Post Brexit Residency


Not been on here for a long time as we put our plans to move to France on hold. However, I’m curious as to how we could potentially move to France post Brexit, assuming a hard Brexit and the UK becoming a third country after October.

Supporting ourselves would not be an issue, and I know that’s something that the French authorities will want to see evidence of in order to gain residency rights. The complication I have is that my income comes from a limited company registered in the UK of which I own 50%, and although I mostly work from home, I would need to return to the UK from time to time (normally for a few days at a time) to meet the team here and clients. My co-director would remain in the UK, at least for the time being.

I really want to find someone I can talk to who can help me understand the process for moving to France assuming we’re not in the EU. I’m not sure you can get a residency visa if your salary is coming from the UK? I could, theoretically register a company in France and move the business to France, but with the other director being UK based, I’m not sure how practical this is.

At the moment we’re looking at three options for escaping Little England - France, Ireland (much simpler) and Scotland (on the basis, there’s a good chance they’ll gain independence in due course and re-enter Europe - easiest of all, but somewhat of a gamble!)

France remains my preferred option - so any advice on where I can go for advice/practical information, would be really appreciated. x

Just look up the information for non-europeans. I imagine any system will be similar as why create something separate for Brits?

So I guess you start by getting a long stay 1 year visa, and then once here apply for the appropriate carte de séjour. text

The complication as you point out is likely to be your business. Moving it to france could create numerous issues - setting up a business in France can be complicated. But is you plan to work from home whilst in france then you will officially be working in france, so will need appropriate visa and CDS which is also potentially more complicated. And the tax position could be convoluted

Why not go to the french embassy in London and ask about 3rd county nationals?

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Unfortunately once Brits are no longer EU citizens we will probably no longer have the automatic freedom to work in France.
Likewise, Brits will probably no longer be covered by the EU arrangements for cross border workers, ie who live in one EU state and return to work in another EU state on a regular basis.

The procedures for non EU citizens to establish a business in France are set out quite comprehensively here:

it outlines the various options and it also gives other links you can follow up depending on what your activity is and what kind of business structure you envisage.

As a general comment, but you are probably already aware, the red tape involved in setting up and running a business in France can be quite mindblowing to Brits who are used to the UK’s ultra-low regulation business environment where businesses virtually run themselves, and your social contributions will also be higher than the NICs you are used to paying in the UK. It’s important to choose the right options when setting up the business because it can make a lot of difference to what you pay out and what benefits you are eligible for, so you really do need to get professional advice.

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Is it not possible to be paid by a uk company, but declare that income in France and pay tax and cotisations on it here?

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Yes - we do this. I own a UK company that employs my wife and I here in France - we also have a UK director. Not only is it possible, it’s also tax efficient - though we do have to do both UK and French tax returns!
We have accountants that have both UK and French offices and specialise in this kind of thing ( - I’m sure there are similar in other areas of France.
Can’t pretend I know much about how brexit will affect the arrangement though.

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Thanks Geof, that’s really helpful and exactly the arrangement that would apply. I guess my question is would that arrangement be possible if, for example, I was a US citizen wanting to move to France, employed by my US company (on the basis I assume we’d be treated in a similar way post Brexit. I guess we’ll have to wait until November to find out (presuming the worst happens). But I’ll give the accountants a ring anyway to see if they have any advice. Thank you so much. :slight_smile:

I would be working in France, from home (as I do now) with occasional trips to the UK to visit staff and clients. I guess, in that respect it would be like a French citizen living and working in the UK but employed by a French company like EDF. Our preference would be to leave the company registered in the UK if possible, largely because one director will still be UK based, 85% of our customers are based in the UK and most of our staff are currently UK based. It makes sense therefore for us to be legally registered in the UK so that the company will be less impacted by currency fluctuations - the only person directly impacted by those would be me. I just don’t know if its possible to get a visa to live in a foreign country (assuming we’re not in the EU after October) and be paid by a company based in your country of origin, though I don’t really see why it should matter. Surely the most important thing is to be able to prove an income that means you won’t be reliant on the state and that you can support yourself financially?

