Since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, Brits now face a series of hurdles to set up a life in France. Here, we’re taking you through all you’ll need to know about living in France after Brexit.
Crossing the Channel for a life in France has been a British favourite for a long time. With its romantic cities, snowy peaks, and sunny south, there’s a bit of everything for everyone in France.
Before 1 January 2021, UK nationals could live and work in France for as long as they liked without the need for a visa or residency permit.
Like living in Spain post-Brexit, it’s trickier now, but still very much possible. We’ll walk you through getting a residency, long-stay visas, healthcare, and working in France after Brexit.
Getting a residency in France after Brexit
As Brexit officially came into force on 1 January 2021, packing up and venturing to the continent became considerably more of a challenge for UK citizens. Although getting a residency in France after Brexit is still very doable, it’s not quite the easy-breezy operation it was before.
UK nationals are still free to visit France for up to 90 days per year without any form of visa. If you’re in the market to stay for any longer than 90 days, you’ll need a visa to do so. The same applies if you want to work in France. Temporary visas are easily accessible and are not expensive. They permit you to stay in France for up to 12 months.
To live in France as a resident, there are a few more steps you’ll need to take. There are five forms of resident visa in France:
A long-stay visa
This usually lasts for one year and allows the holder to live and work in France during that time.
A temporary residency permit
This tends to be valid for six months and lets you live in France for reasons other than work. These might include voluntary work, caring for sick relatives or seeking asylum.
A multi-year residency permit
This is typically granted to people with a long-stay visa who wish to extend their stay for up to four more years.
A retired persons residency permit
This applies to those who live on their own form of income, whether it be via a pension, investment, rental income or anything else. The permit lasts for up to 10 years.
The Residency Permit or Permanent Residency
This also lasts up to 10 years and gives the holder the right to live and work in France.
To get your hands on a permanent French residency or a Carte de Sejour as they say in France, you will need to visit the French Consulate General (if you are based in the UK) or a local government headquarters (in France) with the following:
- A valid passport with up to four recent passport photos and a visa or existing residency permit.
- Details of your work contract and a signed copy of the contract.
- Proof of address in France.
- Birth certificate.
- Information regarding your marital status.
- Evidence of stable and sufficient income for five years. This differs depending on whether you will be living in France on your own, as a couple or with dependents (children). You’ll need to show proof of this with documents such as payslips, tax notice, pension certificate, property income, etc.
- Declaration of honour form.
You must also be able to speak basic French – equivalent to the level of A2.
Long-stay visas in France
While a French residency is particularly advantageous for Brits wanting to live in France for a long time, it’s not ideal for those seeking a shorter stay. If you’re looking to live in France for longer than 90 days, a long-stay visa might be the best option for you.
There are two types of temporary visas available. They cost up to €99 (£84.49)* and allow you to stay in France for up to 12 months.
- A long-stay visitor visa is usually valid for up to one year but may be extended. It permits the holder to live and, depending on your circumstances, work in France.
- A temporary long-stay visa is aimed at shorter visits in France of three to six months.
To obtain a long-stay visa, you will need the following:
- A valid passport with at least 15 months until expiry.
- Proof of agreed rental accommodation for your time in France.
- Evidence of sufficient income to support yourself during your stay. This is currently around €65 per day.
- Health/travel insurance or a Global Health Insurance Card – the replacement for the EHIC card.
You must apply for your visa 30-90 days before you travel. As the documentation required must be as up to date as possible, you cannot apply for a French visa more than three months before you travel.Send money to France
Working in France post-Brexit
As a UK national, you are now required to get a work permit to work in France. The French government now treats UK citizens in the same way they would non-EU/EEA citizens.
The procedure of acquiring a work permit is not something that you have to engage too much in as it is handled by your French employer. You will, however, need a long-stay visa initially, followed by a residence visa if you want to work and live in France after Brexit for an extended period.
It is important to have a good grasp of the French language when working in France, even if your role is based around English. The French Ministry of Education awards certificates for different levels of French proficiency. You might need to get one for certain jobs.
A typical working week in France is 35 hours long and you’ll also get 30 days paid leave per 12-months as standard. You’ll also be entitled to 11 public holidays.
Like the UK, taxes are determined by a pay as you earn (PAYE) system. For residents, the PAYE system is stretched across five income bands. Non-residents pay 20% on all yearly earnings up to €27,519 (£25,067)* and 30% on any figure above this threshold.
French healthcare post-Brexit
The French healthcare system (Protection Universelle Maladie or ‘PUMa’) works on a co-payment basis. This means both the state and the individual contribute to medical bills. Currently, government-funded agencies cover around 75% of health expenditures in France.
PUMa provides universal coverage for all citizens regardless of age or class. If you have been a resident in France for over three months, you will be granted the same access to PUMa as French residents. The same applies if you are employed in France. If you are unemployed in France, you may have to make your own contributions to PUMa.
Your first point of call for healthcare in France is through a médecin généraliste – the French name for a GP. You will have to establish a main médecin généraliste as your attending doctor. Once you have registered your primary doctor, you can claim full reimbursement through PUMa.
Sending money to France after Brexit
Residencies and healthcare won’t be the only things to worry about when moving to France after Brexit. When it comes to buying French property or transferring money to live, you’ll need to find a way to exchange currencies.
At Privalgo, we help countless British-born expats like you save money when they send money to France. We do it through market-leading exchange rates, zero hidden fees, and intelligent solutions.
Interested? Follow the link below and request a quote. One of our Currency Experts will be in touch with you as soon as possible. They’ll discuss your specific requirements, provide you with a rate, and walk you through some of our solutions.Request a quote
*All exchange rates noted here are interbank rates, taken on the 30th July 2021.
Privalgo is a company registered in England and Wales. The firm is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Electronic Money Institution. (Reference number: 900887)