Guidance

Living in France

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

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens about 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 obtain 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 were living in France since before 1 January 2021. These are indicated with sub-headings.

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

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.

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

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for France and read the French government’s guidance on moving to France.

Different rules may apply if you are moving to France to join a family member with a European nationality or non-European nationality already settled in France.

If you were living in France before 1 January 2021

The deadline for applying 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 »’, was 30 June 2021. The online application portal closed on 4 October 2021. Your rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, pending a decision on your application.

You must be in possession of your WARP before 1 January 2022. Read more about the residence permit you need.

If you have applied for a WARP but have not yet received it, you must keep your certificate of application (from your initial email confirmation) and continue the process.

If you have not had a response to your WARP application, check your email and spam folder, and contact your prefecture. You should also email the Interior Ministry: contact-demandeenligne-brexit-dgef@interieur.gouv.fr . Respond promptly to requests, to help prefectures process your application quickly.

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

If you have not yet applied, you can still apply for your WARP at your local prefecture if you have reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. You will need to provide evidence of why your application is late. Children must apply at their prefecture when they turn 18 years old.

You must renew your WARP when it expires. Check your prefecture’s website to find out the process for renewing your WARP locally.

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. Read the French consulate’s guidance on family members joining a British national.

You should also:

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

Region of France Website
Brittany, Normandy, Paris and Île–de-France, Hauts-de-France, Pays de la Loire International Organization for Migration’s guidance on residency in France
Dordogne, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Franco-British Network’s guidance on residency in France
D’Occitanie, Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Centre Val de Loire, Corsica, Grand Est, Nouvelle Aquitaine (not including Dordogne) Church of England’s Diocese in Europe’s guidance on residency in France

Passports and travel

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

Check the travel advice for France for passport validity requirements.

Always carry your passport when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have citizenship of an EU/EFTA country, in addition to your British citizenship, you should enter and leave France using your EU / EFTA passport.

If you stay in France with a residence permit or long stay visa, this 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. 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, especially within the Schengen area, carry your residence document 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, carry 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..

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement you do not need any extra months on your passport to enter or exit EU countries.

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 accessing healthcare in France and make sure you are correctly registered for your circumstances.

Read the French government guidance on:

You should also read our guidance on:

If you plan to travel in other European countries, read our general guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe and advice on foreign travel insurance.

Working in France

If you are planning to move to France and work there, 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.

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

Read:

If you were living in France before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work if you applied for a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (WARP). From 1 October 2021 you must hold a new 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 recognition decision. Seek advice from the regulator if needed.

Studying in France

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

Contact the relevant higher education provider in France to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read our guidance on:

For more information read the guidance on studying in the European Union.

If you were living in France before 1 January 2021

The studying in the European Union includes specific information for those who were already living in France before 1 January 2021.

Money, tax and banking

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.

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

Read the guidance about:

National Insurance

Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in France.

Declaring your assets

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

UK 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 guidance on banking, insurance and financial services changes for more information on cross-border banking.

Pensions

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

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

Read our 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 changes 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.

Benefits

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

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

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.

You can request proof from HMRC of the time you’ve worked in the UK and of your UK National Insurance record.

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).

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on:

Driving in France

This guidance for UK licences also applies to licences from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

You cannot renew or replace your UK licence if you are resident overseas.

If you live in France and need an International Driving Permit (IDP), in addition to your UK licence to drive in another country, apply for one with the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS).

More information on how to apply is on the Interior Ministry website (in French).

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

If you are visiting France, and have a valid UK  licence, you do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP). 

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 driving licence was first issued before 1 January 2021

Your UK 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 UK 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 UK licence, apply online with the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS).

If your UK driving licence was first issued on or after 1 January 2021

Your UK 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 UK licence for a French licence during this first year. You do not need to take a driving test.

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

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

Proof of driving entitlements

To exchange your driving licence you need to provide proof of your driving entitlements to the French authorities.

If your licence issued was issued in Great Britain (England, Wales or Scotland), you should create a licence check code online, then access the service again using the check code you generated to download your licence summary.

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.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to France

Read:

Driving in the UK with a French licence

You can use your French licence in the UK for short visits, or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test.

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, marriages and civil partnerships

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

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 have a pet passport issued by France or another EU member state, you can use it to travel with your pet to Great Britain and elsewhere in the EU.

A GB-issued EU pet passport is not valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland. You should speak to your vet before you travel to get the necessary pet travel documents and ensure you’re compliant with the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Read guidance on:

Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.

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

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 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.

Useful information

Support for British Nationals abroad: a Guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) can support you if you get into difficulty.

Published 10 June 2013
Last updated 16 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

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

  6. 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.

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

  8. Driving section: update on driving licence arrangements

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

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

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

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

  15. 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.

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

  17. 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.

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

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

  23. 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.

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

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

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

  27. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  34. Attached new informative note on name change

  35. 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.

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

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. Added in information about French registration

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

  44. Updated June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

  51. Life certificates information for UK state pension updated

  52. First published.