Guidance

Living in France

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

EU Exit: what you need to know

As a UK national who is resident in France, you should:

EU Exit updates

To keep up to date with information about EU Exit:

Residency and visas

You may want to check the entry requirements for France.

Before the UK leaves the EU, you can still apply for a European carte de séjour at your local prefecture under the current system, although it is not compulsory. With the extension of the Article 50 period, prefectures should for the time being continue to accept applications, give and honour appointments, and issue EU cartes de sejour to UK nationals. However, if you have not yet had your appointment by the day the UK leaves the EU, you may be asked to begin the application process again. It is an individual decision as to whether you choose to apply now or wait for the new system to be put in place. If your residency application is refused or you think it has been handled incorrectly by your prefecture, please contact British Embassy Paris.

You should include:

  • information about the issue
  • when the event took place
  • which préfecture (département) it relates to

We will provide feedback to the French Ministry of the Interior and push for improvements if needed.

After our exit from the EU, whether you have obtained a European carte de séjour or not, all UK national residents in France will need to obtain a new type of residence permit relevant to their situation to claim their rights after EU Exit. This includes UK nationals waiting for French nationality and UK nationals married to or PACsed to (in a civil partnership with) French nationals.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, you will have until at least June 2021 to do this. The agreement on citizens’ rights will allow UK nationals to stay in their Member State of residence after the UK leaves the EU.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK nationals living in France on the day the UK leaves the EU will be given a grace period of one year to obtain their residence card. You will have six months from the day the UK leaves the EU to apply for your card and you will receive it before the end of twelve months from exit.

During this grace period, you will retain your right of residence, and associated work and social rights. European cartes de séjour that have already been issued will also remain valid for one year following exit. However, whether you have obtained a European carte de séjour or not, you must apply for a residence card under the new system during the first six months of the grace period.

Your status upon applying for the new residence card in a no deal scenario will depend on which card you should apply for. The categories are as follows:

  • UK nationals who have been living in France for five years or more
  • UK nationals who have been living in France for less than five years and fall under one of the below categories:
  • salaried worker with a Contrat à Durée Indéterminée (CDI)
  • salaried worker with a Contrat à Durée Déterminée (CDD)
  • self- employed
  • during the last year have either graduated in France or worked for at least three months and are now looking for work or creating a business
  • students
  • family members of UK nationals who qualify for one of the above categories
  • UK nationals who have been living in France for less than five years but do not fulfil any of the above categories

Applications for a residence card will cost €119 in a no deal scenario.

The French Ministry of Interior have detailed this information in an ordonnance and accompanying decree. You can read their question and answers on residency (in French).

The French Government will shortly be updating their Q&A and will communicate details of the application process. However, in anticipation of this, you should start to gather together relevant documents(e.g. bank statements), to show you have been lawfully resident in France.

You can read the French government’s official guidance for UK nationals living and working in France and how to prepare for the UK leaving the EU (in French), or download our non-official English translation:

Passports

You may want to read our travel advice.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from France. If you cannot get a passport in time, you may need to get an emergency travel document or ‘emergency passport’.

Passports and travel after the UK leaves the EU

You should check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, nothing will change until at least the end of 2020. In this time you can continue to travel freely in the Schengen area with your UK passport. What happens after 2020 will form the next part of negotiations.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, new travel rules will apply. You should have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

You should check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK nationals will not need visas for short stays elsewhere in the EU. You will be able to stay up to 90 days in another EU country, within a 180 day period. You should retain evidence of travel (e.g. train and plane tickets), in case these are requested by national authorities. If you hold a residence permit from an EU Member State, you will be able to transit through other EU Member States to reach your country of residence. We will update this guidance as more information becomes available.

Healthcare

You should ensure that you are correctly registered for healthcare as a resident in France, and if necessary, for health insurance. Please read the NHS guidance on who is able to access healthcare in France, and how to register.

If you are legally resident in France, you can get a French social security card for healthcare (carte vitale). To get a French social security card, you will need to register with your local Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM). They can tell you which documents they need for your registration. Top-up insurance cover (mutuelle) also exists to cover the cost of healthcare not covered by a Carte Vitale.

EHIC cards

If you are resident in France, you should not be using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the UK to access healthcare in France.

