British citizen wishing to escape to France

Hello, I stumbled across this forum sight while researching how to move to France post- Brexit and having joined the site. I have been scrolling through lots of feeds which has been very informative.
I am looking to move to France the summer of 2021, once we know what Brexit looks like and the beaurocracy that it has undoubtedly caused has settled a little. I would hopefully be self-funding rather than needing a job but would like to know where to find what the financial requirements can be found, also the minimum length of stay required in France every year to qualify for residency and then citizenship. I would need to return to England to visit my father who will then be 90 and also be able to look after him should he need support due to age related conditions, mind you he is more sprightly than I feel sometimes.
Can you find work after you have been living in France? I’m a history teacher, my degree was art history so finding work, even as a volunteer in the heritage sector would be wonderful.
Many thanks

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Hi and welcome to the forum :+1:
If you move in summer 2021 you will need to apply for a visa.
Unless special arrangements are agreed between the UK and France, Brits will have the same visa options that are currently available to 3rd country citizens. The conditions do change fairly frequently so the information that is current now, might be slightly different in 18 months’ time.
I’m no expert but I can answer a couple of your points:

If you come to France on the basis of being a self-supporting retiree, it doesn’t give you the right to work in France. I believe you actually have to write and sign a statement confirming that you won’t attempt to find work here. But you may still be able to get involved as a volunteer, I don’t know about that but I don’t see why not as long as you’re not paid in any form.

EU citizens qualify for residency by living here. Non EU citizens apply for visas. It’s a different process. A visa and the associated CdS gives you the right to live in France, and it’s up to you whether or not you choose to take advantage of that right, and how long you spend here. However, if it’s a condition of your visa that you go through OFII’s integration process ie attend language and integration courses, you need to do that in order to get your CdS.

The criteria for citizenship call for a deeper level of integration than residence. It’s not a box ticking exercise, they look at the overall picture. At one end of the scale, if a person gets all their income from non-French sources, has close family ties in another country and is out of France as much as they are in it, realistically they are unlikely to be given French citizenship. At the other end of the scale, if they live and work in France and have family here and speak good French, they are unlikely to be turned down. So it depends whereabouts on the scale you fit.

For information on the various categories of visa de long séjour

As long as you have a decent pension you shouldn’t have a problem, they need to be sure you have enough to live on but for retirees it’s not too exclusive.

You need to apply at the British consulate and I don’t suppose they’ll be set up to process applications until the Brexit dust has settled.

Good luck.

Hello, your post raises a number of questions: do you speak French?
If you want to work, as a newly arrived non-EU citizen, it may be complicated for a variety of reasons.

You could get a job teaching if your French is up to it: the Education Nationale recruits people with a Master’s degree and then there is a two-stage competitive exam (they take the top however many).

You will not be able to teach history as a standalone though, it is coupled with geography here and you need to have degrees giving equal weight to both. Sorry just noticed Art History degree: you can’t teach history here (but you can teach history of art in HE)

‘Getting a job in the heritage sector’ is quite a specific thing and difficult to get into here, you generally need to have done the Ecole du Louvre or the Ecole des Chartes, for instance. Did you specialise in French history?

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An afterthought - you don’t actually say you will be retired.
Anecdotally, it’s easier to get a visa on the basis of being self supporting once you are retired, because French immigration is always suspicious that people of working age will be tempted to work on the black (ie unregistered and without a work permit) once they’re here. But I guess it depends what sources of income you have and what you give as your motivation for wanting to live in France., these are the two factors they will be looking at. (Hint: you probably need to come up with a better motivation than “to escape from the UK”!)

Thank you for the replies so far. I would be 55 by the end of 2021 and I already receive a pension through my late husband and rent properties out in the UK so I am of independent means, I teach because I can. I will still have family in the UK, my daughter whose degree is in French will be in her NQT year as a primary teacher and my son is in the merchant navy. My children are Irish citizens through their paternal gran so they will be able to come to France without a problem to visit. My current husband is also Irish through his dad and would be commuting back to the UK regularly for work but my plan is persuade him to retire to France, sooner rather than later.
I only ask about work because it is a good way to use and extend my language which is very rusty at the moment but I am attending courses to improve and develop so I can live in France and join in with community events and also to be a positive contributor to society. I prefer to be busy.
Any further information or experiences would be appreciated but as you can see I am only in the early stages of planning and when I reach the formal application process I will definitely use a better reason than ‘Escape to France’ :slight_smile:

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See other threads on this.
As the wife of an EU citizen, you would automatically be entitled to a CdS if your hubbie was legally resident in France - and if you go that route, you would have the right to work. (And you wouldn’t have to compose a convincing motivation either.)

Is there no way that you can make the move before the end of the Transition Period? It really would prove to be far more straightforward.

There in lies the crux, he would still want to work in the UK and his employer wouldn’t let him be based in France. I’m not sure if commuting at weekends would constitute resident in France.
Thank you for that information though, it is very useful and will require further research and persuasion.

No, if he’s on a UK contract then any attempt to claim to be resident in France would open a can of worms that needs to be kept well sealed.

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“my current husband”…
I was called a lot of things when I was married, but never “current” :smile:


I’m afraid not, I need to see my daughter settled in a teaching position in the UK and ensure she is happy, she suffered from severe anxiety and depression when living in France (Montpellier), which bizarrely helped enormously with her language acquisition. She is mostly recovered now but I don’t want to just cut and run for my own selfish reasons.
I honestly thought Brexit would never happen, I also think waiting to see if we do get some sort of deal which allows freedom of movement is worthwhile and I can relocate to France under those terms, I may be panicking unnecessarily. (Fingers crossed)

But he has an EU passport, it’s you who faces the problems. If you moved sooner rather than later and became resident your husband could make the move whenever he wanted. I knew several couples who had one of them working outside of France while the other lived in the family home there.

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Let’s just say it reminds him that nothing is necessarily permanent :joy:


I feel strangely re-assured :smile:

Honestly I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for retirees and people who are self supporting and have a good reason for wanting to live in France.
The greatest loss is for Brits who wanted to work here. Freedom of Movement was originally about workers, then it was extended to other categories. It’ll also be a great shame if students lose the right to study of course, but to me, losing overnight the automatic right to work is the greatest blow of all because for them, in many cases it’s the difference between being able to make the move or not. It adds lots of hoops to jump through that for many people will prove impossible.

Yes I know. I don’t want to rush into something because Britain turned resolutely blue in December, I have some other considerations which stop me, my daughter who is going to train as a primary teacher and my dad who is nearly 90 and I am his only child of any use! I need to make sure that I have all the ducks in a row so I can make the move with a clear head and conscience.


Yes, I agree, a total mess and disaster on many levels.

When we were in France my wife’s family in the U.K. were far more accessible than many of our friends who lived elsewhere in the same country.
We have spent months trying to decide how much we really want to pursue our longtime dream to settle in Europe and have come to realise that it will be a lot more straightforward if we do so while my wife still has the rights that go with her UK passport.

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Yes I am looking at the Pas de Calais region or around Lille for easy access to the Eurostar or the ferry ports, so my husband can get back and forth easily, it would actually be quicker for him to get to London than from where we live now near Peterborough. My dad is near Portsmouth so he would also be fairly accessible. It can take me 5 hours to get to my dad by train or car.

I went backwards and forwards between france and UK while my mother was still alive but frail. It was exhausting and stressful, for me, for my mother and for my husband (who was resident France, while I stayed resident in the UK). I wouldn’t recommend it as an option if there are other ways forward.