As we approach the end of 2020, its been a year so far filled with obstacles many of us thought we would never have to face, both personally and professionally. Living in France with its known complexities in administration is already a challenge, add into the hotpot a worldwide pandemic with all of its economic implications along with a Brexit and those challenges can become stressful for many.
The End of the Transition Period
As we approach the end of the transition period (31st December 2020) what does that mean for British people visiting Europe? It means that from 1st January, freedom of movement in the EU area will change. The older generation (like myself) will remember this from before the EU days however our new younger generation will now live by a new set of rules. These rules, which have not yet been totally disclosed, whilst still allowing people to move to France, will involve more complexity if you wish to work or create a business abroad.
The EU has agreed on principle that the UK will be visa exempt for up to 90 days in every 180 days. You could use this in one big stay in France or use it as a rolling window. So effectively the good news is that you can visit your secondary homes within these time restraints or go on holiday to Europe with no major difference except to keep an eye on your 90 day counter. If you want to calculate the days you have left, use this calculator
Spending more time in France or Europe
If you wish to have access to more than 90 days without actually becoming a permanent resident, then the actual rules and formalities for non-EU residents and UK citizens wishing to spend more than 90 days in another European country have not been announced. However, if we look at other third country nationals, the way to stay longer, without becoming a resident, would be a long stay visitor’s visa, requested from the French consulate in your country of origin. You can request a 6 month or one-year renewable visa. Will the process be ‘lighter’ for the British than the usual third country national rules or the same? For this we will need to wait and see.
LBS has been helping other third country nationals for many years with their visa applications, so we would hope the rules would be no more complex than for others. Applications for visas should be made at least 2 months before going to the country, so get prepared to make your applications if you think you will need this.
The real complexity of a move to France will arise if you wish to work or create a business in France or another European after January 2021, here the paperwork is not the same!
Becoming a permanent resident of France
If you come to France before the end of the transition period, you can make your request for a residency card via the website here up to 30th June 2021. You will need to prove that you were living in France before the end of the transition period ie 31st December 2020, providing the paperwork footprints that they require depending on your status. I would not suggest that you wait until the deadline to make your application in view of the volume of requests but do take the time to organise your paperwork beforehand.
If you are looking for help with your smooth transition to France, then don’t hesitate to reach out to the LBS team here