  • you may use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
  • the EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return home
  • an EHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance
  • for more information you can read our travel advice page and advice on foreign travel insurance

State healthcare — S1

If you live in France and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

You can read the NHS guidance on France.

You can read the NHS guidance on healthcare and studying abroad.

You should check your prescriptions are legal in France.

You can find information on mental health in France.

Healthcare after the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, your current rights on access to healthcare in France will remain the same until 31 December 2020, as long as you remain a resident in France.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare is likely to change. If you are a permanent or temporary resident, you should review the status of your healthcare cover.

Under new legislation, the French government has proposed that UK pension holders that are currently entitled to S1 healthcare will continue to be entitled to healthcare for up to 2 years. This is while arrangements are negotiated to provide similar agreements for French citizens.

Healthcare entitlements from employment in France should not be affected.

Your EHIC may not be valid in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK has offered to maintain the EHIC scheme should the UK leave the EU without a deal; however, this is reliant on France continuing to accept UK EHICs.

You should take action now to confirm your residency status and decide what steps you need to take to ensure access to healthcare if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Should UK nationals face changes in their circumstance and wish to return to the UK, they will have an entitlement to NHS services as soon as they take up ordinary residence in the UK [see Returning to the UK].

You should read the NHS guidance on healthcare for UK nationals in France and how it may change after the UK leaves the EU.

Working in France

You should read our guidance on working in another EU country.

You may need a:

Working in France after the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, your right to work will stay the same until the end of the implementation period.

If the UK leaves without a deal, UK nationals living and working in France on the day the UK leaves the EU will keep their right to work for a period of one year whilst their application for a residence card is in process (see residency). If you are living and working in France on the day the UK leaves the EU, this residence card will allow you to keep your right to work.

If you’re planning to start a business, provide a service, or do a job in a regulated profession after the UK leaves the EU, further guidance can be found here.

You can look at the French government’s website on working in France after the UK leaves the EU (in French).

Money and tax

The UK has a double-taxation agreement with France to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries.

You should read the guidance about:

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in France. Find an English-speaking lawyer in France.

Declaration of assets

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

National Insurance

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

Money and tax after the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it may become more expensive to use your UK bank card in France.

Read more about using a bank card, insurance or other financial service in the EU.

The UK leaving the EU will not change existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in France. You should direct individual taxpayer questions about double taxation to the relevant tax authority.

Pensions

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you retire in France, you can claim:

You can read the French government’s guidance on French social security including pensions.

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. Or you can ask your local town hall (mairie) to fill in a French life certificate (certificat de vie) (in French) instead.

Pensions after the UK leaves the EU

The UK Government will continue to uprate your UK State Pension for the fiscal year 2019/2020 in any scenario. You can read our guidance on pensions.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal and you work and pay social security contributions in France, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your French pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after the end of the implementation period.

Benefits

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in France. You can:

If you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks, many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid.

You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC, if you are asked for this.

French unemployment benefit

For French unemployment benefits, you should:

French disability benefit

You should contact the Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées (MDPH) (in French) 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).

Benefits after the UK leaves the EU

The UK government will continue to pay the UK state pension, child benefits, and disability benefits to those eligible in the EU after the UK leaves the EU.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal and you work and pay social security contributions in France, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for French contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after the end of the implementation period.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the French government has proposed that they will continue to take periods of work in the UK before the UK leaves the EU into account when claiming certain French contributions-based benefits. We will update this guidance when an agreement is reached.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the French government has also said that UK nationals with less than five years’ residence who receive the Revenu de Solidarite Active (RSA) prior to the UK’s exit from the EU will be able to continue receiving the RSA benefit for a period of a year. Eligible UK nationals with more than five years’ residence will also be able to continue receiving the benefit during the grace period and beyond.

You can read our guidance on benefits and pensions in a no deal scenario.

Driving in France

If you are a resident in France, you should exchange your UK licence for a French one. You can still use your French licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK.

For information on driving in France, read the guidance on:

There are currently considerable delays in processing requests to exchange overseas driving licences for French ones. The Centre d’Expertise et de Ressources des Titres (CERT) in Nantes is responsible for exchanging driving licences. It has returned licences to some UK nationals residing in France. We are in discussion with French authorities to understand the latest position. If your driving license is lost, stolen or close to expiration, CERT should fast track your application. However if your situation is not urgent you may wish to consider waiting to apply to CERT to apply for a French driving licence in view of the backlogs.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to France

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

You should read the European Union’s guidance on car registration and taxes in France. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so, you will need certificates of exemption.

