Requirements For Residency In France For UK Citizens
If you're looking for more information on what you need to apply for residency in France as a UK citizen, take a look at our helpful guide below to get your started.
Since Brexit, relocating to Europe has become slightly more complicated for Brits as we’re still cautiously wading through a period of adjustment and uncertainty.
While making us want to bang our heads against the wall, this confusing time is inevitable as countries transition into new normality and update their requirements for British citizens to become residents.
France has selected its new rules and requirements for residency post-Brexit.
Many of you reading this are potentially still considering which visa to buy or whether a move to France is worthwhile. However, French residency is now essential for Brits wishing to indefinitely relocate to France, so keep reading to find out how…
So, why become a French resident as a British citizen?
For a British person moving to France for longer than three months, you're required to hold a residency permit – also known as a carte de séjour.
After months of waiting for one of these cards, you will feel like a king as you proudly show it at border control! It’s the piece of plastic that proves your right to remain in France post-Brexit and acts as your ID during your time in the country.
Each residency permit differs according to your length of stay and your choice of visa.
For those who moved to France before 31st December 2020, the applications for Withdrawal Agreement Resident’s Permits closed in September. Possession of a resident’s permit is required from 1st January 2022. Unfortunately, there have been long delays in releasing the cards, so this has become a respite period.
To be a resident in France basically means you are now a tax resident. However, if you have a second home in France and only plan to spend 3-6 months there, you won’t be considered a resident and do not need a residency permit.
What are the requirements for a British ex-pat to have French residency?
There are four requirements for French residency: · A British passport and passport photos · Proof of address · Proof of health insurance coverage · Proof of financial resources
Your passport must be in date, and your passport photos need to clearly show your face as you appear now.
What can be used as proof of address for a residency application?
To settle in France – or anywhere in the world for that matter – you need an address. While temporary accommodation can be demonstrated with a hotel or hostel receipt, you need a permanent address to open a bank account and apply for residency.
If you are a homeowner, you can share your property deeds.
If you are joining a partner or family, they can provide you with their own proof of address along with an attestation d'hébergement – a declaration on their honour that you live with them.
An attestation d’hérbergement also works if you intend to find your own home. Due to the cyclical nature of French bureaucracy, you can’t do one without the other. So an attestation d’hérbergement from a friend is the best way to get the ball rolling and apply for residency once you are settled.
The word "attestation" is one you'll become familiar with in France, as these signed declarations are highly valued within the French bureaucracy. In a country that sends back forms if they aren't appropriately filled in, they are surprisingly trusting when it comes to declarations on your word alone!
What is proof of health insurance coverage?
Private health insurance covering all medical expenses is usually the better option over travel cover, and it needs to last the length of your stay in France.
If you are working as an employee, you can apply to join the French healthcare system (Protection Universelle Maladie or PUM) straight away.
In most cases – like starting a business in France or living as a retiree, for example – after three months a resident, you will be entitled to apply for French healthcare.
However, to register as a resident, you must show temporary health insurance cover that lasts until your official citizen's healthcare kicks in. As they wait for French healthcare is notoriously long-winded, you will need to show proof of at least six months’ worth of private health insurance.
What is proof of financial resources, and how much do I need to earn?
Unfortunately, there are now minimum income requirements in place which you must meet to be eligible for French residency (and for a long-stay visa).
To become a French resident, you must earn over €1,231 a month, the equivalent of the French minimum wage. However, this increased on 1st October. Ex-pats now need to prove that their income now meets the revised figure. This income must also be consistent and stable. If you have children, the minimum will be higher.
Income can be proved through payslips or a contract if you are employed or business accounts if you own a company or business. Two years’ worth of statements is enough to show consistency.
If you are self-employed and wish to continue your profession from France, you need to show your income amounts to the French minimum wage.
Also, to continue to work as a self-employed sole trader, you will need to prove your qualifications for the job.
Naturally, there are concerns for retirees or economically inactive people. However, if your pension is insufficient, your savings will be taken into account. You would also need to provide a letter declaring you have no intention of working in France.
Which visa needs which residency permit?
Various long-stay visas can be used for different reasons – like work, study or joining your family.
For example, a visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour (a VLS-TS) is the equivalent of a residency permit for 3 to 12 months. The holder is not required to separately apply for residency. If you wish to extend your stay in France, you need to apply for a resident’s permit.
The VLS-TS is obtainable for numerous reasons, including:
· Foreign national employees recruited to work in France for a year · Temporary workers who are hired for 3 to 12 months · Research scientists · Students · Intra-company transfers and their families for stays of up to 12 months · ‘Talent’ which includes business investors, start-up founders, performing artists, and highly skilled workers
This visa needs to be validated at the OFII within 3 months of arrival.
If your visa is not a VLS-TS, you will need to apply for a resident’s permit within 8 weeks.
Other reasons for moving include relocating to live with a French or EU spouse who lives in France, for which you don’t need a visa but are required to apply for a residency permit within 3 months.
Where do I apply for my residency permit?
You need to get in touch with your local prefecture, which is based in your department.
Where can I find further information?
The British Embassy social media is also helpful, especially as they hold monthly virtual meetings to answer any difficult questions.
At the moment, most British ex-pats in France arrived here before 30th December – before the Brexit chop, basically – and hold a Withdrawal Agreement Resident’s Permit.
This means that most forums, Facebook groups and advisory organisations currently help clear up any confusion, with the final applications being only a month ago.
Over time, there will be less emphasis on pre-Brexit arrivals, especially with more and more Brits arriving on various visas, and advisors will gain experience in French relocations and residency queries.
The Bottom Line
French residency is a necessity for British ex-pats, so start preparing proof of address, healthcare coverage, and proof of income documents ahead of time to make the process more straightforward.
However, it’s always a pleasant surprise if all you need is an attestation d’hérbergement!
While the process can be confusing, the authorities will ensure you receive your resident’s permit. Eventually, you will hold your carte de séjour as a French resident, and the celebrations can begin.