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Buying In France After Brexit: What You Need To Know

With the Brexit deadline just around the corner, many British citizens who had dreams of buying in France after Brexit are now worried about what that might look like. However, while we all wait for a deal/no-deal scenario to be confirmed by the 31st December 2020, I would like to offer some reassurance to those of you hoping to buy a holiday home in France. To do this, I have put together the 5 most common questions from British citizens regarding buying a holiday home in France post-Brexit.

1. Can I buy a holiday home in France after Brexit?

Absolutely! Your rights will not change with regards to buying a property in France. You will be able to do so like any other non-EU citizen. You can also rent out your property. 

2. Is there a limit to how long I can stay in a holiday home for?

Yes. From the 1st January 2021, you will only be able to stay in your holiday home for 90 days in any 180-day period. So for example, if you spend summer in France in your holiday home from June to August (90 days), you would not be able to return to stay in France until December*. The European Commission has developed a very helpful tool to calculate the exact dates. Take a look here: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/content/visa-calculator_en

If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a visa. For more information about which visa would be most suitable for you, you can visit the following website by the French government: https://france-visas.gouv.fr/en_US/web/france-visas/?fbclid=IwAR3KLIpwIAYWIIlAb9E_1-hTGJshIoB3IYwWt47DrjvoCwwu-5SC3w60D7I

* Please note this rule applies to travelling to any country in the Schengen Area, so if you spend 30 days in Italy for example, this counts towards the 90-day period.

3. What about health insurance?

If you have an EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card), it will no longer be valid from the 1st January 2021*. The UK government has said you should buy travel insurance with healthcare cover for you holiday. They also state that if you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure that this is covered by your insurance.

*Please note that if you are a UK state pensioner living in the EU before the end of 2020, you will still be able to use the card from 2021 provided you apply for a new card. Apply here: http://www.nhs.uk/ehic

4. Will I be able to drive in France using my UK driving licence? (holidays only)

The French government has confirmed that British citizens visiting France from January 2021 onwards will be able to drive using their UK driving licences. Additional documentation/an international driving licence will not be required. It is important, however, to bring proof of insurance with you.

5. Will it be more expensive to buy a holiday home in France post-Brexit?

Possibly yes! We do not yet now if there will be a deal or not so many things still remain unclear. However, there is a chance that it will cost more to buy a holiday home in France from 2021 onwards. For example, French mortgages – currently EU residents can borrow up to 80% on a mortgage whereas non-EU residents can only borrow 60-65%. Post-Brexit, it may be that UK citizens move to the non-EU resident category which would affect how much you can borrow. Furthermore, if you later decide to sell the property (and you remain a non-EU citizen), you will pay more in taxes. 

Other useful information

When travelling to France from January 2021 onwards, you must ensure that your passport has 6 months’ validity on the day you travel to the EU. Check your passport validity here: https://www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport

There are some great resources out there which provide accurate and up-to-date information about Brexit. Take a look at some of these websites:

Don’t forget, if you need any help with French documents or communicating with French authorities, get in touch with me at clara@onittranslations.com

If you are looking to buy a holiday home in France, take a look at this blog post about what French property terms you need to know: https://onittranslations.com/the-6-important-french-property-terms-you-need-to-know/

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