Official information British people moving to and living in France need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.
Brexit: 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 Brexit, 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.
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 Brexit. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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
If you’re resident in France, you can vote in the municipal and European elections – see registration on the electoral lists.
See travelling with pets.
As well as the European emergency number 112, France also has:
- 17 – police
- 18 – fire brigade
- 15 – medical
If you need urgent help, contact the British Embassy Paris.
Accommodation and buying property
Other useful information
- English-speaking lawyers in France
- English-speaking translators and interpreters in France
- Victims of rape and sexual assault in France: support and information
- Notary services for France
- The British community in France
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.
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.