Since Brexit was formalised, many Britons have chosen to move to France. These new expatriates then find themselves immersed in a new country, which, although not far away, remains different. So what to do to come to France for a Briton? How do I stay in France? Which French region to choose? How do I buy a car in France? How do you send your children to school? Here are our tips.
The British already in France
The UK’s exit from the European Union (1 January 2021) decides the British to move to France, giving a boost to property purchases. For example, some real estate groups have 50% increase in real estate sales in 2019. Located in 60 departments, the network sold more than 300 homes in July and nearly 350 in August 2020. It seems that France is the preferred destination of the British after Spain. However, less than 24 hours after the referendum result, a British pound sterling was worth about 1.20 euros, whereas it was worth 1.30 euros a few hours before. This decline in the British currency automatically leads to a decline in the purchasing power of the British. This devaluation of the pound therefore cools some English people to emigrate, whether for or against Brexit.
The South West is the preferred region for British expatriates. One third of the 150,000 Britons who already reside in France live in New Aquitaine and Occitanie. Haute-Vienne, Charente and Dordogne are particularly popular: there the British own more than 90%. For example, the village of Eymet in the south of the Dordogne has 400 English residents for every 2,600 inhabitants. The attractive climate, the rural one that reminds the British of England, the more accessible house price and the accessibility by car seem to be part of the reasons why they join us in France. A third of English people living in France are retired but 55,000 are active. In The Dordogne, 500 British nationals have registered as business leaders with the ICC. The most sought-after trades in the region are mainly handicrafts in construction, then communication, helping businesses including translation, and tourism.
Source: Les Echos / INSEE
What health insurance for Britons coming to France?
As part of the application for a residence permit, it is obligatory to provide the French authorities with proof of health insurance. Mondassur has been offering this type of health insurance for Britons for almost 20 years. Various insurances can be suitable for foreign residents in France: international health insurance for France GoldImpat, GoldStart insurance which comes in three forms, GoldVisa insurance or temporary insurance for the Long Stay Europe Access visa.
Gold Impat insurance
is ideal because it is dedicated to foreigners wishing to emigrate to France for more than 6 months (renewable automatically subject to payment of contributions). This is the most comprehensive insurance. It covers the costs of hospitalization, routine medicine, optics, dentistry etc. It covers from the 1st euro paid or in addition to the Social Security. You can subscribe to it directly online or by paper newsletter.
Gold Start insurance with Backup, Basic and Nomad offers an excellent guaranteed-price ratio and allows you to get your Long Stay visa.
Gold Visa insurance
with the Safe formula will be available for Britons up to 75 years of age to obtain your long-stay visa.
Europe Access visa insurance
covers you whether you are going to France or another EU country for a period of 1 year or less. This is the most economical insurance for long-stay visas, for the Schengen area to Europe. For The British, you must have the EHIC or GHIC because only this insurance will not be validated for your long-stay visa.
For more information on these two insurances, please contact us.
How can the British come to France?
The withdrawal agreement provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020, the date of the UK’s official exit from the European Union. Before that date, the British will retain their rights as European citizens. Until the date of exit, British nationals are therefore not required to hold a residence permit. They will be able to enter and stay in France by presenting only an ID (passport or ID card). To obtain a residence permit, you must apply on the website of the online procedures of the Ministry of the Interior from 1 October 2020. You must apply for it by July 1, 2021, from that date, residence permits will be mandatory. There are certain criteria to be met. British nationals must comply with one of the following situations:
Either currently engaged in a paid or self-employed professional activity (or have previously worked and be registered as a jobseeker)
Have sufficient resources for yourself and your family, as well as health insurance
Either currently attending education or vocational training, and having health insurance
Either be a member of a family of a British national who was living in France before 31 December 2020 and who has a right of residence (spouse, partner, child, or other family member in the care or part of the household of a British national).
To complete your application, you must submit a copy of an identity document (passport, national identity card, etc.) as well as one or more other additional documents according to details that will be specified. British nationals and their family members who wish to settle in France after 31 December 2020 will have to travel to the prefecture to apply for a residence permit.
Different residence permits depending on the situation
British nationals and their family members already settled in France before 31 December 2020 will be able to obtain specific residence permits (“UK withdrawal agreement from the EU”).
British nationals who regularly reside in France before 31 December 2020 and have been present on French territory for more than 5 years will be entitled to a permanent residence card for a period of 10 years.
British nationals who regularly reside in France before 31 December 2020 and have less than 5 years of presence on French territory will be entitled to a residence permit of 1 to 5 years depending on their situation.
For Britons arriving in France after 31 December 2020, they will have to apply for a long-stay visa and then go to the prefecture to apply for a residence permit and of course be covered by health insurance in France.
Britons who have family members who have already settled in France before 31 December 2020 (see criteria to be met) will be entitled to a free visa and access to a residence permit once they arrive in France.
British nationals who arrived in France from 1 January 2021 and who do not have a family connection to a British person living in France will be granted a common residence permit.
Residence permits marked “European Union citizen” will continue to be valid until 1 July 2020 but will no longer be valid after that date. British nationals holding this designation will therefore have to apply for a title online in order to obtain a title marked “withdrawal agreement”.
Do residence permits allow you to travel within the EU?
The residence permits issued in France allow travel to other states that are part of the Schengen area, only for periods of no more than 3 months. You can also move within French territory. You will simply have to report your change of address to the Prefecture in your area.
Do British minors have to have a residence permit to enter France? What about school trips to the UK?
For British minors, there is no requirement to hold a residence permit if they stay for less than 90 days, the same applies to all foreign minors. This rule remains applicable after the UK leaves the European Union.
In the case of a school trip to the UK, until 31 December 2020, traffic conditions remain unchanged. Minors from a third country in the European Union or the Schengen area, residing in France and taking part in a school trip to the Uk, may continue to travel only with a collective travel document (“list of schoolchildren travelling on a school trip within the European Union”). This document is issued by the prefecture. Foreign minors do not need any other travel documents, other than a parental authorization to leave the country. On the other hand, it is essential to take out health insurance for school trips to the UK because the European Health Insurance Card will no longer work.
How to stay in France for Britons?
For British expatriates in France, like any other foreigner, there is no difference with a Frenchman in terms of lifestyle. To buy a house or an apartment in France, you can go through an agency where you will have to add to the price of the property the agency’s fees. To make your purchase easier, you can take out a bank loan from any bank (unless you already have sufficient cash available). To do this, an appointment is set with a bank advisor to whom you will explain your project and say how much you need for your purchase. You will then pay monthly payments (a sum of money every month) to repay the loan. Before that, the advisor may accept or refuse your application based on whether you are able to repay the loan.
For a rental, it is necessary to add the fees of the realization of the state of the premises. If you go through an individual, the fees of the condition of the premises are also to be taken care of as well as a security deposit (the price varies depending on the property and the owner). Documents are also to be provided. The last 3 pay slips, for example, to show your income and to show that you are able to pay the rent. For students, guarantors are systematically requested and in this case it is their income that is requested. Other documents may be requested such as an ID, a student card (for students), the last tax notice, your employment contract for example. Some documents return systematically (ID, pay slips, employment contract, etc.) but others may change. It is the owner, or agency, who decides what documents are to be submitted.
How to buy a car in France for an Englishman?
For a British expat in France, the same principle applies to buying a house or apartment. Just take out a bank loan and then go to a car dealership to buy the car you like (unless you already have sufficient cash available). You can also go through an individual via websites like Le Bon Coin for example. Prices are usually cheaper and you arrange directly with the owner on the price, where and how to get the car back.
How to send your children to school in France?: the French school system
In France, children are required to attend school from the age of 3 until they are 16 years old. Teaching in public schools is free. It is composed of kindergarten, primary and secondary education which are therefore compulsory. Kindergarten is a 3-year cycle for students aged 3 to 6. Primary school is a 5-year cycle for students aged 6 to 11. Secondary education consists of two cycles: Middle and High School. The college is the undergraduate for students aged 11 to 15. It lasts 4 years and is crowned with the National Certificate of Patent granted to students who have passed the exam. It symbolizes the end of college. High school is the second cycle of secondary school for students aged 15 to 17-18, this cycle can be integrated without having obtained the Patent. The student can enter a high school in a classical course in a general high school (Scientific (S), Literary (L) or Economic and Social (ES)) or vocational high school. This course allows you to specialize in the purpose of starting work directly after graduation. The teaching lasts for 3 years and ends with the passage of the Baccalaureate which is the diploma that validates the end of secondary education. This diploma is very important in France because it makes it easier to access French higher education but also to find a job more easily, if that is the student’s wish. The student can also begin an apprenticeship. This training is available from the age of 16 to 29 and is paid. Compensation varies depending on the age of the apprentice and the number of years in the course. It increases with the years. To register, you have to find a host company and then register administratively in a CFA. This training allows you to validate a CAP that allows you to start working directly either in the host company or in another company.
How do you register your British children in France?
To be registered, the child must be present on French territory. Documents are also to be provided. They vary according to the academies and therefore depending on your region of residence. Academies are listed in 3 zones: A, B and C.
Zone A: Besançon Academy, Bordeaux Academy, Clermont-Ferrand Academy, Dijon Academy, Grenoble Academy, Guadeloupe Academy, French Guiana Academy, Martinique Academy, Reunion Academy, Limoges Academy, Lyon Academy, Poitiers Academy
Zone B: Aix-Marseille Academy, Amiens Academy, Orleans-Tours Academy, Caen Academy, Corsica Academy, Academy of Lille, Nancy-Metz Academy, Nantes Academy, Nice Academy, Reims Academy, Rennes Academy, Rouen Academy, Strasbourg Academy
Zone C: Académie de Créteil, Académie de Montpellier, Académie de Paris, Académie de Toulouse, Académie de Versailles
It is the town hall of your place of residence that tells you the necessary documents for registration.
Enrolment in kindergarten and primary school takes place in two stages. First at the town hall of your commune of residence. You are given the registration certificate that indicates the name and contact information of the institution that will host your child. Then, with the principal of the school that makes the admission of your child. Enrollment in college and high school is based on your place of residence, i.e. you enrol your child in the middle school, the general high school or the vocational high school of your commune. You must go directly to the establishment to the administrative department that will take care of everything.