Guidance

Living in France

Official information British people moving to and living in France need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

EU Exit: what you need to know

There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in France while the UK remains in the EU.

While the government continues to negotiate EU Exit, you should:

Before you go

See our travel advice for France and sign up for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See moving or retiring abroad.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements for France in our travel advice.

You must provide a passport, photo driving licence or other government documentation when asked or take it to a police station within 4 hours.

Registration in France

Currently, there is a voluntary registration system in France. As a UK national you do not currently need a registration card (“carte de séjour”), but are entitled to one, subject to the same requirements as other nationals of EU member states. Details on how to apply (including required documents) can be found here under « Carte de séjour pour Européen ». Applications for EU cartes de séjour are free.

The British Embassy is in regular and close contact with the French Authorities who advise that UK nationals should apply for cartes de séjour under the current system. If you have any problems with doing so, please contact us outlining the difficulty you have encountered, when, and which préfecture (département). We may not be able to reply to all emails but will continue to raise with the French authorities and update this page with further details. The French Ministry of Interior have assured us that any UK Nationals currently living legally in France and exercising their EU rights are able to request a carte de séjour, including the right to be issued with a permanent card upon first request if eligible.

The French Ministry of Interior are working on the system they will put in place to enable UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU to claim their rights after EU Exit. The agreements already made with the EU commit them to keeping any such system smooth, simple and transparent and as soon as the French Government has reached a decision, information will be shared as widely as possible. You will have until at least June 2021 to submit any necessary registration documentation. In the meantime, we would encourage eligible UK nationals to prepare your papers (bank statements, statements of household bills etc) to demonstrate your continued residency in France and to apply for a carte de séjour.

Healthcare

See our travel advice for France.

The NHS has information about healthcare for British people living in or visiting France.

You need a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get emergency medical treatment during temporary stays in EU countries. You also need comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your EHIC.

Once you’re registered as resident, you can get a social security card for healthcare (Carte Vitale). You need to register with your local Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM) – they can tell you the documents they need for registration. You should also get top-up insurance cover (mutuelle) to cover the cost of healthcare not covered by a Carte Vitale.

You should check your prescriptions are legal in France.

See mental health in France.

S1 form – healthcare paid for by the UK

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in France and get an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit.

You need to apply for a S1 form – contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ International Pension Centre.

Working in France

See working in another EU country.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

You can also get the UK equivalent of a ‘casier judiciare’ and an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) criminal records check (for UK nationals working with children overseas) from the ACRO Criminal Records Office.

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

France and the UK have a double taxation convention to prevent income being taxed in both countries. We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in France.

See paying income tax in France.

All residents must declare assets outside France, including bank accounts, securities, rights, insurance, annuities and property. The declaration is separate to the annual tax return.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

If you’ve worked in France, contact your local pensions office, Caisse d’Assurance Retraite et Santé au Travail (CARSAT) – see CLEISS and Sécurité Sociale.

If you haven’t worked in France, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre.

If you’ve worked in several EU countries, see state pensions abroad.

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible - your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will also accept a French life certificate (certificat de vie), which you need to get filled in by your local town hall (mairie).

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

French unemployment benefit

To see if you’re eligible for unemployment benefit in France, contact Pôle Emploi and CLEISS.

French disability benefit

You should contact the Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées(MDPH) about disability allowance – there are several disability allowances so it’s best to seek advice from them before applying.

French family allowance

To apply for child allowance, family income support, single-parent allowance or housing allowance, contact the CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales). If you need help applying, request an appointment with the social worker at your local town hall (mairie).

Driving in France

See driving abroad and road travel in France.

You should register your UK licence with your local town hall or prefecture in case it’s lost or stolen. You can change your UK licence to a French licence by completing an application form and sending supporting documents to Centre d’expertise et de ressource de titres (CERT) at Nantes. See Service.Public for instructions.

After 6 months in France, you must register your car with the French authorities – see driving in France with a foreign licence or contact your local prefecture.

When driving, you should always have:

  • your driving licence
  • your car papers
  • your insurance paper
  • your MOT/Control technique certificate
  • your passport or ID and those of your passengers
  • a high-visibility jacket
  • a red warning triangle

Voting

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

If you’re resident in France, you can vote in the municipal and European elections – see registration on the electoral lists.

Births

See register a birth abroad.

Deaths

See what to do after someone dies and death of a British national in France.

Getting married

See getting married abroad.

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

As well as the European emergency number 112, France also has:

  • 17 – police
  • 18 – fire brigade
  • 15 – medical

See France – emergency numbers.

If you need urgent help, contact the British Embassy Paris.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad and how to buy property in France.

Other useful information

Returning to the UK

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre. If you receive a French pension, contact your pension provider.

See tax if you return to the UK. You should also tell your local French tax office your departure date and change of address.

You’ll need to tell your local social security office and benefit office you’re leaving if you’ve been getting unemployment benefit or child and housing benefit.

See bringing your pet to the UK and importing vehicles to the UK.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the French authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 10 June 2013
Last updated 24 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added a link to sign up for the Embassy's newsletter, Voisins Voices, and added a link to the future citizens outreach meetings page in France.
  2. New contact form added for questions about the carte de séjour application. Under Registration in France, section, added a link to useful information from the préfecture de Dordogne.
  3. Addition of the top 10 questions on Brexit from UK nationals in France under the "Brexit: what you need to know" section. This Q&A was created by the British Embassy in Paris to answer the top 10 questions of UK nationals living and working in France.
  4. Added in information about French registration
  5. Additional information on visas and requirements, including on applying for "carte de séjour."
  6. Updated June 2018
  7. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  8. Added information re: French law requiring the carrying of ID at all times in France.
  9. Added: support and guidance for British nationals experiencing mental illness in France
  10. Added two new paragraphs re: Travel Advice and Lost Property.
  11. Information added on changes to EHIC rules and health cover for early retirees.
  12. Information added for Britons living in France on how to register to vote in the French municipal and European elections.
  13. Life certificates information for UK state pension updated
  14. First published.