Buying a holiday home and visiting France post Brexit; what has changed?

There still seems to be a lot of confusion as to the rights of British passport holders looking to buy holiday homes in France post-Brexit (and also confusion for Brits coming on holiday to France).

Many people, especially those with second homes in France, have been used to coming and going without restriction but, post Brexit, Brits are now classed as Third Country Nationals, having lost our EU citizenship and hence the right to free movement.

The 90-day rule

With the ending of freedom of movement comes the 90-day rule applicable to non-EU nationals, which states that out of every 180 days, Third Country Nationals can only spend 90 days within the EU without a visa or residency permit. Note this is 90 days in Europe which means that you can’t just pop over the border to Spain on day 89 for a couple of days and then come back to France; the 90-day limit applies to the whole EU and Schengen zone, not just France.

So to clarify, as a Third Country National, you will be able to spend 90 days in every 180 days in the Schengen area. For example, if you arrive at your French house on 1 March, you can stay there until the end of May. Then you must return to the UK for another 3 months before you can travel again, so you would not be able to return to Europe before September.

What about if I want to stay longer?

If you want to stay in France longer than three months, your right to remain is subject to national immigration rules as follows:

1.Before you leave the UK you will need to apply to the French Consulate in the UK for a long stay visa.

2. Once in France, you have two months to apply for a titre de séjour. If you are retired or otherwise inactive, you apply for a card entitled ‘Visitor’ which doesn’t allow you to work. You will need to show evidence of ‘sufficient and stable resources’ – currently set at the minimum wage.

Just visiting

In addition, all British citizens living in the UK and wanting to travel to the Schengen area will need to register under the ETIAS scheme – the European Travel Information and Authorization System even when simply coming on holiday. This is a new and completely electronic system, expected to be in place later this year, which keeps track of visitors to the Schengen Zone. Its prime function is security, but it’s also designed to help manage borders and impede irregular immigration. Registration will have to be done online before travel.

So much for all those people out there who said nothing would change after Brexit….

If you need help finding and buying your home in France, please get in touch


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