Essential Post-Brexit Guide for Property Buyers

Originally posted on & updated on 24th May, 2024

Brexit has changed the face of buying properties abroad. Now we’re out of the European Union, retiring, working, studying and travelling to France has become more complicated, and the same applies to buying properties in the country. To help you understand the main points post-Brexit, and guide your buying journey, we’ve pulled together this guide based on your top FAQs.

Is it Easy to Move to France Post-Brexit?

Firstly, if you were a resident in France before 1st January 2021, your French residency is protected for as long as you have your Residency card. Similarly, this protection extends to retirees already in the country. As long as you were living in France before 1st January 2021, you’ll receive your state pension from the UK.

If you want to move to France now, it’s still possible. You can make this move by either living in the country on a long-stay visa, or by applying for French Nationality. This remains the same as pre-Brexit, but the difference now is that the income requirement to do this has doubled from €650 to €1300 for a single person and you’ll also need to speak French to a certain level.

If you’re a retiree living on your resources, you can apply for a permit in the Titre de Séjour (residency application process) called the retired person residency permit. This permit is valid for 10 years. As for visas in general, you only need to apply for a visa if you’re staying in the country for 90+ days but less than twelve months. So, short trips don’t require one, but if you’re in doubt contact the French Embassy to get clarification.

Short Guide to Working & Living in France

As a French resident, you’ll need to pay tax on anything you earn, regardless of your nationality or residency status. It’s also worth checking out taxes on any properties owned and used solely for income too. If you don’t reside in France, the tax must be deducted from that income, and there are local taxes in each area that need some delving into. If you have a specific tax query, send a message to our tax experts in London.

If you’re planning to study or work in France, you’ll need to apply for a different type of long-stay visa, the multi-year residency permit, under the self-employed category. This allows you to stay in the country for up to four years longer than the standard long-stay visa. If you’re working in the country but you’re not self-employed, or you can apply for residency instead of the long visa option. 

Business owners have extra considerations to work through. You’ll need to apply for a long-stay visa under the self-employed category and will also need to verify economic feasibility and business success. Note, this includes businesses like B&Bs or renting properties, so the advice is to do your research into the region you’ll be setting up in and do your homework on estimates / projections, the same as you would at home.

How about Living and Retiring There

Although you can continue to receive your UK state pension while living in France, workplace pensions are a grey area. To avoid getting caught out, be sure to speak with your pension provider first and foremost. You may be able to transfer private pensions into a qualifying, recognised overseas pension scheme within the EU tax-free, but it’s important to get sound financial advice before attempting that. And learn about how to set up regular payments from the UK directly into your French bank account, every month or frequency you require.

Healthcare is another thing to consider before you move. Similar to the UK, the French healthcare system is funded through tax. In France, that funding comes from state and patient contributions. French National Insurance (known as la Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM) usually repays for your contributions, but as a new resident, you’ll have to pay your contributions upfront. Separate medical insurance will be needed for dental and optical healthcare.

From an admin point of view, filling out an S1 form will cover healthcare costs not included by the state, and you can apply for this from the UK, as long as you’re already receiving a UK state pension.

Final Thoughts for Property Buyers

Things are always subject to change with processes and requirements from the French and UK governments, so our final and abiding advice is to always look into the latest Brexit updates, news and contact the French Embassy before making big life decisions.

Ultimately, know that currently short stays under 90 days don’t need a visa, anything beyond that does, and you’ll need to check out what kind of visa or permit best suits your needs. But remember, the huge positive is that once you have this in hand, you can look forward and enjoy your life in France. Register today to receive property alerts and news from France.

Back to articles