Newbies - potential advice


Recently discovered this site - hoping there may be some constructive applicable advice.

Background - me (54 + a bit) NHS senior nurse, him (49) HGV distribution driver. Have been counting down to my magic 55 bday to take advantage of special status to fully retire with NHS pension.

Dreaming of a move to France for over 15 years - now we are at only 15 shifts to retirement!!

Have found the house (Cantal region) - offer accepted - all as anticipated -waiting for documents to be translated then sign as neccessary. No stresses here.

Plan for him to move in to house (Sept) on completion and start self build update and general refurb (nothing beyond basic DIY required) - i need to indefinitely travel between France and UK on monthly basis to offer support to lone parent with dementia & also whilst uk house sale finalised. No income other than my NHS pension until we hit uk pension age. (12 yrs - but expecting it to increase - cheers Boris)

Just want to make sure i have everything identified and plans in place!! Please let me know if theres stuff i have completely overlooked.

LTVV applications submitted and interviews next month - top up health insurance in hand, all financials available (house purchase 150% covered by pension lump sum - uk house sale proceeds will be sat in savings account) french bank account open with cards and cheque book in possession
Currency exchange package all set up and has worked well with first few transactions.

Will be moving with hybrid PHEV car - all conformity docs ready to register within first month. EV plug installation in rural property being looked into by our fabulous agent!

House - dog - car - health insurance quotes all currently under consideration but will be active before pets cars and people cross the channel!

Basic french - albeit a bit dodgy with my broad northern accent and his southern one!! Duolingo in hand😊

Nil intention for either of us to make an income in France - pension and occassional dip into savings for frivolous splurges should be more than adequate.

Long term plan is to apply for carte vitale within next 3 years and sort paying all taxes into french system etc once apply for EU citizenship - depending on status of parent with dementia

Im a bit of a ‘devil is in the detail’ kinda person - so am more than happy to accept any advice / potential issues that you good people have already encountered.

Please - be gentle!!
Im aware that dreams often are nightmares in a fuzzy filter - i am certainly a realist!!!


Hi Debyweir, welcome to the forum.

Good luck with the big move.

Wouldn’t it be handy if hubby worked in some capacity (driving ?) even part time until the pensions roll in ?

France is becoming expensive too.

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I would just like to say that as an NHS nurse and a key worker you so deserve to enjoy your retirements.

Your plan sounds good to me apart from this sentence which I cannot seem to understand

I believe you can if you wish apply to join the French health system after 3 months although of course you do not have to. You can put in an applications for French citizenship after 5 years. But, you become liable for French taxes starting on the day you arrive in France if you intend to stay long term. Eg if you move on 1 July, then in April 2023 you will complete a French tax form declaring your worldwide income between 1 July and 31 December 2022.

I do not think the LTVV visa gives the right to work in France.

Don’t know about that, have the operating rules changed since Brexit ?

Thanks - intention is to retire completely- and all projections show we can afford to do so if we are not extravagant! (Did i mention short arms / deep pockets attitude??)
Sorry - getting muddled with explaining plans for carte vitale/residency. Not going to apply for full residency until i can also move to France full time, assume it will be easier to do together as couple. Not sure if he can apply for carte vitale whilst on LTVV?
I will obviously submit a tax return next year - but as my pension will be taxed at source in UK i am not expecting to have any nasty suprises there.

Hi Debyweir and welcome to SF

You will still need to complete a French Tax return as @Sandcastle mentions which will include all your world wide income - as well as the interest on your savings from the proceeds of the sale of your UK house.
UK Government Service pensions are indeed taxed in the UK but in some cases, NHS pensions do not fall fall into this category. Teachers, Police, Local Government, Fire Service typically do so you will need to consult HMRC about your own situation to be certain. This falls under the banner of the Double Taxation Treaty (DTT) and you will need to complete the France-Individual forms which will ensure that you are not taxed in the UK but in France instead. You will not be able to do this until you are in receipt of a French TIN (Tax Identity Number - Numéro fiscal) for which you will apply to the French Tax authority in the place where you will live.
There are many things you need to do. Some of the members here have much experience in particular fields who you might like to address directly for guidance.
For example - and this is not exhaustive - although exhausting perhaps :wink:

  • @fabien for advice on insurance requirements - health, home, personal liability etc. You can also contact him through the insurance link in the banner at the top of the page.
  • @anon90504988 who understands the ramifications of importing UK vehicles to France
  • @JaneJones who is a wizz on Carte Vital issues and French Citizenship (which she has just recently achieved - so well up to date on current requirments)
  • and I’m sure others will chip in as your Topic (and your move) progresses.

You can address individual members (if you wish to alert them) by adding the @ symbol before their site name as I have done above. If you click on the avatar, you will be able to address a personal message to them to preserve private information which should not be available in a public forum.
Please continue to ask any questions which come to mind which I’m sure SFers will be happy to contribute to.

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I agree with Sandcastle, this is a bit odd. France has great difficulty handling couples who don’t live together permanently. We had similar as I stayed resident in UK to care for my mother, and OH moved. The tax office did not like it at all! But it is doable, and it is not up to you to choose ” when you become a full resident “as there are rules which govern when you are tax resident and when you are not.

