Visa for 1 year (renewing each year)

Hello! I’m looking for some guidance about life in France with a new one year Visa from January 2021.

Some background, we’re UK citizens with main house in UK and a holiday home in France which we’ve had for the last 6 years. Looking now to rent out the UK house and move temporarily (say 3-5 years) to France. I’m retired and in receipt of a pension which enables us to be self sufficient. The UK rental income will obviously help financially too. Neither of us will be working in France. The plan would be to apply for a 1 year visa for us both renewing each year.

So jumping through a number of assumptions (like whether we are successful with our applications and what else for Brexit) my questions are about what else would we need?


  • Is the Visa solely a permit to reside in France for a period of time (1 year in this case)? By that I mean for example does it entitle me to join the health system leaving me to buy top up insurance or do I need to buy insurance to cover every aspect of health cover in full?

  • What else does having a Visa allow if anything?

  • Once I have the Visa what is needed for me to comply with it’s terms apart from being self sufficient and not seeking / doing work?

  • What are the requirements then for taxation? Am I still a UK citizen paying UK tax or do I need to join the French tax system?

I suspect the answer is that it just allows us to live there for a defined period but the more I think about it the more confusing the picture seems to become! I’d really appreciate some guidance.

Thanks in anticipation.

I don’t know if anything will be put in place specifically for ex-europeans. Most people who apply for a long stay non-european visa are doing so as step one in becoming a french resident. Once you have your visa and arrive in France you then need to apply for a carte de séjour. And from there everything else flows. You can’t work, but everything else is a normal residency.

If you take up residence in France by 31st December 2020 then you won’t need any visa & will be protected by the lifetime guarantees of the Withdrawal Agreement on residence, healthcare, pensions etc

Unless there is some insuperable obstacle preventing you moving in the next 6 months then you would be mad to pass up the opportunity of moving under existing EU terms rather than from 1st January 2021 as a Third Country National.

As you already own a house flipping your residence to France is straightforward. You only need spend 6 months a year in France to qualify for ongoing residence. After 5 years of 6 months a year you qualify for permanent residence after which there is no minimum period you need to stay in France & can even be totally absent for up to 5 years without losing your entitlement o permanent residence.

But you will need to pay taxes here surely?

Thank you all very much for the points you make. I’m struggling with this - perhaps I’m looking at this totally the wrong way. I was looking at a Visa as a method of staying in France on a temporary basis (yes maybe as long as 5 years with renewals) with no other / not many strings attached.
Actually you are pointing out that in any circumstance there are only 2 options…I’m either a resident in France with all that that entails or I’m a resident the UK etc. A Visa allows me to stay longer in France than the 3 months that will be standard, but doesn’t avoid me having to persue French residency if I’m there longer (etc etc) than the UK. Is that it in a nutshell?

I think you are asking a question that nobody is sure about. Paul’s link is the obvious place to look.
I’m guessing that you will need proof of health insurance for the duration of your stay but that as you are a non working foreign resident your taxes will be paid in the UK.

1 Like

But if resident here why would taxes be paid in the UK? If you are resident you are resident surely? Doesn’t France expect anyone here for more than 3 months to cough up? (Except for frontaliers, sea going people and other exceptions).

But with a fixed term visa are you resident? I thought you were a long term visitor.

The long stay visa has to be exchanged for a carte de séjour within 2 months of arrival, so I was guessing (and it is only a guess) you are resident. The short stay visa is just a visa so I guess not resident.

1 Like

Ok thanks, so this is exactly where I’m confused and I have been reading up on this before. Up until today I understood that the 1 year visa would allow me to be in France simply as a visitor, retaining my UK residency / tax status etc. That though sounded too simple hence why I asked the questions here today. I’ve again been doing some research and even now am no clearer what exactly is the result of having a visa beside being allowed in for up to a year.

The British embassy in Paris is pretty good at responding to queries. The catch 22 is of course that no-one knows precisely what, if anything, will be put in place for resortissants britanique after Jan 1st. Maybe it will be standard non-European process, but maybe it won’t. Americans on long stay visas pay taxes I believe.

But looking at residency definitions for france your position might not be straightforward if all you income comes from elsewhere, so you might have to delve further. But France will want you to be resident and pay tax I’d guess.

If you find an answer do post it as this is going to become a common query next year😶

You can easily be resident in France but not pay any income tax in France. Certain income is always taxed in the state of origin eg property rental income, government pensions. In addition there a moderately complex rules that decide tax residence. The UK-France Double Taxation Convention ensures that if you pay tax in the UK you don’t pay it over again on the same income in France. HMRC’s Statutory Residence Test provides the rules that decide whether you pay tax in the UK. In an extreme case you can be be resident in the UK for just 16 days & live in France for the rest of the year & still be tax resident & only pay tax in the UK. In general if you are a Brit with a home in each country & spend more than 90 days a year in the UK you will only pay tax in the UK even though you spend the other 265 days of the year in France.

I’m struggling with this - Why are you trying to make things complicated by wanting a visa? Taking up residence in France by 31st December 2020 & spending 6 months a year in France & the rest of the time in the UK is simpler & financially beneficial. As a pensioner resident in France the UK will pay for your healthcare in France while you will need to purchase comprehensive private health insurance (not travel insurance) to apply for a visa.

I will be interested to hear a definitive answer of this perhaps one if the American, Canadian or Australasian members could provide some insight. I don’t believe that having a long term makes you a resident. My daughter had worked on visas in Singapore, the USA, Australia and Switzerland but was never considered to be a resident in any of those countries. (although in Switzerland at least she had the equivalent of a CdS) She remained a UK tax payer and had she broken the terms of her visa there could have been large financial penalties.

I suggest that if you are spending more than three months in France you read the French government’s rules on residency. Tax authorities are notorious for wanting to hold on to the right to take your taxes. I don’t think I would feel confident applying for a CdS saying that I’ve lived in France for seven years but have remained a UK tax payer because I always spend three months back home. When you complete your annual tax return in France they will tax you on all aspects of your income that the dual tax treaty indicates should be paid in the country where you live. If you’ve already paid tax on that income in the UK it will be up to you to sort it out and demand a refund from HMRC.

That is a different question. First need to establish whether fiscally resident, and then where specific income sources attract tax. I had linked to the residency and international conventions in French.

Taking the statutory residence test for the UK will not give you a definitive answer as each country has its own assessment. And if there is a discrepancy - ie both countries assess you as resident then it has to be decided by tax authorities not you. However, in this case I think there is a simple answer we just have yet to find the appropriate reference.

Although this refers to Spain, I think it sheds some light on the original question as it shows the role of the visa. And France may well be similar. However dog needs a walk so can’t look further.

I don’t think that that makes anything any clearer.

That’s not correct. You don’t reclaim the tax you paid in the UK & then pay tax in France. If you have already been taxed in the UK then you cannot be taxed on the same income in France & you will be credited with that income tax payment.

It doesn’t matter when applying for a CdS whether you are fiscally resident or have paid tax in France. Fiscal residence & ordinary residence are unrelated. As a French resident you must declare your worldwide income but whether you pay tax or not will be determined by the UK-France Double Taxation Convention (often called the Dual Taxation Treaty) & ultimately a negotiation between HMRC & le fisc.