Confused about S1 - Any thoughts please

Last summer we moved into a gite owned by my wife’s brother whilst we searched for our new home. We completed thw sale of our UK house on June 21, allowing us to proceed with a compromis when we found our new home.

Having sold our house I updated many addresses, including HMRC to our address in France.

We made an offer, then completed and moved in to our new home on December 21, 2017.

In January I filled in an applicatin for an S1, which was promptly rejected. The rejectin was on the grounds that I am no longer subject to UK social security legislation.

At the moment we are living on savings ( nice redundancy cheque last year after 18 years). I am not registered for income tax in France, I assume that I need to obtain and complete a tax retunr for 2017 in May this year.

Not sure what I am now supposed to do about health cover, seems my only resort now is to pay for a fully private policy?

Martin - are either of you in receipt of a UK State Pension or actively working / paying income tax & NI in the UK?


This link explains who is eligible for an S1

I presume your brother in law is not a French resident and can’t help or is over state retirement age with an S1. It’s worth reading this

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If you’re not eligible for an S1, your options are to apply to join the French healthcare system (PUMA), or failing that then as you say it will have to be private healthcare. If you’re accepted for PUMA you will potentially be charged contributions based on income, but If you don’t currently have a stable source of income, you may not be accepted.

Hummmm - I think the easiest thing would be for Martin to provide more info so that any replies can be ‘tailored’ to his needs :wink:

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I am 54.
My brother in law is over state retirementage and has an S1. Not sure if that is relevant though? I do not live in his property, I stayed there from June until December 2017.

I am anticipating taking my pension in August when I hit 55. I may use QROPS to move my pension out of the UK then into an Assurance Vie. I have not mad any statment to HMRC on that subject yet.

My wife is still employed in the UK and paying tax and NI. She received a letter saying she had to ask the French authorities to decide whether HMRC should issue S1.

Not trying to hde anything, if there is smething that you think I have not said do please ask, I cannot guess what is relevant :slight_smile:

Your brother in law being older is relevant to what I was asking because it means that his experience is irrelevant to you. If your wife is working in the U.K. a worker’s S1 is a real possibility. If not it’s worth getting professional advice about when it’s best to access your pension. I was a year older than you and able to receive my ‘private’ pension at 55 with no loss compared to receiving it at 60. It was a special situation. With that pension income I was able to join the French health system under PUMA. By the way, if HMRC have sent you a letter telling you you are not eligible for an S1 keep it, you will need to show it if you go down the PUMA route. I know other people who have joined PUMA without having an income, just sufficient capital. There is some calculation they do to convert savings into perceived income.


Hi Martin

Thanks for extra info… as Simon suggested. Already David has been able to give good advice… (particularly about guarding every document/letter just in case).

and… it will be interesting to find out how the S1 saga turns out, since your wife is still paying into the UK system and you are her “dependent”.

I’m sure other folk will chime in with their support and ideas…


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Yep - agreed David, agreed Stella. To recap Martin :

  1. As your wife is employed (i.e. physically present to perform her duties ?) in the UK and paying UK Tax & NI - she is entitled to a workers S1, and you by default as a dependant. Not sure what you told HMRC in the first place but you need to go back to them.

  2. If (?!) you can’t get the S1 then, as has been said before, you may be able to join the French health system via PUMA (income dependent) either on a contributory or non-contributory basis. Failing that, it’s the private healthcare route.

  3. ‘Technically’ you became French resident last Summer so, yes, your first tax return will be due this May / June. You need to ask your local tax office for your initial declarations.

Best of luck :slight_smile:

I have a dependant’s S1 since I am not of an age to get my own. You used to be able to get one pre-state retirement age based on your NI record, but that no longer exists.

When my OH received his S1 he got a letter from HMRC saying that it was the french authorities who had to decide whether I was eligible to get one also. Which they duly did (basically just stamping a piece of paper and sending it back) and I then received mine. But might this be the letter you refer to your wife having received? If so you ‘just’ have to get this processed.

I say ‘just’ as that could be circuitous. I was already in the French health system as my OH’s dependent under the previous ayant droit system. But this no longer exists. So somehow you have to get the french health authorities to tell DWP in the UK to issue an S1 for someone who is yet to be part of health system. I’m sure it is possible, but could just be frustrating to achieve - it will be a good introduction to french administration!

(Or since you’ve been here for over 3 months you could start the process to get into the health system based on your capital income in parallel with pushing to get S1 - but they might ask how your health has been covered up until now)

Meanwhile, if you need any health services, keep your feuille de soins and eventually 70% will be repaid. Many french people have a mutuellle for the other costs, but our experience was that you can’t sign up to a mutuelle until you have a social security number and are in the health system.

I don’t understand why HMRC want the French to decide whether they should issue an S1. You have the right to one as a dependant of a UK worker. Your wife needs to apply for one for you from HMRC - it’s not something you can do yourself.

Why would you move your pension into a QROPS scheme? There is no need if you are 55 next year as you can access your full fund anyway. If you withdraw the full fund as a tax resident of France you don’t pay tax in the UK but in France. You would pay 7.5% tax on it after a 10% allowance (on your lump sum if you only withdraw the usual 25% and on the lot if you take it all at once) and if you didn’t have an S1 but were in PUMa, you would also pay 7.4% social charges, so getting that S1 is critical to the costs of getting your pension fund out too (you can move it into an assurance vie that holds funds in sterling if you don’t want to transfer it into euros at the current poor rate).

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There are various ways you can treat your pension fund and this article goes into them pretty well

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I don’t understand that either, I think there is some confusion there. If the lady is physically working in the UK but the family home is in another EU state, she’s entitled to an S1. If she’s “employed” by a UK company but working remotely in France then she isn’t. However it is up to HMRC to study the facts and make the decision. France only becomes involved if an S1 is issued, at which stage they process it and enter it on their system .

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She wouldn’t have an S1 herself if she’s still living in the UK but she can apply for one for her husband if he’s living in France (dependant of a UK worker who isn’t working in France).

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It does for dependants of S1 holders (ayant droit / bénéficiaire).

Martin, there is also a distinction between those employed in the U.K. and those working in the UK that could open another can of worms.

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Yes of course there is the dependency system for S1 holders and their beneficiaries, since this is the subject of the whole thread!

I was referring to the ability to enter the health system pre-PUMA as an ayant-droit. If Martin wants to enter before the S1 appears then he has to do so in his own right now.

See my post, I think this is possibly exactly the same as in our case when France had to certify to the DWP in the UK that I should be my OH’s beneficiary.