards and please call CPAM.

My husband and I ended up back at the CPAM office in Le Mans where the young woman there was extremely helpful, she was not sure why it was not working and when she tried to print off our attestation it said that the cards had been cancelled on the 29th March 2019. This of course was no random date and when she spoke on the phone to check with another office they told her it was due to BREXIT !!, It was discovered they had been cancelled the day the UK had been due to crash out of the EU !!!!

Not only was this extremely worrying, but I wonder if other British people may have been subject to the same thing and are totally unaware of it. You may want to do an article on what has happened. Now whether the decision came from the UK or was a clerical error or a definite decision on the French administration I have no idea.

However, I would add that the young woman sorted it all out for us and said it would be corrected and put right immediately, to wait a couple of days and then get back on the website in order to print off some new attestations which thankfully we have done, and to go back to the pharmacy to get the cards updated as well. I imagine the only way people can find out if they have been affected in the same way, is to try printing off an updated version off "attestation de droits" on the "https://assure.ameli.fr" website.

Y.O

Angouleme - possible complications arose concerning my wife's situation

My prefecture is Angouleme. I decided in February to apply for a CdS permanente EU.

This prefecture offers an online appointment booking service for a half hour appointment. You are given a choice between an appointmnet during school term time or school holidays. Having made that choice you are then taken to a calender of availability. I chose term time and was then offered a selection of dates and times in May and June. Opening times are limited and by appointment only here. I chose June 7th to give me plenty of time to get documents together. I received an email confirmation immediately of time, date and place.

I then emailed the chef de bureau des etrangers for a list of documents and in a quick reply was told I needed originals and a copy set of passport (ID page), 3 photos as for passports, 1 bill per semester ( 6 months) since my arrival in France (2004 in my case),French  income tax assessments, birth certificate, full form showing parents, place and date of birth, marriage certificate if I am currently married- both translated by a court approved translator, proof of health insurance, justificatif of residence less than 3 months old bill.

I set about and succeeded in obtaining all this, although it was difficult as I had destroyed bills over 5 years old and had to contact the utility companies for duplicates who were not very resposive, but in the end  I got there.

Yesterday I attended my appointment. The office there used to be bedlam as it dealt with many things, including before the appointment system all carte de sejour. Now all of that can be done online,. The place had been refurbished and was pleasant and calm. I took a seat in the waiting area. I was called within 5 minutes of the appointment time to a pleasant booth with 2 chairs and the fonctionnaire on the other side of a glass screen. We started the process. She was efficient and pleasant throughout. We spoke only French. For those who find that difficult I would advise taking a friend who speaks French.

 I was only asked for sight of originals of my passport , birth certificate and marriage certificate and their translations which were given back and I also handed over copies. 

Then I was asked for the last 5 years of bills. I indicated that I had brought them all from 2004 as asked and showed her the email. No she said no need, just the last 5 years and just give me the copies. I handed those over and she checked them and said OK.

 As I am an inactif in France she then asked me for proof of means. I asked if my avis d'impots for the last 5 years would suffice. She said yes and I handed over only copies again of the years 2013 -2017. She checked them and again said ok. I asked if she needed anything else eg recent proof of address? No, the recent bills do that, thank you. 

I was then fingerprinted. All 8 fingers and both thumbs

She then asked me a few questions, the answers being entered on her system, including when did I come to France, what languages I spoke. English, obviously she said, yes I answered. And I think French too as you are doing fine today, she said. Yes I replied, assez bien!

She was curious that I am married to a third country national who is not resident here in France. I explained that my wife visits me on a Schengen EU/EAA citizen family member Short Stay multiple entry visa, and I also visit her in her country. I said she does not presently want to live in France as she has a business to run in her country. I said this works for us now, but had no idea how brexit would affect that, when I cease to be an EU citizen. That is a huge worry for us.

She then went off to get a recipisse, a receipt and temporary CdS, which had 1 of the 3 photos on it and an expiry date in December. It is linked to my passport by my passport number. She said I would get an email from them when my definitive card is ready and I will need to go and collect it from the prefecture. She could not say how long that would take. It is outsourced.

That was it. All completed within 30 minutes.

