Withdrawal agreement – what counts as residence


For proof of residence 2020 an EDF bill is a gold standard and / or a 12 month rental contract suffices. But what about someone wishing to exercise treaty rights who hasn’t managed to secure such a rental. For example, a house or rental contract completion in January, or a rental that has fallen through, or being unable to search for property during lockdown?

Will stays in short term contracts, or accommodation normally used as holiday accommodation and Air B&B and hotels in2020 not count and one’s CDS be rejected?

We think the gite accommodation situation has been clarified, thanks Toryroo – gite owners can provide the ‘Attestation de Hebergement’ – unless what if the authorities say ‘ah that address is a registered holiday accommodation, so not permanent?’ (someone else posted owners can do short term leases during lockdown)

Her post: This was originally thought to be a problem however they have now put in a clause regarding ‘3rd party accommodation’ for those that have just arrived, or have odd living situations:

In case of accommodation with a third party: certificate from the host, dated and signed, copy of the host’s identity card or passport or residence permit, and proof of the host’s address if the address on his/her identity card, passport or residence permit is outdated.

So with people looking to establish themselves in France by 31 December safely in the face of French and UK lockdowns there is some debate across several threads and as it’s a life determining issue, I thought to bring the debate together and share my own research, being one of these trying to get in situ in France.

Here’s a reflection of some posts –

From ‘Moving to France in November‘

It doesn’t look to me like a short-term rental or a long - term Airbnb would cut it for example.’

‘My understanding is that you just need to show residency by the 31st…with a permanent address and utilities.’

And somewhat in contrast a post from ‘Carte de Sejour - documents required for application’:

Although it would be advisable to get to France tomorrow, under the conditions that apply today, 30/12/2020 would do if you can demonstrate the intention to stay.

My assessment above is based on this:

"The withdrawal agreement concluded between the United Kingdom and the European Union provides for a transition period to run until 31 December 2020. During this period, British citizens and their family members already living in France or wishing to move to France before 31 December 2020 retain their rights as European citizens and are not required to hold a residence permit.

from https://brexit.gouv.fr/sites/brexit/accueil/vous-etes-britannique-en/droit-au-sejour-en.html

And from Residency online applications

Post 153 Captain Endeavour ‘What is ‘really settled’.

So here is my research and I would welcome people’s opinion.

The EU guidance note to the withdrawal agreement has been posted in ‘residency-card-transferable-from-another-eu-country’, and elsewhere – though not commented on in terms of what type of accommodation is required.

Somebody also posted a ‘British in Europe Guide:

The key points in having “exercised [in the country] their right of residence in accordance with Union law” are

This includes right of residence … irrespective of its duration (e.g. an arrival in the host State one week before the end of the transition period and residing there as a job-seeker … is sufficient); and

It is sufficient that the right of residence was exercised in accordance with the conditions Union law attaches to the right of residence.

The conditions are those attached to the various ways (worker, inactive, cross border etc)to exercise the free movement right, health cover, income requirements etc. I have not seen a condition about the type of residence.

And whilst not germain to this thread, for the avoidance of doubt expressed in the Move in November thread the BIE guide clearly states you must ‘be legal’ i.e. satisfy the conditions of income, healthcare etc before 31 December.

Another (great) site is

I think its also been posted before. Takes one through all the CdS application processes with screenshots. It clearly states:

If you can prove that you are entitled to residence rights under the WA then you will have a right to residence status and a document verifying it - in other words there’s no discretion for your country to refuse a residence document as long as you meet the conditions.

However it also says on accommodation type:

If you have arrived in France very recently, you’ll need to be able to show that you were ‘settled’ here by 31 December 2020 with the intention to live here permanently, and that your centre of interests is now in France. This may include evidence of your arrival date plus having a property rental contract or proof of a job to start, for example. It’s unlikely that just a travel ticket and a hotel or Airbnb receipt would be enough to show that are settled so if you are aiming to arrive in December please plan carefully.

(BTW, The site talks about healthcare and seems to give the impression it doesn’t have to be in place end December but in FAQ’s it clearly states to have your residence and most other rights protected under the WA, you have to be legally resident in your host country at the end of the transition period, currently set for 31 December 2020, so it’s very important before then to make sure that you meet the conditions.)

So, if the WA and official guidance etc is silent on what accommodation type(s) constitutes ‘residence’ what does the French administration say? (Google translation so be warned, probably not be wholly / legally accurate!)

