Guidance

Living in France

Information for British citizens moving to or living in France, including guidance on residency, healthcare and driving.

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens moving to or living in France. Read about how our consulates in Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille can help.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the French authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.

To stay up to date:

If you were living in France before 1 January 2021

Some parts of this guide only apply if you have been living in France since before 1 January 2021. You should read these in addition to the rest of the guidance in each section.

You should also read our Living in Europe page for detailed guidance about citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Coronavirus

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

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in France, read coronavirus travel advice.

Visas and residency

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

Check the entry requirements for France and read the French government’s:

Visas and residency if you were living in France before 1 January 2021

If you applied for your Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WARP), known in French as a ‘carte/titre de séjour « accord de retrait du Royaume-Uni de l’Union Européenne »’, by 4 October 2021, your rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, pending a decision on your application.

Children do not require a WARP, but must apply at their prefecture when they turn 18 years old. The WARP is issued free of charge. Contact your prefecture if your child is under 18 and has been asked to present a WARP for work purposes or for other reasons.

If you have applied for a WARP but have not yet had your appointment or received your card, you must keep your certificate of application (from your initial email confirmation) and contact your prefecture. You can also email the Interior Ministry: contact-brexit@interieur.gouv.fr. Keep copies of any correspondence.

Continue to check your email and spam folder, and respond promptly to requests to help prefectures finalise your application quickly.

Late applications

If you have not yet applied, you can still apply for your WARP if you have reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. You will need to provide evidence of why your application is late.

Replacement cards and renewals

If your situation changes (address, marital status, etc.) or you lose your card, you must report these changes and request a new WARP, free of charge, on the French Government portal.

If your commune has been renamed or restructured you do not need to report this change or request a new WARP.

If you change your name following marriage or civil partnership, your administrative documents will stay in your birth name (“nom de famille/naissance”). You can add your marital name as a “nom d’usage” if you want this to appear on your residence card in addition to your birth name.

You must also renew your WARP free of charge when it expires. Contact your prefecture to find out the process for renewing your WARP locally.

Appeal process

If your application is refused, you will be notified about the appeal process. Read the French government advice on how to appeal a residency decision(in French).

Family members

Your close family members continue to be able to join you and settle in France at any point in the future. Find more information on who this applies to on the Living in Europe page.

They must travel to France and then submit a WARP application to the local prefecture as your family member. Nationals of certain non-EU countries may need a visa before travel. Check the France visa wizard to see which nationalities require a visa. Family reunion visas are free of charge.

If you need further information on how to secure your residency, including contact details for prefectures, you may find the residency in France webpages from these organisations useful:

Special residence permits

If you or your dependant have a special residence permit (categories A, M and D, known in French as a “titre de séjour special”) that was issued by 31 December 2020, you may apply for a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit upon surrender of the special residence permit. There is no deadline to apply, but you cannot hold both permits at the same time.

Passports and travel

Coronavirus travel restrictions may affect travel to and from France.

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

Check the French Travel Advice for passport validity requirements.

Always carry your passport when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have citizenship of an EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country, in addition to your British citizenship, you should enter and leave France using your EU or EFTA passport.

If you stay in France with a French residence permit or long stay visa, this time does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area.

If you visit other Schengen area countries outside France, make sure you do not exceed the visa-free 90 days in any 180-day period. This applies even if you have a French residence permit. You are responsible for counting how long you stay under the Schengen visa waiver, and you must comply with its conditions.

Different rules apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

If you were living in France before 1 January 2021

When you travel, carry your carte/titre de séjour « accord de retrait du Royaume-Uni de l’Union Européenne » (the WARP) or frontier worker permit issued under the Withdrawal Agreement, in addition to your valid passport.

You must proactively show your residence document, or other evidence of residence status, if you are asked to show your passport at border control. If you have applied for, but not yet received, your WARP, show your certificate of application, which you should have received by email. If you cannot prove that you are a resident in France, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the EU.

Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in the country or countries where you live or work. If a passport is stamped, the stamp is considered null and void when you can show evidence of lawful residence. Read EU guidance for UK nationals on entering and leaving the Schengen area.

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit EU countries with a valid passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling.

Healthcare

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

Read our guidance on:

Travel insurance is not intended to cover healthcare costs if you live overseas.

Read the French government guidance on:

Read the guidance if you need to travel with medicines.

