This article is mainly aimed at British citizens who are looking to buy a property in France next year, either for use as a holiday home or permanent home.
The Brexit transition period comes to an end on the 31st December so, inevitably, there will be some changes. The process for buying a property in France will remain unchanged but, as a British citizen, there will be new rules about how you can use the property. The good news is that living permanently in France and extended visits (e.g to a holiday home) will still be perfectly possible.
Here we’ve summarised the major changes that will affect both second home owners and those looking to move permanently to France.
Changes for second home owners:
After the Brexit transition period Britons with second homes are expected to be considered ordinary non-EU visitors and subject to a rule of spending no more than 90 days in any 180-day period in the Schengen Zone. The 90 days can be continuous or in several shorter trips, so for example you could spend a 45 day period in France, return to the UK for 2 weeks and then return for another 45 days. If you spend your maximum 90 day allocation in France you could then not return for 90 days. Although this change sounds restrictive most second home owners spend significantly less time than this at their properties over the course of a year.
For longer stays (4-6 months) then it will be possible to apply for a long-stay visa (Visa de Long Séjour Temporaire). If you’re eventually looking to retire/move to France permanently then a residents permit, the Carte de Séjour, would be necessary.
There is likely to be no replacement for the EHIC travellers’ health card system so it’s advisable to obtain private health insurance, covering you for the duration of any trips to France. Most standard travel insurance policies cover you for up to 90 days as standard, but it's worth checking your policy details.
You will still be able to let your property.
Moving permanently to France:
British citizens who wish to move to France after 31 December 2020 will likely be required to obtain a long-stay visa before going to their local prefecture to file their application for a residence permit. The ordinary residency requirements of all other third-country citizens are expected to apply to UK citizens. In due course, it is possible the UK and France may enter into a bilateral agreement, or there may be a new, wider agreement with the EU but that’s unlikely to be imminent.
If you are travelling to France with the aim of living there then you will have to apply for a visa before leaving. Currently there are 2 visa options for those looking to gain French residency. One requires you to apply for a Carte de Séjour within two months of arrival and another where you have up to a year before you need to apply for the Carte de Séjour.
Visa applications are be done via the French consulate in the UK. Sufficient financial resources and comprehensive health insurance are the important criteria.
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If you’re unsure about the buying process in France
or would like to discuss which part of France would suit you best,
or in which region your budget would stretch furthest then get in touch: