Reader’s Question: Should UK owners of second homes leave France before March 31?

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Reader's Question: Should UK owners of second homes leave France before March 31?


Question: We went to our second home in France at Christmas and have been there ever since. It’s quiet and secluded and we think it’s the best place to be during the pandemic and we’ve been very careful with social contact. We’ve heard that we may have to leave now, haven’t we? And are there no exceptions due to the health situation?
Before Brexit, Brits with a second home in France could come and go as they pleased and did not need to count how long they were in France. However, with the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1, there are limitations on the periods of stay.

However, this does not apply to everyone.

If you are a permanent resident from France, you don’t need to leave, but you do need to apply for residency if you haven’t already – find out how here.

If you have a visa you are covered for the duration of your visa.

If you are a double national and also have the passport of an EU country, you can continue to enjoy unlimited stays.

If none of these conditions apply to you, you may have to leave.

This is due to the 90-day rule which, as of January 1, 2021, applies to Britons in the same way it already applied to other non-EU nationals such as Americans and Canadians.

You can find a full explanation of the rule HERE, but essentially the British can only spend 90 days out of 180 in the EU or in the Schengen zone. The days of the day can be one long trip or several short ones, but in total you cannot exceed 90 days out of 180.

So, if you have been in France since January 1, you will reach the end of your 90-day allowance and must leave by March 31 at the latest. If you arrived after January 1, you can stay up to 90 days after your arrival date.

The 90-day rule covers the whole of the EU and the Schengen area, so you have to leave the Bloc completely and travel to a non-EU country, like the UK.

Travel from France to the UK is currently permitted – although you will need Covid testing and quarantine once there.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about traveling between France and the UK

There is no extension to the 90 day rule due to medical condition, but you may be able to challenge the excessive stay penalties if you can prove that you were sick with Covid when you expired. your 90 days and therefore will not be able to travel. .

The penalties for suspended sentences range from fines to deportation – read more HERE.

Family members

If you have a spouse or registered partner who is an EU citizen, you have the right to apply for a spouse visa, but you still have to go through the visa process, you can’t just go without paperwork. You can find out more about French visas HERE, but all visa applications must be made from the applicant’s home country, so you will need to return home to apply.

If you have family members who are residents – for example, you are the adult child of UK parents who live full time in France and have a residence card – you may be eligible to apply for a visa or status of resident as a family member, but again, you again, you can’t just go without paperwork.

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