If you are applying for a residence permit, you must provide proof of address dated less than 3 months. The document to produce depends on your situation.

It has Rent and ‘Staying with an individual, family friend etc’ and also has


Certificate from your hotelier

Last month’s invoice

If hotel accommodation is accepted, would Air B&B be considered ‘hotel’?

Next is the ‘Decree No. 2019-264 of April 2, 2019 issued for the application of Ordinance No. 2019-76 of February 6, 2019 on various measures relating to entry, stay, social rights and professional activity, applicable in the event of no agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union’.

The decree has no legal effect as the WA came into play. Though France Rights expects another decree for WA – “The French government will be publishing a decree that will set out in detail the process and the conditions for being granted a new residence status. It was intended that the decree would be published before the application platform opened but Covid-related delays have prevented this from happening; it will now be published later, we hope by the end of October. This means that if you apply on the new platform before the decree is published you are doing so slightly blind … if you have been in France for less than 5 years and you think your situation may be borderline, you may want to delay your application until the decree is out. (Not much use if the decree is published after the 31 December deadline though!)

Whilst succeeded by the WA which is silent on proof of residence, Article 3 item 4 in the decree states British nationals or third country nationals other than British nationals who are members of their families, residing in France for less than five years and requesting the first issue of one of the residence permits … must present in support of his request the following documents:

4 ° If he has never had a residence permit, proof of the date of his installation in France;
5 ° The supporting documents provided for in articles 4 to 10 of this decree establishing that they meet the conditions for issuing the requested residence permit. (these are the condition documents proof of healthcare etc)

Google translate – the French word is also ‘installation’, so may not be translating correctly – e.g. it’s not ‘arrivée’

Also on the online CdS portal there is a link to FAQ’s


“How can I prove the date of my first settling in France?

Several documents can allow you to prove the date of your first settling in France.

For example, you can submit:

  • Your previous residence permit.

  • Your tax certificate.

  • Your employment contract.

  • Your lease or ownership title. And

It is not necessary to provide residence proof for each year you stayed in France. You are only required to prove the date of your first settlement.”

This doesn’t directly state ‘Proof of residence in 2020’, but does talk about proving dates.

Under the proof of residence section, there is a category ‘or any other supporting document chosen by the applicant.’

So it might be that ‘any other document’ could be a tax certificate.

Any person moving from the UK to France before the end of December will be required to file an initial tax return. The UK operates a split year tax arrangement, so the date of France tax will be from the date one moves – presume as indicated in the P85. Hopefully the tax statement will indicate that date , it will certainly be for the 2020 year and might be difficult for the authorities to argue you were not resident for the purposes of WA but are fiscally?

The returns are made April / May – presumable members will be able to comment on whether the statement would be received in time for June 30 deadline.

The website also has an e-mail for enquiries contact-demandeenligne-brexit-dgef@interieur.gouv.fr and I did just so, asking the main questions about what count, Air B&B etc. Done a week ago, no response (yet). (I also e-mailed contact-brexit@interieur.gouv.fr 26 October and no response either).

Of course, there’s a risk France and the UK might decide one was not fiscally resident? Hopefully thought the Republic would welcome our future taxes. Down to the double taxation agreement, however I have corresponded with one member who did just so do a split year on their ‘fiscal’ arrival.

The EU has a FAQ page under social co-ordination:


One FAQ is: What is a place of residence?

This is the country where you habitually live, your home country. In other words, where your centre of interest is. A list of criteria is provided by article 11 of the Implementing Regulation 987/2009 to help social security institutions assess which country is to be considered as the place of residence.

These include: the duration of your presence on the territory of the countries concerned; your family status and ties; your housing situation and how permanent it is; the place where you pursue professional or non-profit activities; the characteristics of your professional activity; where you reside for taxation purposes; in the case of students, the source of your income. In any case, the decision on which country is to be considered your place of residence will be made by the social security institutions and not by you.

What is a temporary stay?

A temporary stay is a period during which you are staying in a place other than the one where you usually live and you do not move your “centre of interest” there. The centre of interest is assessed by the social security institutions in order to determine your place of residence (see the definition of residence above). For the purpose of social security coordination, a temporary stay is not limited to a defined period of time but attached to the idea of residence.

