Guidance

Living in France

Official information for UK nationals moving to and living in France need to know, including guidance on residency, healthcare, driving and the Withdrawal Agreement.

What you should do

You should:

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the French Government and your local authority. You can also read our France travel advice for our latest guidance.

Stay up to date

You should:

Attend a citizen outreach meeting

The British Embassy regularly holds events across France for UK nationals. Attend one of our citizen outreach meetings to keep up to date on working and living in France.

You can also:

The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.

If you are resident in France at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in France.

Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. Read this guidance page for more information.

We will update this guidance as soon as more information becomes available.

You should also read our guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for France.

Residency

If you are resident in France before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, you will be able to stay.

All UK nationals resident in France will need to obtain a new residence permit in line with the Withdrawal Agreement. This includes:

  • UK nationals with a European carte de séjour (even if it is marked “permanent”, or has no expiry date)
  • UK nationals without a European carte de séjour (it is currently optional to have one)
  • UK nationals applying for a second nationality
  • UK nationals married to or PACSed to (in a civil partnership with) EU nationals
  • UK nationals recently arriving or well established in France

You will need to apply using the updated online residency portal, which will open from the start of July 2020. You must apply before 1 July 2021.

If you applied for residency on the previous ‘no–deal’ portal, you will not need to re-apply using the new one. Your application will be processed by the appropriate Préfecture before the deadline.

Read the French government’s guidance for UK nationals (in English), most recent announcement (in English), and the French Interior Ministry’s website on how to secure your residency rights (in French).

Passports and travel

The rules on travel will stay the same until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from France.

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

We will update these pages with details of any changes to the rules as soon as information is available. You should sign up for updates to this guidance.

Read the French government’s guidance on travel.

Healthcare

There will be no changes to your healthcare access before 31 December 2020. You can also continue to use your EHIC, as you did before, during this time.

You must register for healthcare as a resident in France, and in addition, you can sign up for top-up health insurance (mutuelle).

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.

If you have been resident in France for more than 3 months you can apply to be covered by the French healthcare system (PUMA).

Read our guidance on who can access healthcare in France and how to register.

Read the guidance on how to register for healthcare if you are a student.

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 apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are resident in France, you must not use an EHIC from the UK for healthcare in France.

When you travel from France for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay:

If you’re living in France or move there permanently before 31 December 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in France as you do now, provided you remain resident.

You should also read guidance on:

Working and studying in France

If you are resident in France on or before 31 December 2020, you will maintain your right to work, as long as you remain resident in France.

Read the French government’s guidance on working in France and our guidance on working in an EU country.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a:

Studying in France

If you are resident in France on or before 31 December 2020, your right to study in France will stay the same, as long as you remain resident. You will maintain equal access to education, including higher education, on the same terms as domestic students.

University tuition fees for UK nationals coming to France to study from 1 January 2021 may be higher due to the French government’s reforms to public university tuition fees.

Increased fees will not apply to:

  • UK students already enrolled on a course of study when the reforms were announced (September 2019) for the duration of that course
  • UK students starting a course during the transition period, for the duration of that course

Check with your grant provider for any continued eligibility for student support (in French) and read the Campus France guidance on tuition fee reforms. (in English)

Money and tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with France to ensure you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in France have not changed.

Read the guidance about:

You should 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

Find out if you can pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU or EEA and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

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 31 January 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming the UK State Pension in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.

If you are living in France by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.

If 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 31 December 2020.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Benefits

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

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

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

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

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) (in French) if you need help applying, request an appointment with the social worker at your local town hall (mairie).

Benefits after 31 January 2020

There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If 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 31 December 2020.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.

Driving in France

Driving licence rules will remain unchanged until 31 December 2020.

To exchange your UK licence for a French one, you can apply to the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés using their online platform (in French). You must be able to prove that you have been living in France for 185 days.

You must apply to exchange your UK or other EU licence for a French one in the following cases:

  • it needs to be amended to include a/several new driving categories
  • it needs to be exchanged because you committed a driving offence under the French Highway Code resulting in penalty points or a driving ban

If you are in the process of exchanging your UK licence for a French licence, do not try to renew in parallel with DVLA because this will invalidate your application. Applications in the UK with a French address cannot be processed.

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

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to France

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

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).

Voting

You cannot vote in elections in France or European Parliament elections.

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

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

Current pet travel rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on bringing your pet to the UK.

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

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

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

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you’ll be able to access NHS care without charge.

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 1 April 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated information on education and university tuition fees in the working and studying section and new information on how to exchange a UK driving licence.

  2. New information on the online portal to register your residency which opens in July 2020.

  3. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  4. Brexit update: changes in residency section on new online portal for residence permit applications; in travel section on the grace period; and on driving licences.

  5. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  6. Brexit update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.

  7. EU Exit update: updated information on EU Exit in healthcare, visas and residency, driving and working sections

  8. 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.

  9. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  10. We have announced new citizens outreach meetings in Poitiers (13/03), Paris (18/03) and Marseille (19/03).

  11. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip

  12. EU Exit update: Revised the following sections of the Living in Guide: visas and residency, healthcare, money and tax, pensions and driving in France.

  13. EU Exit update - Updated information on access to healthcare

  14. EU exit update - updated information on pensions and driving

  15. Attached new informative note on name change

  16. 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.

  17. We have added a new unofficial translation of the "elections" section of the French authorities's new website, Brexit.gouv.fr.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. Added in information about French registration

  24. Additional information on visas and requirements, including on applying for "carte de séjour."

  25. Updated June 2018

  26. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  27. Added information re: French law requiring the carrying of ID at all times in France.

  28. Added: support and guidance for British nationals experiencing mental illness in France

  29. Added two new paragraphs re: Travel Advice and Lost Property.

  30. Information added on changes to EHIC rules and health cover for early retirees.

  31. Information added for Britons living in France on how to register to vote in the French municipal and European elections.

  32. Life certificates information for UK state pension updated

  33. First published.