Working in France

If you are planning to move to France and work, you may need a visa. Read the French government’s guidance on working in France as a foreign national and how to get a visa (in French).

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

Read:

If you work in France, even if you work for a UK-based company, this may affect where you pay National Insurance-type contributions. Read the National insurance and social security contributions section for more information.

If you were living in France before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work under the Withdrawal Agreement if you have a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WARP) or have applied for one. You must have a WARP in order to work. Read the French government’s advice on Brexit and working in France.

If you live in France and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country before 1 January 2021, read our guidance for frontier workers.

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in France.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in France before 1 January 2021

If the relevant regulator in France officially recognised your professional qualification before 1 January 2021, or you started the recognition process by this date, make sure you understand the terms of your decision. You should get advice from the relevant regulator.

Studying in France

If you plan to study in France, you must meet all visa requirements before you travel.

Read the Campus France guidance to check what fees you may have to pay. Check with your grant provider for any eligibility for student support (in French).

Read guidance on:

If you were living in France before 1 January 2021

The studying in the European Union includes information if you were already living in France before 1 January 2021.

Tax

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

You should get professional advice on paying tax in France. Find an English-speaking lawyer in France.

Read the guidance about:

Declaring your assets

You must declare any assets (in French) held outside France, including bank accounts, securities, insurance, annuities and property. This declaration is separate to the annual tax return.

National insurance and social security contributions

National Insurance-type contributions(NIC) are called ‘social security contributions’ (SSC) in France. Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in France.

If you plan to move to France and work, even if you continue working for a UK-based company, you and your employer may need to pay social security contributions in France. These social security contributions would entitle you to certain benefits, such as healthcare, in France.

Read guidance on National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland.

You can check your UK National Insurance record.

Benefits

UK Benefits

Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in France

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

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

French Benefits

French unemployment benefit

For French unemployment benefits, you should:

French disability benefit

Contact the Maison Départementale des Personnes Handicapées (MDPH) (in French) to find out which, if any, disability allowance is most appropriate for you.

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).

Pensions

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in France.

Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you retire in France, you can claim:

Read the French government’s guidance on French social security including pensions.

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on pension and retirement for more information on cross-border pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible - Your payments may be suspended if you do not.

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

Money and banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA depends on local laws and regulation. Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on banking, insurance and financial services for more information on cross-border banking.

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on:

Driving in France

You cannot renew or replace your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in France. Read the guidance on what you must do to drive legally in France:

Exchanging your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence

If you live in France, the rules for exchanging your licence for a French one vary depending on when your licence was first issued. You do not need to take a driving test. You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead of exchanging your licence.

Check when your licence was first issued. If you have a photocard licence, check the earliest driving entitlement date on the back of your licence to see when it was first issued. All paper licences that did not come with a plastic photocard were issued before 1 January 2021.

If your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man driving licence was first issued before 1 January 2021

Your licence is recognised in France for as long as it is valid. Check the expiry date on the front of your plastic photocard licence. If you have not been issued with a plastic photocard, you can continue to use your paper licence for as long as it is valid. Paper licences are usually valid until you are 70 years old.

If your licence has expired, or has less than 6 months’ validity remaining, you must exchange it for a French licence. You do not need to take a driving test. When your application is accepted you will receive your ‘attestation de dépôt sécurisée’. You can use this document to drive in France until you receive your new licence.

You can only exchange your licence if it is due to expire within 6 months. If you do not have a valid reason to request an exchange, your application will be rejected.

If you need to exchange your licence, apply online with the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) (in French).

If your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man driving licence was first issued on or after 1 January 2021

Your licence is recognised for 1 year from the date of issue of your residency permit (carte de séjour). If you intend to stay in France for longer than 1 year, you must exchange your licence for a French licence during this first year. You do not need to take a driving test.

If you need to exchange your licence, apply online at the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) (in French).

Read the French government’s guidance on driving licences (in French).

Confirming your driving entitlements

To exchange your driving licence you need to provide proof of your driving entitlements to the French authorities. A certificate or letter of entitlement sets out which categories of vehicles you are entitled to drive.

If your licence was issued in Great Britain (England, Wales or Scotland), you should create a licence check code online, and provide this to the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) (in French) along with your application.

If your licence was issued in Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, contact the relevant issuing authority to request a letter or certificate of entitlement.

You should submit your licence summary/letter or certificate of entitlement using the online ANTS platform (in French).

