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Bitesize Guide to

Getting Started

The information below may be useful to those who are new to RIFT, new to France or considering the impact of Brexit on their life in France.

Please read it in conjunction with our website and in particular our bitesize guides to HealthcareLegal Residence in France and 1 February 2020 and beyond

The UK has now left the EU

It’s difficult to provide a step by step guide because there are so many variations on people’s circumstances. The information below sets out the requirements to be considered living legally in France and what to do to ensure you are meeting those requirements.

Can I still move to France?

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020.

Whilst we immediately lost our EU citizenship, we will retain Freedom of Movement (FoM) until the end of the Transition Period (TP) , which is currently due to end on 31 December 2020.

Therefore, UK citizens can move to France up to and including 31 December 2020 and be covered by the WA after that date. However, you will need to be properly exercising your rights of FoM on that date.

FoM of People allows EU citizens and their families (and UK citizens during the TP) to live in an EU country for a period of more than 3 months provided they - if not working — 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.

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.

What do you need to consider?


If you’re just moving to France, you need to consider how you will support yourself.

Job, self-employment, pension, investments, savings.

We don’t yet know if there will be income level requirements imposed by the French government and if so, what levels they will be. Home ownership or free lodging (such as living with your parents) may be useful for those on lower incomes to prove self sufficiency


To be a French resident you must spend 183 days or more per year in France and make tax declarations. The tax year runs January to December and declarations are made in the May following the end of the tax year. Even if you move to France part way through the year, you should make a declaration the following May. Your first declaration will be made on paper and following declarations online. If you arrived in France during 2019, speak to your local tax office in spring this year to arrange to make your first declaration. You will need to declare your worldwide income, investments and bank accounts. You can check with the tax authorities in the relevant countries about double taxation treaties. These treaties ensure you are not taxed twice in different countries for the same income. The UK has a treaty with France and it will be unaffected by Brexit.

Healthcare cover

You’ll need comprehensive healthcare. That could be via a private policy or the French healthcare system.

UK citizens in receipt of a state pension and certain categories of worker from the UK, are eligible for an S1, which is the form required to show that the UK will pay for your healthcare; you’ll receive your healthcare via the French healthcare system. If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate (S1) via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5)

If you have a job in France or are self employed, you will be covered by the French healthcare system via Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie CPAM and the contributions you make. Contributions are based on your income.

Early retirees are not eligible for an S1, even if you are in receipt of your occupational pension. You can still enter the French healthcare system via CPAM and PUMa. It is likely that CPAM will ask you for an S1 refusal letter. To obtain it, contact the DWP team as above and request an S1. They will tell you that you aren’t eligible and then provide a refusal in French and English. You will be expected to make contributions to the system based on your income.

To enter the French healthcare system you will need to have been in France for at least 3 months and you will need to provide proof of that.

Proving you live in France for CPAM and for obtaining a carte de séjour.

A Carte de Séjour (CdS) is a residence permit issued by the local prefecture. We don’t yet know exactly what card UK citizens (who live in France before the end of the TP) will receive but its likely to be along the lines of the current EU citizen CdS. You can read more about those here.

Once things are clearer, we will need to either exchange existing cards or apply for new cards if we don’t qualify for an exchange. (UK citizens who have lived in France for more than 5 years may already have a permanent CdS and this is the type of card we expect to be exchanged without having to reapply)

To apply for a CdS and for entering the French healthcare system, you will be asked to provide evidence that you live in France.

If you’ve just moved here, then here are some suggestions of things which you can use to prove your entry date to France

  1. Flight ticket or ferry ticket

  2. Copies of any correspondence with UK government departs, such as HMRC or the NHS, advising them that you are moving to France

  3. In some towns, your local Maire will provide you with a letter saying you live in the town/commune


Other documents which show you live in France

  1. Your ‘Avis d’impots’ which is the form/advice given to you following your tax declaration and which advises you of tax paid/due etc

  2. Your Taxe d’habitation bill and Taxe Fonciere bill (if relevant)

  3. Energy bills, water bills, internet bills

  4. Bank statements

  5. Rental agreements

  6. If you don’t pay the bills, you will need an ‘Attestation d’hébergement’ from the bill payer

Proving who you are

You will generally be asked to provide a copy of your passport to prove who you are.

You may also be asked for your

  1. Birth certificate

  2. Marriage certificate (generally for married women only – much French administration is done in your ‘nom de jeune fille’ (maiden name))

  3. Divorce papers if relevant


Applying for your CdS

As we don’t yet know what type of card we will be issued or how we will apply for it, our suggestion is to wait until we know more before applying. Use the coming months to collate your information and take any action needed to ensure you’re living legally in France.

More Bitesize Guides

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