The clock is ticking - À bientôt France!
Does the 90 day rule affect me?
Do I have to leave France before 31st March?
UK nationals who are not resident in France but only visitors and who have been staying in France since before 31 December 2020 need to leave France before 31 March. It’s unlikely that you have arrived after the end of 2020 with the pandemic travel restrictions but if you did, the 90-day clock starts ticking from your arrival date or the 1 January 2021, whichever one is latest.
But I am a resident here in France!
This date is only important for UK nationals who are not legally resident in France. French residents have a different deadline of 30 June 2021 to apply for residency through the online portal. This June deadline does not apply for dual nationals with an EU nationality and holders of a valid visa. If you were resident in France before 31 December 2020 and haven’t yet applied for your Withdrawal Agreement Residency Permit please do so very soon - here is a link to the Application Portal.
I want to stay longer than 90 days but I don’t live in France!
It’s always possible that a special agreement will be made between the UK and France but right now this seems unlikely. As a visitor, you will be limited to 90 days in a rolling 180 day period unless you apply for a long-stay visa to stay in France for longer. You have to apply for a long-stay visa from your home country as these visas cannot be applied for in France. They will look for private medical cover and a certain level of income. A link to the visas site The official website for French visa applications.
How do these 90 days in a rolling 180 day period work?
Here is a Schengen area calculator and an explainer to click on. Scroll down for the calculator and then you can put in your dates (click add a travel record) and you'll see that you will be able to spend a lot of time visiting France.
What if I overstay?
For those with second homes, this is particularly difficult if you are used to staying for months at a time in your French second home. If you are found to be an overstayer you could face deportation, fines or restrictions on a return to any of the Schengen states. It’s likely that even the Covid situation will not extend this limit. France has allowed UK Nationals to return to their homes in the UK throughout the pandemic. The scanning of passports at border control and transport logs mean they can easily check who has exceeded the time limits.
A reminder of how long you must be resident in France
Once you obtain permanent residency rights after 5 years of living in France, you don't lose those rights unless you are absent for a continuous period of five years. In the first 5 years, you must be resident in France for more than 6 months per annum. Temporary absences of up to six-months each year do not affect your right of residence. Continuity of residence is not affected by compulsory military service or one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons, such as pregnancy and childbirth, a serious illness, study or vocational training or a posting abroad.
What’s next if I live in France?
This news isn’t just for second homeowners!
For French residents, apart from applying for your Withdrawal Agreement Residency permit by 30 June 2021 on the Application Portal, there is yet more paperwork to do!
The French tax season is upon us! You need to fulfil your obligations to France and file your tax form. Do inform HMRC that you live in France and there is more information on this here: Tax if you leave the UK to live abroad. Around May 2021 and if you haven’t filed before, you can print-off a tax declaration from the government tax site, or get one from your local main tax office. You must then submit a declaration of your global income. Here is a guide in English: French Government Tax Services. If it’s decided, due to the double taxation treaty, that your main tax residency isn’t France this doesn’t affect your residency rights. Don’t forget your forms to declare every foreign bank account you hold! This is all foreign accounts whether you use them or not and whether there is money in them or not.
The French Residency Support Project cannot help with your tax questions but do consider speaking to an accountant or asking your local Tax Office for help if you are filing for the first time. Good luck!