Brexit and CERN


CERN has an obligation to ensure Members of Personnel (and their families) have the right to reside in the Host States while they are associated with CERN, whether they are a citizen of the European Union or not.

With Brexit now effective since 31 December 2020, the extent of the impact on UK members of the personnel at CERN and their family members is still being gradually clarified on the various points of detail.  

In this context, CERN's Host-State Relations Service, Legal Service and HR work closely with the French and Swiss authorities to find solutions to the issues that may arise as they become better defined. A meeting at the end of 2020 between CERN Management and Host States representatives helped to clarify several points of detail, notably with regards to the modalities for France, detailed in the ‘France’ section below. The particular modalities for Switzerland are included in the ‘Switzerland’ section.
On this webpage, we have gathered information and resources about the effect of Brexit on UK members of the personnel at CERN and their family members. Updates will be posted as the further details or information become available, where applicable. In addition, there are links to other sources of information that may be of interest and help to those affected by the situation.

We will continue to keep you informed of any news in a timely manner through this page and the Brits@CERN community pages.

REMINDER: for context, you will find the framework, explanation and documentation concerning legitimation cards at CERN on the Admin eguide: Swiss cards; French cards

General information

  • UK Citizens taking up residence in France have to obtain a French multiple-entry long-stay D-type visa “carte promae à solliciter à l’arrivée” from the French Consulate competent for their place of residence. This will allow the establishment of a French Titre de séjour spécial (TSS) mandatory for CERN Members of Personnel (and family members who are not EU citizens).
    • Note: for short stays (maximum 90 days in any period of 180 days), UK Citizens are exempted from the visa requirement but a convention d’accueil will be required (equivalent to a work permit).
    • UK Citizens taking up residence in Switzerland will *not* have to obtain a visa, whether or not their stay exceeds 90 days in a 180 day period.
    • See relevant guidelines regarding visas on the Admin e-guide.
  • The online residence permit request service for British citizens and their family members residing in France is now open for applications (further information on this link).
    • NOTE: *all* British citizens living in France who do not hold a 'Titre de séjour spécial' will need to request this permit within the time limits specified on this link.
  • Information regarding finance for EU students starting University in Sept. 2021 (see also this webpage)
  • DG statement about UK referendum on the EU (Bulletin official news, 27 June 2016) 
  • UK government information and guidance on the UK exiting the EU
  • UK Government guidance on living in Europe
  • NHS information about EHIC insurance
  • European Commission pages about Brexit
  • Passports: UK citizens are advised to make sure that their passport has at least 6 months validity, and is not more than 10 years old.


For those residing in France, the “Titre de séjour spécial” or “carte de séjour” for children has been the focus of particular attention. Other concerns include the validity of driving licences and right to travel, and clarification around these is ongoing. 

Note on the Withdrawal Agreement application process: 

This process aims to provide a fast-track possibility to obtain a French “carte de séjour – accord de retrait” or to exchange existing EU residency permits for it (NB: the French Titre de séjour spécial which is mandatory for foreign CERN members of personnel living in France, except permanent residents, cannot be exchanged for a carte de séjour “accord de retrait”). It will end on 30 June 2021. Thereafter, as the UK will qualify as a Third Country (“Etat Tiers”), the process for remaining in France will follow the rules applicable to Third Countries citizens. Holders of a French Titre de séjour spécial (TSS) are covered with its associated provisions up to the end of their contract with CERN, following which they can apply for a carte de séjour préfectorale, provided all requirements are fulfilled.

This quick reference guide will provide further details about the different residency permits for you and your family members.

*NEW June 2021*: see also this FAQ issued by the French authorities about the WA residency permit (not this only applies to the WA permit, not to TSS holders).


Following bilateral negotiations between the UK and Switzerland, 5 agreements have been signed, covering: citizens’ rights, trade, insurance, road transport and air transport. 

British CERN Members of personnel and their family members residing in Switzerland must hold a Swiss legitimation card (exceptions are possible for EU citizens). UK nationals wishing to live and work in Switzerland must meet the terms of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA). Stays in Switzerland under a Swiss legitimation card do not grant rights under the EU Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP).

Brits@CERN Discussion forum (access restricted to members of Brits@CERN)