Retiring to France after Brexit – obtaining visas and navigating the financial landscape

, ,
France after Brexit

Please note that this article is over six months old. While Blevins Franks takes care to make sure that information is accurate on the date of publication, some content may change over time. You should not rely on the accuracy of legislation and tax information in this article; take professional advice for your circumstances.

Retiring to France after Brexit may feel like a challenge, but the process can still be relatively seamless if you plan in advance.

In the wake of Brexit, the landscape of European migration has experienced a significant shift, ushering in a new era for UK nationals considering a move to France. Among a myriad of considerations, the financial implications of your move should be at the forefront.

This article takes a look at some of the key financial aspects for UK nationals thinking of relocating to France post-Brexit, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Navigating residency in France after Brexit

Moving from UK to France after Brexit is still entirely possible, and indeed, a goal for many Britons who are planning their retirement in the sun. However, the process of relocating to France has become more complex. UK nationals now need to fulfil residency requirements and ensure that they possess the necessary documentation to live in France legally. There are some rules for staying in France after Brexit that you should be aware of:

If you lived in France before January 2021

As a UK national, if you satisfied the legal requirements to demonstrate that you were already settled in France before the transition period ended, you enjoy the freedom of movement and rights negotiated by the UK and EU in the Withdrawal Agreement. Having evidence such as utility bills and French bank statements should have been sufficient proof that your permanent home was located in France during that time. You should now have possession of the carte de séjour – thereby granting permanent residency.

The 90-day rule

Britain is now a ‘third country’ existing outside of the European Union, and UK nationals who do not have French residence status or EU citizenship can only spend up to 90 days in any 180-day period without first obtaining a visa.

The 90-day rule applies to the entire Schengen zone, meaning you cannot reset the clock on your limitation by simply crossing the border into a neighbouring country. Without a visa, you will not be able to enter any Schengen country if your allowance has expired – you must leave the Schengen zone for a minimum of 90 days.

Failure to comply with this rule could result in deportation by the French authorities, fines, and a record being placed on your passport that could make future travel and your ability to apply for a visa more difficult.

How to get residency in France after Brexit – visa requirements

Having the right to live in France after Brexit is still entirely possible, but you must complete the necessary process to do so. If you still reside in the UK and would like to remain in France for a period of time that exceeds the 90-day rule, there are options available to you:

Long stay visa

If you are not pursuing French residency, or do not yet have eligibility, you can apply for a long stay visa in advance of your arrival in France. The visa allows you to stay in France between 3 and 12 months, and you can also move around the Schengen area outside of France for up to 90 days within a period of 180 consecutive days.

French residency

To ensure continuous access to France for UK nationals, you must initiate the process of obtaining residency within the parameters of the post-Brexit immigration regulations. To do so, the following criteria must be met:

  • Sufficient financial capacity: You must demonstrate an annual income deemed “sufficient” to sustain both yourself and any dependents, without relying on state assistance.
  • Adequate health insurance: You will be required to possess comprehensive private health insurance coverage tailored for France, as eligibility for state coverage is established only once residency is granted.
  • Application at relevant diplomatic channels: You will need to apply for a visa at a French embassy or consulate within the United Kingdom, ensuring all requisite documentation is provided well in advance of your move.
  • Time Commitment: A residency permit has a minimum residency requirement, typically encompassing at least 183 days spent within the country during a given year.

Furthermore, it is mandatory to register as a tax resident in France, diligently fulfilling all related tax obligations as stipulated by the French authorities.

Be mindful that during subsequent permit renewals, similar proof and documentation will be needed to uphold your continued residency.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can navigate the process of securing and sustaining your residency status in France as a UK national with efficiency and compliance.

Learn more about French visas by downloading our free guide.

Owning property in France after Brexit

The plan for your retirement in France is likely to include the purchase of property. Fortunately, owning a property in France after Brexit is still a straightforward process – where a reputable estate agent (immobilier) and notary (notaire) will handle everything from the negotiations to the signing of the sales agreement (compromise de vente).

Taxation and planning

Since UK nationals need to navigate a new landscape when relocating to France, understanding the tax implications is essential for effective financial planning. This includes aspects such as income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and the French wealth tax on property, and any potential double taxation agreements between the UK and France. Consulting with tax professionals well-versed in both jurisdictions is a sure way to optimise tax efficiency.

Healthcare and insurance coverage

Healthcare is a vital consideration for any relocation, and this is no different for UK nationals moving to France. Understanding the French healthcare system and how you might access it, ensuring adequate health insurance coverage, and assessing the cost of medical care is essential. Budgeting for healthcare expenses and exploring insurance options will provide greater peace of mind and financial security.

Retirement Planning

For UK nationals considering retirement in France, understanding the taxation of pensions in France is pivotal for effective retirement planning. Maximising pension benefits and securing a comfortable retirement requires careful consideration of such factors.

Wealth Management and Financial Advice

Navigating the complex financial considerations of moving to France post-Brexit demands professional expertise. Blevins Franks has advisers living locally in France, and they have a deep understanding of the French financial system and the general issues that expatriates face. A comprehensive financial strategy tailored to individual circumstances is key to ensuring a smooth and prosperous transition.

Contact Blevins Franks today.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.