Disabled drivers

If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in France, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. You can apply for a new French disabled parking card (in French) with your local Office for Disabled People (Maison Départementale pour les Personnes Handicapées).

Read the EU guidance on the EU parking card for people with disabilities (in French).

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to France

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

Driving outside France with a French licence

You can use your French licence when visiting the UK. Keep up-to-date with the UK Highway Code.

If you go to live in the UK, you can exchange your French licence for a UK one without taking a test.

To drive in another country, in addition to your French licence, you may need an IDP. Apply for one with the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) (in French). More information on how to apply for an IDP is on the Interior Ministry website (in French).

Read the EU guidance on: 

Voting

You cannot vote in France or in European Parliament elections.

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

Births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships

If your child is born in France, you can register the birth with the UK authorities in addition to registering locally. If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.

If someone dies in France read our guidance on:

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services in France

You may also need:

Pets

If you’re moving to France with your pet, read the guidance and ensure you comply with the regulations:

To visit other countries with your pet, check the rules for the country you’re travelling to. Contact your vet to get the travel documents your pet needs.

Read guidance on:

Emergencies

Dial the European emergency number 112 in France, or dial:

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

Dial the EU 116 000 hotline to report a missing child in the EU country where you live or in another EU country.

If you need guidance on child abduction, read the guidance on international parental child abduction, the French government guidance on child custody and the French government guidance on child abduction; the EU guidance on child abduction and the EU guidance on child abduction to another EU country.

If you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault in France, read the guidance on what to do and where to get support in cases of rape and sexual assault.

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

Returning to the UK

Check the COVID-19 travel guidance for entering the UK.

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 French pension, contact your pension provider.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

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

Your non-British family members wishing to return with you will require their own immigration status.

Useful information

Support for British nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the FCDO can support you if you get into difficulty.

Published 10 June 2013
Last updated 31 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Important information in the 'Working in France', and 'National insurance' sections if you work in France, even it if it is for an employer based in the UK. 'Visas and Residency' and 'Passport and travel' sections also updated.

  2. Guidance reviewed and updated, including on national insurance and social security section, and information for disabled drivers.

  3. Visas and residency section updated: the UK Nationals Support Fund service in France has closed. If you need further information on how to secure your residency, contact one of the support organisations listed.

  4. Visas and residency section updated: you must apply online for your Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WARP) by 4 October 2021 if you have not already done so. You must be in possession of your WARP by 1 January 2022.

  5. Visas and residency section updated: if you need support with your residency application, contact the relevant UK Nationals Support Fund organisation before 15 October 2021.

  6. Updated guidance on how to exchange a UK driving licence exchange for a French one.

  7. Re-added in a the bullet point on outreach meetings in the intro, since it was apparently accidentally deleted.

  8. Guidance reviewed for people who are moving or moved to France after 1 January 2021. Following the residency application deadline, it also includes sub-sections relevant to people living there since before 1 January 2021.

  9. Driving section updated: how to exchange a UK driving licence for a French one from 28 June onwards

  10. Driving section: update on driving licence arrangements

  11. Update to Visas and residency on registering and checking status of application; update to Driving in France about driving licences; update in Accommodation on importing personal belongings

  12. Additional support section updated with link to guidance on UK Nationals Support Fund, healthcare section updated including guidance on the S1 form and applying for EHIC and GHIC cards; working and studying section updated with link to Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on recognition of professional qualifications and link to DIT guidance on working or providing services in France.

  13. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines

  14. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on residency, pet travel and moving to France

  15. Passports and travel section updated on carrying proof of residence when travelling.

  16. UK Nationals Support Fund section updated with expanded geographical coverage for France.

  17. Healthcare section updated on how to apply for a new UK EHIC as a student or S1 holder. Working section updated with information on frontier workers.

  18. Visa and residency section updated with a new link to detailed guidance on how to apply for the new residency permit

  19. Visa and residency section updated on how to apply for the new residency permit. Also new details on the Church of England-Diocese in Europe, for people in Nouvelle Aquitaine who need support to secure their residency.

  20. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

  21. Visas and residency section updated to include the postponement of the residency application website, and information about how to access the UK National Support Fund for those who may find it harder to complete their residency applications.

  22. 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.

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

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

  25. 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.

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

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

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

  29. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  36. Attached new informative note on name change

  37. 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.

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

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. Added in information about French registration

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

  46. Updated June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

  53. Life certificates information for UK state pension updated

  54. First published.