ND

Valence - Carte de Sejour before the UK even joined the EU but a very different experience now...

I have lived in France for over 20 years. I live in the department of the Drome, my prefecture is at Valence. 
When I first came to France it was still normal if not required to have a Carte de Sejour, so I had one in the past. I think the last time I renewed it at the local Mairie was in the early 2000's, in those days if was for 5 years if my memory serves me well...
I stopped renewing the Carte de Sejour when it became a requirement to go to the Prefecture, and under European rules it was not longer necessary. 
Applying for a Carte de Sejour had always been simple as I easily satisfy all the requirement. French tax returns going back years..
With Brexit, last year I decided to apply again for a Carte de Sejour. This time the process was difficult, more complicated, time consuming and unpleasant. I needed to contact the British Embassy, MPs, MEP's and the labour party for help. The process took 10 months in total. 
Each stage requires that you go to the Prefecture, about 2 hours each way. They refuse to make appointments, so you have to go and queue. Normal waiting time is about 1 to 2 hours. So it is at least half a day for each visit.
The first response from the Prefecture was that they would not process my Carte de Sejour because I am British, and they were waiting for instructions from their Minister on Brexit. They also said it was not necessary to have a Carte so it was a waste of their time. Then they required documents they had never required before. A Birth Certificate that was translated by a Court approved translator, proof of income, 5 years tax returns etc. They eventually agreed to process my request. Under their own rules they have to take no longer than 6 months to process if from accepting all the papers, they took 5 months 3 weeks. I was then summoned to go to the Prefecture to collect the Carte de Sejour. So 10 months after my first visit to the Prefecture I finally had a 10 year Carte de Sejour.
I would add, that they wanted to issue a 1 year Carte de Sejour, I had a considerable argument about that with them.

So all in all a very time consuming, difficult and unpleasant process. 

GW

Bourg-en-Bresse - complications ensued after Carte de Sejour application

My wife and I requested titres de séjour “Citoyen UE/EEE/Suisse - séjour permanent” in April 2017 from the Prefecture of the department of l’Ain in Bourg-en Bresse. We are long-term expatriates having lived first in Switzerland for 17 years and then in France from 1987.

The subsequent sequence of events was long and complicated. Although our applications were identical, mine was returned rejected for lack of correct information and justifications, and my wife’s was apparently lost. Later we heard from the “service des étrangers” at the sous-préfecture in Gex, our home town, with whom we had had contact on the subject, that it had been sent in error to them and that they had returned it to Bourg-en-Bresse.

After many attempts to contact the prefecture by phone, email and letter, to no avail, we finally resubmitted our applications, identical to the first attempt, but informed the sous-préfecture of our action.

Finally in late 2017 we were invited to attend the prefecture in Bourg-en-Bresse. This would have meant a 2 hour journey each way and in consideration of my wife’s mobility problems we requested that we should be received instead at the sous-préfecture in Gex. This was ignored, but finally thanks to the good offices of one very helpful person at the sous-préfecture we were able to collect the temporary documents in Gex during a less than 10 minute interview, and then the final documents a few weeks later.

In summary we were initially met with incompetence, disinterest and obfuscation and it was only due to the kind good offices of this one person in Gex that we finally obtained our “Titres de Séjour”.

If this procedure has to be repeated for whatever documents the French authorities will require us to hold after Brexit, we are in trepidation of the stress and upheaval this could engender once again.

In our opinion, citizens’ rights have not been adequately considered in this whole sorry Brexit process which MUST BE STOPPED! This is not to mention that we were not able to vote in the referendum and it looks as though we will be entirely disenfranchised after Brexit.

CP

St Brieuc - great difficulties following application for Carte de Sejour

I've been full time in 22 Bretagne for 6.5yrs,(2012) working and paying taxes...registered with old RSI/SSI...   Chambre de Metier etc etc  Unfortunately within my first full year I was diagnosed with Cancer, my first full year was just short of what is required for CdS....  but 2014 was all hospital...big operation and chemo & radiotherapy.  I went back to work as soon as radio finished in 2015, but unfortunately I had a huge house fire and should have died .... cause a power surge not my fault.... consequently I got pneumonia that winter and nearly died in hospital in 2016.  I have continued to work and pay into RSI and my other taxes during this time, but my body will only let me do so much....  my oncologist said it would take 2yrs for my body to recover following pneumonia because of the chemo etc....   Im still on treatment not yet in remission,  I have horrid side effects, but I'm still working as much as I can.  This year my thyroid was sorted ... killed by chemo... now on pills....  so I advertised for more work and was successful.  Im building my business up slowly again, I'm a Gardener so work is very physical and due to pneumonia etc I cant now work in bad weather so my work is seasonal too...

