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Starting your journey to live in a new country is an incredible adventure that brings many opportunities. The appeal of a fresh start, vibrant cultures, warmer climates, a different pace of life and diverse landscapes encourages many Brits to pack their belongings and explore life in Europe. However, in a post-Brexit world, the dynamics of moving from the UK to Europe have shifted.
Among the range of European destinations, four countries are particularly enticing for Brits: France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands. In this blog, we’ll explore the main things you need to know about moving to the first of these destinations, France, and how this may differ from what you previously know in a post-Brexit landscape.
British citizens typically do not need a visa for visits to France lasting up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This includes tourism, business meetings, and family visits. However, you should check entry requirements before travelling to be sure. All visas must be applied for before you leave the UK at the nearest French Embassy or French Consulate.
If you plan to live in France for over 90 days in 180 days, you must apply for a long-stay visa and/or a residence permit. The specific type of visa and permit you need will depend on your circumstances:
1. Visa de Long Séjour (VLS-TS): This long-stay visa allows you to enter France and apply for a residence permit once you arrive there.
2. Residence Permit: After entering France with a VLS-TS visa, you must apply for a residence permit, which corresponds to your situation. The types of residence permits include:
– Talent Passport for highly skilled workers.
– Visitor Residence Permit for retirees and financially self-sufficient individuals.
– Family Reunion Residence Permit for family members of French residents.
– Student Residence Permit for those pursuing education in France.
3. Work and Employment: If you plan to work in France or are being relocated, you may need a work permit or a specific type of residence permit tied to employment. Your employer in France will also need to sponsor your work visa application. There are many types of Work Visas to choose from when moving to France as a Brit:
– Employee Visa: If you have a job offer from a French employer.
– Entrepreneur Visa: If you plan to start your own business in France.
– Scientific Research Visa: If you are a researcher or scientist.
– Talent Passport Visa: For highly skilled professionals.
– Seasonal Worker Visa: For seasonal employment, such as in agriculture or tourism.
UK citizens moving to France can no longer access the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for healthcare coverage. Instead, they will need to secure health insurance coverage.
France has a universal healthcare system called ‘La Sécurité Sociale.’ To access healthcare services, you must register with the French social security system and obtain a ‘carte vitale’ (health insurance card).
It is a good idea to have private health insurance in addition to the French social security system. Private insurance can help cover additional healthcare costs and services such as Dental work or specialist care.
To access the French healthcare system, you need to have a valid residence permit in France.
Some residence permits may also have waiting periods before you become eligible for French healthcare benefits. During this time, you will need to rely on private insurance.
Depending on your income, contributions to the French healthcare system can vary. You may be required to pay specific fees or co-payments for medical services. Prescription medications in France are typically partially reimbursed by the healthcare system. The amount of reimbursement depends on the medication and your insurance coverage.
Everyone in France is provided with emergency services and care, regardless of whether your French public healthcare or private insurance is valid.
If you are a British citizen with a UK driving license, you can still use it to drive in France for up to 1 year after becoming a resident. However, you may need to exchange your UK license for a French one after one year.
To exchange your UK driving license for a French one, you must visit your local French préfecture (government office) or equivalent and follow their specific process.
You may be required to provide various documents, including proof of residence, a valid UK driving license, and passport photos.
Depending on your situation, you might also need to take a driving or a theory test. The requirements can vary depending on your license type and how long you’ve been driving.
If you hold a full and valid UK driving license, you may not need to take a driving test in France. However, if you have a provisional license or have not held a license for a certain period, you may be required to pass a driving test.
In some cases, obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in France may be necessary. The type of IDP required can vary, so check with the French authorities and the UK government’s official website for the latest information.
Ensure you have valid car insurance that covers you for driving in France. Contact your insurance provider to update your policy if necessary.
If you plan to ship your UK-registered vehicle to France, you may need to re-register it in France and obtain French license plates. This process involves paying various taxes and fees.
Familiarise yourself with French road rules and regulations, including speed limits, parking rules, and any specific requirements for winter.
Make sure your vehicle has the required safety equipment, including reflective vests, warning triangles, and breathalyser kits. These are a legal requirement.
If you’re ready to move to France, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team today. We are available to discuss services such as European Removals and Vehicle Shipping to make your transition as smooth as possible.