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A trip to London might be called for. Thanks Jane. :slight_smile:

URSSAF has a special system for foreign companies employing workers based in France and they have published a guide in English explaining how it works:

The issue after Brexit will be getting a work permit. It makes no difference where the employer is based - US, UK, Germany or wherever, any employer can use this system to employ workers in France, but the person they employ has to have either the automatic right to work in France via FoM, or a document proving their right to work here.

(Under France’s draft Brexit legislation, Brits who were already working here before the cut off date will be granted the right to continue working so they shouldn’t be affected apart from the need to obtain the appropriate documents in due course.)

Karen, you’re a star! I was becoming despondent when I saw the requirements for a work permit, but then I found this scheme:

This would seem to be the scheme for me and gives me hope! :slight_smile:

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The issue we have with this is the qualifications the French require to set up a business which has been successfully trading from the uk for 5 years!
It has just been registered a limited company on 1/4/19 rather than the self employed/sole trader setup it had for the previous 4 years.
We need the business to remain registered in the uk as that is where the bulk of our customers are and also where the goods will be posted from (we have had really poor experiences of la poste over the last 4 years we have tried posting from here.
Either myself or husband will be declaring ourselves fiscally resident in France before 31st October, no matter what happens.
I believe this means we will need to do a tax return in uk for rental property and for my self employment in April 2020, along with the Ltd company’s corporation tax. But that we inform the inland revenue that we are resident in France and will pay tax/cotisations on our salaries from Ltd co in France.
In France I will register under ME system for my company and will pay tax and cotisations on that income here. I will be taking advice on the structure as i have high outgoings due to being a reseller and I need these expenses taking into account else I will be paying more out than I have left!
As it’s just an internet (ebay seller) there isn’t a qualification I can do to satisfy the French requirements!
Will the fact I earn over NMW and have previous uk accounts to show be sufficient?
In France we need to

If you want to work in France you have to accept how we do things, sometimes it is incomprehensible and irritating or indeed infuriating but that is how we do things. Other countries do things differently, that is up to them. To do my job, in France, you need a master’s degree and to succeed in a nationwide competitive exam - in the UK it is different, in Germany different again, all over Europe it is different. There are lots of places you can live, if you choose to live somewhere, you accept it has its own rules by which you are supposed to abide, nobody is forcing you to live there.


I would also check the emergency legislation France passed in February to manage no deal for UK citoyens, some of which aims to make France more attractive to business creators from the UK. It covers share ownership and reserved professions, all in rather broad terms though, pending further decrees. Additionally, it is contingent on reciprocal arrangements being legislated post-Brexit in the UK.

Karen, I have to admit that from your post I’m very confused about your plans. But if I have correctly understood the gist, you want to live and work in France after Brexit and you are hoping to do this on the basis of being Brits arrived in France pre Brexit, but you haven’t as yet taken any steps to register your employee status and/or business activity/activities here.
So at the most basic level what I am wondering is, in the event of a hard Brexit at the end of October, how are you going to put together a dossier for your carte(s) de séjour, given on the one hand the requirement to demonstrate at least three months’ “stable and legal” residence in France before Brexit, and on the other hand you don’t appear to have established stable and legal residency yet and there is less than three months left?
Reading your post it seemed to me you are worrying about all kinds of things that shouldn’t be issues and shouldn’t need worrying about, but you may have overlooked possibly the most vital issue of all. Hopefully I have missed something or misunderstood the situation entirely.


I was under the impression from lots of researching that as long as we were fiscally resident in France before Brexit date, we would have 1 year to apply for permanent residency.
We wouldn’t be required to present a dossier showing three months residency on Brexit date.
Is this not the case?

Hi Karen… Is Stanning your surname? if this is just a typing error, I can amend your Registration for you…


actually, I think you have 2 Registrations on this Forum


Which one do you wish to maintain ??

I hadn’t realised I’d registered twice. I think one is using my my email on my phone and the other the email from my iPad!
My name is Karen Stanning

Right. You joined in 2016 … yet, with the other “name” you joined again in 2017.

You can really only have one Registration. As you have used the other “name” much more, would you prefer to maintain that one ???

Let us know and @James can sort things out Registration-wise for you.

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This lays out what Brits in France will be faced with … after Brexit…

My email is the same from my phone and my iPad