BCF pay me an allowance monthly and have done so since 2014...  but I have no paperwork...  I contacted SOLVIT ECEU at the commission....  they stated that I cannot be denied a CdS due to low income and cancer....  so I applied to get a CdS.... I had letters from Mairie and another from the Commune to support my claim....  had all the documentation they required...plus I put in a copy in French of the ECEU advice...  but yesterday I received  a letter of total Refusal....  I will be going back to SOLVIT but the stress this is causing is having impact on my health.... Im now on antidepressants and high blood pressure pills on top of the thyroid and cancer pills...  I've been fighting to keep my life going for 5years now...  and it now seams that life is being taken away...  I have nothing and no one in UK....  my maison here is worth very little and would take years to sell....  I will be homeless if they deport me....  I feel Im running out of strength to keep fighting....  to be honest if it wasn't for my little dog I would have given up by now.....  

I have been campaigning hard for over 2 years to keep my mind occupied and to try to ExitBrexit....  but all I get is being called a traitor or scarmonering.... I cant understand why my Government is prepared to use us as collateral damage...  we are British Citizens still....  Please can you  try to raise the issue of CdS registration... we came here in good faith....  I'm not a burden to the state the charity help me, I claim no benefits, Im trying to rebuild my business and continue to contribute to society here... I'm desperately worried ....I'm going to lose everything...  I've had my maison since 2004

I have a lot of other people on my shoulders who need help....  I may not live long enough to see this mess sorted out ....  All I want is to continue my life here .... as Mdme May said we would be able too!!... as long as I live.... 
I know there are so many more people out there in my situation too....  

I will continue to campaign and fight but we are running out of time.... I will be an illegal immigrant with no citizens rights at all if this matter is not addressed.... 30th March 2019... and the re are many others too 

LB


Quimper - Four differing experiences

These three are experiences concerning Quimper Préfecture (Finistère):

  1. We went to make an appointment around the beginning of August 2018. Our appointment was for mid-September 2018 - about 6 weeks away. The man at the desk wrote us a list of the things we needed and which we should have officially translated (proof of ongoin g income in our case).
    When we arrived (at 8.15a.m.!) for our appointment, we were quickly ushered in. I speak quite a bit of French, but was pleased we had taken a bi-lingual friend with us as the lady interviewing us was very harrassed (she started the interview with …”I hate my job, I am bored, you only have 17 minutes…). Our friend soothed her over time with empathy and reminders it was Friday!
    My husband, whose interview was first, had carefully put copies of all the requested documents into a folder very neatly - one for each of us. WRONG! The lady snapped: “I do not want them in a folder; get them out of the folder; put all the copies on one pile here and the origianls in the other pile there. You only have 15 minutes left.” My husband got very stressed.
    Eventually, all went well (and I had been quietly taking everything out of my folder ready for my interview!), fingerprint and thumb prints were taken and our files went off for “further examination” We await the result. (Update : Carte de sejour was received with no further query after about six weeks - though they did send us to the wrong place to collect it on our first attempt)

  2. Two of friends went last week to get an appointment. Theirs is next June 2019….9 months away

  3. Another friend went today…but they were told there were no appointments left and they would have to go back next week to ask for an appointment…not good.

  4. KB went to Quimper for an appointment and was given a list of things he must produce and which translations he needed. As a micro-entrepreneur, the requirements were different from his friends. His appointment was within a month, he was asked for one further document (attestation from the Mairie) which he had not got (and had not been previously requested). However, the fluent French speaker he had taken with him persuaded the official that the regular payment of Foncière and Habitation were sufficient attestation in thier own right and he is currently awaiting notification his card is ready for collection.

    CJ - Data Officer, LibDems in France