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Bitesize Guide to

Not Yet a Resident

Many RIFT members are currently still living in the UK and either planning a move to France or are 2nd homeowners who spend time between France and the UK. Many of our French resident members also started as ‘part time’ residents of France.

This Bitesize guide looks at how Brexit will affect those in these two groups.

Freedom of Movement Pre-Brexit
Something we’ve heard a lot about during the discussions following the vote to leave is Freedom of Movement (FoM).
FoM allows Union Citizens to stay for up to 3 months in another EU country as long as they hold a valid identity or travel document. After 3 months, Union Citizens must ‘have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay’. You must fulfil this criteria to be lawfully exercising your treaty rights.

What happens to FoM when the UK leaves the EU?

Brexit with a deal – Withdrawal Agreement (WA) – If the UK leaves under the terms of the WA there will be a transition period which ends on 31 December 2020. During the transition period FoM will continue as the EU will ‘treat the UK as if it were a member state’. There are a couple of exceptions, but they aren’t relevant here.

No Deal Brexit – FoM will cease for UK citizens.

What are your options?
Brexit with a deal – You will have until 31 December 2020 to exercise your rights to FoM. So you could either continue to reside in the UK but visit your home in France as per the criteria of FoM as shown above or you may wish to move to France and become a resident in accordance with the terms of FoM.

No Deal Brexit  - On the day the UK leaves the EU, FoM will end and the UK will become a ‘Third Country’ and UK citizens will become Third Country Nationals (TCNs) in the eyes of the remaining EU countries. According to the UK government website, the EU commission propose that UK citizens will not need visas to travel to EU countries for short stays; however, you will be limited to 90 day stays in any 180 day period. Although a visa is currently not required for stays of 90 days or under, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), an online visa system, is planned for 2020. This system will work in a similar way to the US ESTA visa.

You may find this EU Schengen area calculator useful to work out your trips

For stays of more than 90 days, it will be necessary to apply for a visa under the terms of the member state’s immigration law.

If your plans to move to France are long term, and your move date will be after either the end of the transition period or after a No Deal Brexit, you will have to fulfil the immigration requirements set by French law for TCNs. Click here is a link to the French Government website for more details 

Please remember that although it will be more difficult to move to France (or any other EU country) after FoM has ended, it will not be impossible.

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