What you should know about moving to France after Brexit
In March we hosted a webinar on moving to France post-Brexit. You can watch the full session, featuring French property experts, here - or read the key take-away points below!
- No changes to the process or cost of buying a property in France. But do bear in mind that getting a mortgage has become slightly trickier than before Brexit - check updates on minimum and maximum sums you might be able to borrow.
- From 29th March you are allowed to go to France with ‘reasonable excuses to travel’ in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property - but check condition for entry to France and restrictions within relevant department(s) first.
- Unless you have a visa/French residency you can spend a maximum of 90 days in each 180 in France every year.
- If you spend more than 180 days (six months) at a time in France you will automatically become tax resident. Tax residency is not the same as legal residency.
- If you want to stay in France for more than 90 days you will need to apply for a visa before you leave for France. This needs to be done through the French consulates in the UK, and can typically take three months once the process is started.
- Make sure you choose the right type of visa as it not always easy or quick to change from one to another, for example, if you decide to try and set up a business. The French government have a dedicated visa website that will direct you to the right type of visa for you after five or six questions.
- A Long Stay Visa of for between three months and one year. You will need to show that you have the financial means to support yourself of c. €1,200 per couple, per month. You will need proof of private medical insurance and you are not allowed to perform paid employment, although voluntary work and university placements are permitted.
- Once you arrive in France with your visa, you must validate it within 90 days, and if you decide you want to extend your stay beyond the period of validity of your one-year visa, you must apply for a residence permit (carte de sejour) at a prefecture (in France) two months before it is due to expire.
- If you are hoping to work in France you must apply for a different type of visa - depending on whether you are working for a French employer, or whether you want to set up a business yourself. If you are planning on setting up a new business in France, such as running a gite or B&B then you must be able to demonstrate the economic viability of your project. So this would entail providing a detailed business plan with financial projections and/or demonstrating that you have sufficient income sources to support you.
- Remote working has become prevalent but bear in mind that if you are living in France working for a UK employer your company will become liable to pay hefty French social taxes so make sure that this is discussed. There may have been special emergency circumstances allowed during the pandemic.
- Before you move to France, or contemplate a stay there of over 180 days, consider your tax position. Bear in mind that the French income tax is calculated on household rather than individually earns income. Is it wise to keep your UK property or sell it before you leave? The same goes for any buy-to-let properties you might own. UK tax thresholds have been frozen until 2026, so your tax burden will rise. Also consider inheritance tax: tax advice on how French succession law might impact you.
- Pensioners can draw their pensions whilst living in France - UK State pensions will be uprated - but both private and state pensions will be taxed in France if you are tax resident there. UK government pensions will always be taxable in the UK.
- Healthcare in France is not free, even for the French. The state covers 70 per cent and the rest is through private cover. But you can access state cover in more than one way. For temporary stays, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be used until it expires, after which the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) may be used.
- If you are living and working in France, your residency permit (carte de sejour) will enable you to apply for a carte vitale which is your entry into the healthcare system. This is because you will be paying social security contributions through your employer or as a self-employed person. If you are retired and in receipt of a UK state pension you can also access the system through a UK-issued S1 form.
- Find out more here