Living in France (Permit or not)

Hi All,
We have just completed the purchase of a cottage in Brittany.
Could someone please clarify: Can we stay there as long as we want and live off our savings without applying for any sort of permit.?

Yes, for the minute as you are a european. However if here full time you do have to register for income tax even if you don’t pay any.

However, post Brexit then NO. You will no longer be european and you will have to apply for a residence card to stay if you want to live here. And you will need to prove that you have an income at or above a set amount.

Or you can apply for a visa, bit will only be able to stay for 90 days in every 180.

All the information you need is here.

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When you say “live off our savings” is that live off interest generated from invested savings or live by spending capital previously saved.

If it the latter you might need to convert to the former - to legally live in France you need to be able to demonstrate income above a certain amount.

You also need to arrange for healthcare insurance.

In fact the regulations are not that different for EU and non-EU citizens if you do not need to work but France has been so relaxed about EU citizens that people forget that the rules regarding legal residence exist and apply to them.

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Thank you Jane,If i set up a business i guessi would still have to apply for a permit of some kind

If i set up a business i guess i would still have to apply for a permit of some kind. I would only be able to prove an income as the business developed.

Capital previously saved

Non EU citizens don’t have the automatic right to work in France, so post Brexit you can’t come to France and set up a business without a visa/work permit. It’s harder to get a work permit than it is to get a visa that allows you to live here without working as a retiree.
If you set up a business before Brexit, it’s almost certain that as long as you can demonstrate that as of the cut off date you were established here and running a “genuine and effective” business, you’ll qualify for a carte de séjour that gives you the right to work here. However, you would need to show that it’s a serious business with a healthy turnover, or the potential to grow, because a spare time/ low turnover would be classed as a hobby business, which doesn’t give you worker status.
Hope this helps.

Thanks Anna.Well here is the plan.We rent our cottage out in the summer months to generate an income an live in our caravan.Sounds plausible?

In that case you need to generate income.

Others are better placed to advise as I’m not resident in France but if you wish to set up a business I don’t think you need a permit as such but you will want to plug yourself into one of the available tax frameworks for small businesses, get a SIRET (or SIREN - still haven’t quite figured out the difference), insurance etc.

Out of interest what type of business? - knowing that might allow folk to give better advice.

You need to generate circa 800-1000€ per month income (annualised, as it is seasonal trade), is that plausible?

Not sure,But you indicate approx 12,000 a year,coupled with our savings.

Hmm. I’m not at all sure that a business that operates only in the summer months and has no business activity or turnover for the rest of the year, would do the trick. In fact I think that is pretty much the definition of a hobby/ancillary business.
When you apply for a carte de séjour, you need to give details of your business and they want to see that you’ve been paying social security cotisation all year round.
The income figure Paul mentions is profit not turnover. Bear in mind that only a percentage of your turnover is classed as income. To achieve an income of around 10k a year, your turnover would need to be around double that.

Paul, you don’t have to convert capital. The issue is that you must be able to show that you have an adequate income for at least 5 years, so the powers that be can accept that a healthy amount saved would provide that. But it would have to be very healthy.

Darren, look at the remain in france website as it explains clearly

I will ,But what sort of figure is HEALTHY…?

This article has some suggestions on that

That’s the catch - if you don’t have a solid income as set out in the official guidelines then it is at the discretion of the immigration authorities, and to some extent each case is assessed on its own merits. Also, préfectures vary in how strict they are - some préfectures will accept applications that others would reject.

Essentially they have to satisfy themselves that you will not become a burden on the French state, ie you can pay your way and will continue to do so in the future. The reason they prefer income to savings is that savings tend to run out, but a secure and sustainable income never does.

Thanks Graham,As i thought this would all become as clear as mud !

Welcome to Brexit.

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ummm Brexshit, surely! :joy:

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Hi Darren - Caravans are not accepted carte blanche - whether for Occupation of storage/parking.

You would need to check with your Mairie, to ensure that Living in your Caravan meets with all local legislation and (I suspect) it would need to link up to whatever waste-water facilities you have for the cottage.

so - important question - are you on Fosse or Mains Drainage?

Putting a caravan onto existing Fosse might ~“overload” said Fosse. Yet another thing to check-on.

Not being a wet blanket - I know a couple near Mussidan who did just what you are talking about. Over about 10 years it brought in much needed extra-income. However, it was not sufficient income on its own.