For example, the fact that a student who is studying in another country for more than three months, registers with the local authorities cannot be considered as a change of residence: if the intention of the student is to return to his/her habitual residence after the study period, he/she is considered to be on a temporary stay and therefore can use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Article 11

Elements for determining residence

  1. Where there is a difference of views between the institutions of two or more Member States about the determination of the residence of a person to whom the basic Regulation applies, these institutions shall establish by common agreement the centre of interests of the person concerned, based on an overall assessment of all available information relating to relevant facts, which may include, as appropriate:

(a) the duration and continuity of presence on the territory of the Member States concerned;

(b) the person’s situation, including:

(i) the nature and the specific characteristics of any activity pursued, in particular the place where such activity is habitually pursued, the stability of the activity, and the duration of any work contract;

(ii) his family status and family ties;

(iii) the exercise of any non-remunerated activity;

(iv) in the case of students, the source of their income;

(v) his housing situation, in particular how permanent it is;

(vi) the Member State in which the person is deemed to reside for taxation purposes.

  1. Where the consideration of the various criteria based on relevant facts as set out in paragraph 1 does not lead to agreement between the institutions concerned, the person’s intention, as it appears from such facts and circumstances, especially the reasons that led the person to move, shall be considered to be decisive for establishing that person’s actual place of residence.

Now, these criteria are for resolving disagreements about residence between countries, though should give an idea of what might be considered in any appeal for WA residency. Particularly item 2 ’especially the reasons that led the person to move’ – Brexit seems a fairly powerful reason, and could the authorities deny your rights on the basis you were in an Air B&B at the point of arrival?

By June, with evidence of continued presence in France and a tax statement the criteria might point towards a France residency?

Drilling down on the EU website to specifically France for social security:

France - Notion of usual or main residence

What conditions do I need to meet?

In order to benefit from these allowances, your usual place of residence must be in France, i.e. a household where you live permanently, or you must have your main residence in France.

The usual residence is the place where you normally live, on a permanent basis.

The main residence is where you live for over 6 months each year.

You can offer proof of this usual or main residence by any means. You will supply all the relevant elements to the social security body: economic and legal links, family situation, social integration, etc.

Here, Air B&B would presumably not satisfy the ‘permanence’ of the usual residence.

A website called long term rentals (but offering short term low season rentals) has some information

It references the decree

Identifies key distinctions between the Post-Brexit Residency Permit and the existing Carte de Sejour application process:

  1. One key principal of the new system (as derived from the Withdrawal Agreement), is that it will be automatically assumed that anybody applying for French Residency has arrived in France legally. There will be no requirement to prove your eligibility.

  2. Applicants are required to provide proof of address only, not proof of permanent address

I’m not sure where item 5 comes from, sounds strange as you have to e.g. show income – perhaps it means one’s uploaded documents will be accepted at face value? (or intentions?)

and item 10 is of course the key question.

There are some Q&A’s with a consultant running a company ‘Live in France’.

One is ‘In some of the information I have seen it states that you need to provide proof of address and/or proof of domicile.’

To which the answer is ‘For residency applications it doesn’t matter what form of accommodation you live in. Even the French government’s own website provides guidance for circumstances if you are living in an hotel or staying with friends. So you do not need to have a principal residence or be a home owner. As well as the documents listed on the CdS site he also identified another document accepted was

Attestation d’Assurance (home insurance policy document or Tenants Insurance policy document).

A link is provided but takes you to the site mentioning the hotel I put in above. However, going to

documents to prove address (for a passport) include the home insurance policy, and also the tax certificate. So buy tenant home insurance when you arrive and use for CdS.

The next question is ‘Do I need to have a ‘principal residence’ in France’ and the answer is no. ‘In fact, the French Government have specifically stated that they will treat all applicants the same whether they have been in France for 1 week (temporary) or 1 year (more permanent).

Not sure exactly where this has been stated but could be a reference to the Brexit.gouv site droit-au-sejour linked at the top.

The article discusses the definition of principal residence - fiscal address (for payment of taxes) of the individual and is also a main centre of their professional and or family/social life. And if rented if the property is being rented for less than 8 months, it will not be regarded as the principal residence for the tenant. It will be seen as their non-permanent home or secondary residence.

Then there’s a bit about too much focus on the tenancy agreements. Consultant: Absolutely. In actual fact, the health insurance and the proof of sufficient financial resources are the 2 key bits of information. The French government wants to be sure that people will not be a burden on the State.

