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Selling a house and moving to France is not as straightforward as it used to be

Before Great Britain left the European Union moving to European Union countries was easy and straightforward.  As more and more of us are seeking solutions that gain us more space at home and finding working from home is a realistic option. Selling your house and moving to France is an appealing idea to many Brits seeking more outdoor space, a better standard of living and work from home solutions.

Having or gaining realistic work from home options mean that you can work from wherever you want, subject to the set out requirements for visiting the office.  Those fortunate enough to be in that position may be considering a quick house sale and hopping across the channel to gain more space inside and out.

Brits travelling to France and staying for up to ninety days in any one hundred and eighty day period:

Fortunately, when Great Britain left the European Union we joined the few residents of other countries including the USA, Australia and Japan who don’t need a French visa to stay in France.  Regular UK visitors to France will have to remember to now take the non-EU/EEA lane when arriving in France and show a valid passport and may be requested to show proof of health insurance, sufficient funds to support your stay and proof of accommodation booked.

Brits wishing to stay in France for longer than ninety days will need to acquire a ‘visa de long séjour or long stay visa:

The visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour (VLS-TS) is suitable for non residential stays of up to a year and there are different types of VLS-TS depending on the reason for your stay in France. You can gain more information from the French government website here:  This is a non-renewable permit that allows residence for the specified time of up to a year.

Those wishing to move to France after Brexit will need to apply for a residence permit carte de séjour.  You can apply for temporary residence or permanent residence.  You have to apply for a temporary residence initially and this can be renewed for up to five years.  If you begin your stay on a VLS-TS you will need to apply for a carte de séjour when the VLS-TS is due to expire.

To apply for permanent residence you will need to have already been living in France for five years continuously on the renewable carte de séjour.  You can then apply for a ten year renewable permanent residence permit called a carte de resident. You will need to meet certain criteria to obtain a carte de resident such as proof of sufficient French language skills and showing proof of integration into French society.

British citizens who work in France for up to ninety days will not require a visa but will need a work permit.  Your employer is responsible for requesting a work permit from the authorities in France regardless of whether you are working for a French or foreign company.

If you go to France to work for over ninety days, then you will need a long stay word visa.  There are different types depending on the type of work.  It is possible to a five year work visa for specific categories such as highly skilled workers, those who are starting a business in France and entrepreneurs.  The work visa application can be started at the French Embassy in London.

Selling your house and moving to France is therefore not without an element of risk, you will have to make a go of it in France and prove your ability to integrate.  Of course, if you have a successful online business, something that you can run from anywhere or plan to start a business in France then you should be okay.

Buying a property in France is fairly straightforward.  However, it usually proceeds without the appointment of a buyer’s solicitor.  Unless your French is very good you will need the assistance of a reliable person and to have a firm understanding of the process.

The land registration is good and secure, legal fees and taxes connected to the purchase are not high, but you may wish to ensure that they are included in your budget.  It is not unusual for the buyer to pay the estate agents fees, so again have this checked and find out how much it will be.

When you put your offer in writing make sure that the offer states everything that is a condition of the sale.

The vendor has to supply some survey reports, but they are not a full building survey so not something to take as conclusive, especially if you have any concerns. suggest that you look into signing the purchase contract in front of a notaire and that they prepare the contract. You can find more of their advice and details of the process here:

The above link includes all the necessary tips for buying property in France.  The tips include important information about buying as a couple or partnership and the things to ensure you include to protect all parties.

Selling Your House Before Moving to France

Those selling a house may benefit from the following websites offering advice for sellers:

The Home Owners Alliance selling a house information

The Money Saving Expert Website has information about selling your house here:

The government page about selling a house in the UK:

If you are selling in Scotland, check the website here:

For staging a property to sell, buying and selling information or when you want a quick house sale check our advice pages and quick house sale options here.


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