I’m British and live in the UK. How long can I stay in France?

At some point, the UK and France may enter into a further agreement, or there may be a new agreement with the EU, but until then the requirements that apply for those who arrive from 2021 onwards will be those that already apply to other non-EU nationals. So you can either come for a holiday or apply for a Visa to stay longer.

I want to stay for less than 180 days a year.

From 1 January 2021, a new 90/180 rule will apply throughout the Schengen area of which most EU countries are members. This allows UK residents to spend 90 out of every 180-days in the EU. This means UK residents with second homes in France can spend 180 days a year at their French homes, but not all in one go.

I want to stay for more than 180 days a year.

Then you will need a long-stay visa costing 99€. There is a useful website that covers this:


There are 4 categories for the visa application

  • Stay for an extended period for tourist or personal reasons
  • Carry out a professional activity; for instance, to start a new business
  • Pursue education
  • Join family members

At least 90 days before you leave the UK, you will need to apply to the French Embassy in the UK for the visa. If you are living outside of the UK, then the application should be made to the local consulate. There are Embassy offices in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, all of which can handle these applications.

For the grant of this type of visa, two important conditions apply: 

  • Sufficient financial resources 
  • Health insurance.

Test of Resources

The test of resources requires that you have resources at least equivalent to the minimum working wage (SMIC), which is €1,231 net/month in 2021, for the period of your stay (maximum one year), after which a residence permit is required.

The test is applied differently to those who are economically inactive, and to those who are proposing to run a business activity, or who will become salaried.


If you are not proposing to work, the SMIC figure is per adult in the household, although in practice a lower test may be applied. Some relaxation of the SMIC rule also operates if you own your home in France without a mortgage.

Also, if your income is below the minimum level, but you have capital resources that would enable you to live in France for a year or more, that may compensate for the lower income level.

Health insurance

You must have an insurance certificate covering all medical and hospital expenses for which you may be liable for the duration of your stay in France, as well as medical repatriation costs and expenses in the event of death. This does not seem hard to come by.

We have another blog on Brexit and buying property in France.


2 thoughts on “I’m British and live in the UK. How long can I stay in France?

  1. Seamus Glas

    To whom it may concern, I am hopefully able soon to visit the St Jean De Alps region with a view of selecting a location in order to purchase property there. Do I need a vise or a vaccine clearance in order to do this, Yours truly. James Gray


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