So in wrapping up key takeaways might be:

  • Order of preference for rent contracts – 12 month, 8 month, less than 8 months but possibly to get to tax return / CdS deadline. End of June – 6 months?
  • What about 6 month Air B&B rental / booking?
  • Or contract length doesn’t matter – get a contract for any length and insurance – remember if you move before CdS is delivered, take your new address proof to the prefecture.
  • Or just get an attestation de herbergemant (will it be valid for gites Air B&B?)
  • Possibility of hotel receipts being accepted – no mention of Air B&b
  • On that front, authorities required to assist citizens with application, why no response to e-mails requesting clarification – it’s a right, so how to escalate?
  • If proof of address not dependent on having a contract length (and no such requirement seen by me on official websites) do intentions apply, in which case health insurance / UK s1 application, content insurance, france tax return, P85 notification to UK all counts as not a tourist / turning up with ticker and Air B&B receipt.
  • All the above to be confirmed before 31 December as you cannot change 2020 residence status after.

Perhaps as France rights suggests, consult immigration lawyer on circumstances – but will they be able to give a reasonable opinion, if no updated WA decree yet?

Countdown: On release from lockdown – 1 month!!

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You also need to look at it from the person providing the rental’s perspective.

Holiday accommodation contracts have a maximum of 3 months, and should only be given to people who have a principal residence elsewhere. The main legal rental contracts in France are for 12 months minimum (9 for students) for furnished lodgings, and a minimum of 3 years for unfurnished. Of course these can be terminated early with agreement and subject to conditions, but this is the legal framework.

So don’t be surprised if you are turned down if you ask for something else. Many landlords are fully aware of how difficult it is to evict someone here so stick to 12 month minimum, and many gîte owners are reluctant to do long lets. However sorry we feel for UK escapees, we personally would not offer anyone an attestation de hébergement for the gîte as that gives no certainty of getting paid, and we have contracts in place for bookings next year so would not wish to risk the person not leaving. We have put people up in our own house, because that’s ‘safe’.

Sure people offer other contract terms , but strictly speaking they should not. So perhaps that answers your question as to why no mention of contract length in the guidance as there is only a small range available here.


I think I’m over the bridge and on stable ground, re accommodation.

I turned up on Mon 2nd Nov to a 12 day AirBnB booking, with the plan to go looking for a full time rental. This was a prospect of considerable daunt-factor, under present conditions.

A cottage, one up, one down + bathroom, fully kitted out, inc wifi, in the grounds of a four-square Norman farmhouse. I had had it in mind to ask le patron if he would consider a rental for 4-5 months but before I could broach the subject he got in first, “How would you like to rent this place?” He clearly saw that AirBnB bookings were going to be nonexistent for many months to come.

In compliance with French furnished rental law, yesterday we signed a full-on 12 month tenancy agreement.

I have an address in France. I have no address, family or connections, other than the DWP, Lloyds Bank and Scottish Widows, with UK. My property in Spain is vacant, for sale or rent

La Chatonnerie Evening sky 02 600

I can barely believe my good fortune. Talk about being in the right place at the right time …

I believe my next hoop to jump thru’ is to get my S1 transferred from the Spanish NHS to the French. So Newcastle S1 dept told me. My understanding is that, with the S1 to hand, I can ‘sign up’ for the French ‘NHS’. Is this right?


I do not think it would be correct to use an attestation d’hébergement in
the context of renting a gite.
I have always understood this attestation to be used in the context of
putting up a friend, relative, work colleague or acquaintance of some
kind, in your own home, with no rent payment involved.
If it is a business arrangement there should be a written contract and
that is the correct document to use.
I think people are vastly overblowing this question of accommodation and
what strikes me as dangerous they are looking at all of this from an
English perspective. No offence but I think that if you had researched
French rental law first you would not have wasted time speculating on
things that are not worth speculating about. You talk about 8 month and 6
month contracts but as Jane said this is meaningless because there are no
8 or 6 month tenancy contracts in France. French rental law is tightly
regulated with clear definitions.
At the end of the day where you live is only one factor. If you have
started a job or are a frontier worker or a job seeker with all the
correct paperwork from the UK it will not matter where you live because
you have a clear purpose for being in France, you have commitments and you
were settled from the day you arrived. You will not be refused a cds
simply because you are staying at an airbnb. But if you do not have a
clear status it does become more important. France’s task is to sift out
those who have popped over for a few weeks in the hopes of winging a cds,
and those who genuinely intend to stay. Put yourself in their position,
how would you tell the difference between two inactive people both staying in
airbnbs but one intends to stay in France permanently and the other
intends to return to the UK as soon as they have their email confirming
their cds application? You would ask for more details until you feel it is
proved one way or the other, and that I am sure is what they will do.