If OH plans to be there all the time then he will have to pay tax as he will be resident - there is no choice about that if you live in France, you pay tax in France. And you need to look at your travel pattern to check where you are resident.

The other thing that looks a bit incomplete is the LTVV aspect. (I assume you’ve checked you both have the resources to be eligible for this of course). If you are planning a permanent move then you will need to do the transition from visitor visa to resident permit. And you need to get that right, as your future plans hinge. on it! OH will need to do this pretty quickly, and can then apply for carte vitale. Which will be a lot cheaper than private health insurance .

This is a relatively mew site from the French i that I find quite user friendly

You say

and then

You may need to clarify your thinking on this. A person cannot simply wait until they feel ready to “apply for full time residency” (in fact there is no separate “applying for residency” process beyond the visa formalities). Whether you are regarded as tax resident or not is a simply question of whether or not you meet France’s criteria for tax residency, one of which is, if your “foyer” ie centre of family life is in France. It seems likely that your house in France will be regarded your “foyer” if one of you is resident there full time and it is your only home, where you have most of your belongings and live your life as a couple.
Couples in France are normally taxed as a household, although if you yourself remain solidly UK based the tax office may agree to treat you as two individuals.
In practical terms, if you did not wish to be regarded as permanently resident in France just yet it may not be a good idea to register your car here. Your car must be registered in the country in which you are permanently resident. In registering it in France you are asserting that you are living in France.

There is, as you have to confirm/ turn your visa into a residence permit (depending on which type of visa)

Yes you are right of course. I expressed myself badly. I was thinking of that as part of the visa process since as you say, the process depends on which kind of visa you have. If your visa is VTS then it serves as your titre de séjour initially, if not you have various steps to take. But either way, you follow procedure and timetable laid down by immigration, so it does not seem to me a separate process as such.

@JaneJones - thanks for advice.
Similar scenario - i need to spend large periods of time in UK with elderly parent whilst OH will live 99% of time in France. I plan on initially 2weeks uk/4 weeks france - obviously altering as mums care needs increase.
I know french paperwork and bureaucracy can be complicated - especially when couples live apart temporarily.
We are both applying together as couple for LTVV as savings etc in joint names. If he can apply for carte vitale after 3 months then will definitely do so - i will seek advice if its a good plan for me to do also at this early stage?
We will transition to resident permit once the frequent travel back to UK is no longer an issue.

Well I am no expert but I do not see how it works like that.
I am not clear what you mean by “transition to residence permit”. As a UK citizen you cannot live here for more than 90/180 days without a TdS of one kind or another.
If you have a visa VTS = valant titre de sĂ©jour you do not need to apply for anything else. that IS your titre de sĂ©jour or “residence permit” until it expires.
If your visa is not VTS, you will need to start the process of applying for your titre de séjour very soon after arriving in France otherwise you would be in an irregular situation.

Residency and tax residency are related but separate. You do not apply for tax residency, it is what it is, depending on whether or not you meet the criteria. If one of you spends 99% of the time in France and the other spends twice as long in France as out of France, I do not see how you would not be tax resident.

Not advice but an opinion.
I would be applying for a carte /visa that would allow me to work even with no intention of doing so, because who knows what will happen tomorrow and the need to be employed may become important , saves the hassle of changing status at a later date.

From what they have said they are not eligible to do so! The criteria for working visas are very strict.

Have to say Deby you sound far more organised than we were (though that was in the heady days before brexit, when brits could wonder carefree all over Europe!).

On your PHEV it sounds like you are looking at a prise renforcée (simple outdoor socket) rather than a borne de recharge (fast charging point). This would be my recommendation - we find that since our PHEV charges in about 3 hours at home - and we rarely park it here for less than that anyway - the normal socket suffices.

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The travel pattern you suggest makes you a French resident, and French tax payer and so on. You will be in France more than 183 days/year, and have your centre of interests here so that will qualify. In many ways this actually makes it simpler for you both, so if your intention is to live here permanently then much more logical to take the leap now. You can then both get into French health system, and get everything in place to live here long term.

Which actual visa have you applied for? Presumably the VLS-TS (visa long séjour - titre séjour)? You have to validate this in France within 3 months of arrival, other you turn into an illegal resident. And in the last 2 months of validity you have to apply for a resident permit in France at your préfecture. Or leave the country and start all over again applying for a new visa from the UK. So again much more logical to get the resident permit at the end of the first year.

You can’t transition to a resident permit at will, but have to do so with the structures set up by France. And as you will discover, France likes its structures :rofl:


Not possible.
If you apply for a visa to work, then if it is to run your own business you need to present a very solid business plan and as @JaneJones has said it will be carefully scrutinised, or you need to already have a job lined up and your employer must have obtained authorisation to employ you as a TCN.
Either way if you come to France on a work visa then your status is worker and you must work. If you leave your job or close your business, you must apply to change your residence status.

Its my opinion nothing more

As always there is an obssion on here with self employment there are other forms of employment ,as I said above its my opinion.

Sure, but the visa/titre de séjour is confusing enough for people without adding in something that they are not eligible for, and without any links to show how they could be eligible if they so wished.

Brexit has completely changed the situation for British people wishing to move here, and it seems you are not aware of the current rules.