Please contact your local prefecture or read the French government’s guidance on driving in France with a foreign licence (in French).

Driving after the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, driving licence rules will stay the same during the implementation period (until 31/12/2020).

Please read our guidance on driving in the EU after the UK leaves the EU.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and you are already residing normally in France on the day the UK leaves the EU, you will continue to be able to drive in France with your UK driving licence under the same conditions as any resident.

UK nationals moving to France to live there after a no-deal Brexit will have a one year period to exchange their UK driving licence for a French one (see above for instructions on exchanging your driving licence).

If you wish to visit France as a tourist following any no-deal Brexit, under current French proposals you will need to carry a translation of your driving licence. You may wish to consider purchasing an international driving permit which the French authorities accept as a translation of your UK driving licence. For information on how to get an international driving permit, see above.

Voting

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

If you’re resident in France, you can vote in local municipal and European parliamentary elections.

Voting after the UK leaves the EU

Once the UK leaves the EU, UK nationals will no longer be eligible to vote in local and European elections.

The French Ministry of the Interior have a website to help UK nationals living and working in France which covers voting, or you can [read our non-official translation].

General Informative Notes on Name Change 9 Jan 2019 (PDF, 821KB, 5 pages)

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in France, you will need to register the birth abroad.

If someone dies in France you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services in France

You may also need:

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on:

Pets

When the UK leaves the EU, you will still be able to travel to and from the UK with a cat, dog or ferret but the rules will change. You can read guidance on pet travel to Europe after the UK leaves the EU.

While the UK is still an EU Member State you’ll be able to travel with your pet to the EU under the current pet travel rules using your current EU pet passport. If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you’ll have to visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on returning your cat, dog or ferret to the UK. For moving pet horses and other equines read guidance on exporting horses and ponies: special rules.

Emergencies

You can dial the European emergency number 112 in France, or dial:

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

Find the full list of emergency number in France.

If you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault, you can find guidance on rape and sexual assault in France.

If you’re the victim of a crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact the British embassy in Paris.

Returning to the UK

You should tell the French and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

You should read our guidance on:

You should tell your local French tax office (in French) that you are changing address and the date you will leave.

If you get a UK State Pension, you must tell the International Pension Centre. If you get a French pension, contact your pension provider.

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.

Read our guidance on bringing your pet to the UK and importing vehicles to the UK.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the French authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 10 June 2013
Last updated 10 April 2019 + show all updates
  1. EU Exit update: updated information on EU Exit in healthcare, visas and residency, driving and working sections
  2. We have updated the "Residency and Visas" section of this guide, including our translation of the French government's website, as well as the "Driving in France" section.
  3. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.
  4. We have announced new citizens outreach meetings in Poitiers (13/03), Paris (18/03) and Marseille (19/03).
  5. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip
  6. EU Exit update: Revised the following sections of the Living in Guide: visas and residency, healthcare, money and tax, pensions and driving in France.
  7. EU Exit update - Updated information on access to healthcare
  8. EU exit update - updated information on pensions and driving
  9. Attached new informative note on name change
  10. The French Ministry of Interior has recently launched a new website, brexit.gouv.fr. We have now translated three sections of their guidance into English on residency, UK driving licenses and elections.
  11. We have added a new unofficial translation of the "elections" section of the French authorities's new website, Brexit.gouv.fr.
  12. We have updated the section on "registration in France" to reflect the Ministry of Interior's latest advice and to provide you with a link to the recent website on Brexit published by the French authorities. We are also providing you with a non-official translation of their guidance.
  13. EU exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in pet section.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Added in information about French registration
  18. Additional information on visas and requirements, including on applying for "carte de séjour."
  19. Updated June 2018
  20. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  21. Added information re: French law requiring the carrying of ID at all times in France.
  22. Added: support and guidance for British nationals experiencing mental illness in France
  23. Added two new paragraphs re: Travel Advice and Lost Property.
  24. Information added on changes to EHIC rules and health cover for early retirees.
  25. Information added for Britons living in France on how to register to vote in the French municipal and European elections.
  26. Life certificates information for UK state pension updated
  27. First published.