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Well done captain you are home and dry. Hopefully this will encourage others that it can be done.


And I wish all the monster dollop of good luck that I’ve been blessed with.


Many congratulations!! Looks so cute for a cosy winter getting to grips with France. Yes, do the S1 thing now and you should be sorted.

I agree, that’s what I think too and why we would never let someone use our gîte on that basis.

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@captainendeavour, wonderful news :clap:

Thank you Geoffrey, Jane and Lily for your heartening words.

I admit to still being very nervous of the whole process. I feel that any more bridges successsfully crossed, hoops jumped thru’, will be a mixture of unaccountable good fortune and divine intervention.

I know this runs counter to the apparently generous position taken by the French towards us British seeking residency and the fact that they will ‘play by the rules’ - and those rules not onerous - but [with regard to my new home] , as one of my pals said “You are due a few breaks …”


Well, there’s another one and so easy and straightforward. The S1 office in Newcastle, in this case, making the transfer from the Spanish NHS to the French service. My new S1 will arrive by 30th Nov.

The most difficult qustion to answer was the exact date of first payment of UK State Pension. Lloyds statements go back 7 years so 2014 was not searchable but those nice people at DWP dug it up chop-chop. Anyone changing S1 territories will be asked this question, so look it out.

I feel a bit wobbly about the Spanish entitlement being cancelled. I am now getting in deeper and deeper with the CdS application doing its Sword of Damokles impression … :thinking:

Amazing that they reduced the single pensioner income requirement from 903€ p.m. to +/- 550€. I’ve been raiding a pension pot for a monthly top-up to exceed the 903€ p.m.

And I could have done without my ‘new’ 07 Peugeot 307 SW getting over-excited about returning to the land of its fathers and costing me 933€ and 87€ in my first two days here.

That’s another thing - the car. I quail at the arcane and mysterious ways of the registration process. I don’t suppose my car being French will help. It will probably be regarded as a deserter - RHD to UK.

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In my experience the car re-registration was very straightforward.
Changing the driver’s license, however…

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Ah ha! Geoff! I am ahead of the game on that. I have a Spanish one and that, I am told, is good for all EU. In fact I understand that UK licenses wil be OK up to having to change to the country of res when turning 70. As I was in SP at the time, that’s why I’ve got a SP one.

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Are you positive about the reduction in income threshold? I know francerights said this at one point but I thought it was then thrown into doubt whether wires had got crossed. I could well be confused, it is hard to keep up, but do double check if it is important.

Christopher @captainendeavour I’m so pleased for you - great news!

@larkswood12 if I’ve understood correctly what you need to know in 1 question is ‘what is acceptable as proof of residence if I arrive very late 2020?’. Clarification on this from the authorities is being sought as there are a lot of people asking the same question. I will get back when I know more.

I’m going looking but Tory Abney, who has posted so prolifically and helpfully on recent changes to residency matters and criteria, has this in one of her earlier posts. Perhaps direct a query at her and she will point you to it.

“Last year, when there was a risk of no WA deal being signed, France planned to set an income test at no more than the level of the RSA French income support benefit for working age people.This is €564.78/month for a single person, €847.17 for a couple without dependent children, or €1,186.04 for a couple with two dependent children.”

"image "

The minimum figure was 903€ for a retired single person. Tory Abney’s update is that this has been reduce to the RSA level for ALL single people

Yes, this is what we are currently being told and I have had no feedback to the contrary with anyone who has submitted that I know of so far. There is of course a very small chance that when the final decree is published (still waiting - was originally meant to be at the time of the opening of the portal originally, then late last month but due to covid apparently it is running late!). If you have any concerns you won’t meet something you may be better to wait until the final decree is finally published but honestly I can’t see them moving the goal at this stage.

Months ago I arranged for funds to arrive in my € account to the tune of 904€ pm if the FX rate was £1=1,10€.

1,111€ a.t.mo = 918,84€ so all good. But I will leave it so.

Congratulations Christopher. Nice to have a good news story.

I like the blue shutters - my wife made me get green :roll_eyes: