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Bitesize Guide to Moving to France after 1st January 2021

National Assembly

Moving to France after 1st January 2021

and not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement as a family member.


New and future arrivals in France are out of the scope of RIFT but we would like to signpost you to resources that may answer your questions. 

Third Country

When the UK left the EU, it became a ‘Third country’ and UK citizens became Third Country Nationals (often referred to as a TCN). TCN Definition


UK Nationals and family members who moved to France before 31 December 2020 and some later joining immediate family are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).


What does immediate family mean?

An immediate family member would cover a spouse, registered partner, direct descendant (child, grandchild etc) who is under 21 OR who is older than this but dependent, or direct ascending relative (parent, grandparent etc) who is dependent. Others may have derived rights (for example post-divorce) and some may have facilitated entry (for example those newly arrived in a durable relationship). Children adopted at a later date may also be covered by the WA. 


Not Covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (WA)

If you are not covered by the WA and want to stay more than 90 days in a 180 day period in France you will have to apply for a long-stay visa before you travel. The following applies only if you only hold UK nationality and no EU nationality and are not closely linked to an EU citizen.



You must apply for the right visa in advance in your home country.

Most will apply for a VLS TS visa which acts as a residency permit. To obtain a visa you may be tested for the means to provide for yourself, medical cover, accommodation and more. If you are not working they will look for both an income of French minimum wage and comprehensive medical cover for the length of your visa. 

You will need to validate your visa when you arrive in France (within 3 months) Ministry of Interior Portal.


The minimum wage in France (SMIC)

Service Public SMIC


Income test

French Property Income Test Guide


Your employer will need to obtain permission for you to work.

If self-employed you will need a professional business plan showing you will earn the minimum wage.

Detached Worker status is still possible - see our Working Across Borders Facebook Group


Do read our guide on qualification recognition - Qualification Recognition

Medical for UK inactives with benefits

The Agreement made on 24th December 2020 allows for S1s (if required) to still be issued for those in receipt of exportable UK benefits such as a UK state pension.


The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement



EU Forms

Some of these forms may be available and may allow access into the French system and your benefit country takes responsibility for medical cover in line with French norms.

You can apply to join the French medical system after a period of stable and regular résidence in France and usually 3 months after your visa is validated Service Public - PUMa 


OFII (French Office for Immigration and Integration - Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Intégration)

Legal residence is now harder for arrivals from the UK after 31 December 2020 but is far from impossible! Requirements may include language and other integration requirements. You need to meet the OFII rules. OFII Website


ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System)

In the next couple of years, the Schengen area will introduce the ETIAS scheme - the European Travel Information and Authorisation System. This will track movements more effectively and electronically. EU ETIAS


RIFT Signposts:

UK Government

Living in France Guide


French Government

French Embassy/Consulate


Visa Wizard


France Visas

Apply for a French visa


A French Government Booklet in English “Living in France”. Slightly out of date but good

English Booklet download



This site

Welcome to France


French Property Guides

Comprehensive Guides from French Property


Facebook Groups


How to Move to France After Brexit


There are numerous Facebook groups on related topics. Choose your groups carefully and be wary of giving out personal information. Many ‘advisory’ groups are run by people who ultimately want to make money from providing you with services.


RIFT provides these links for information for those planning to move to France. The list is not exhaustive and none of the groups is endorsed by RIFT and we do not accept any liability arising to any person for any loss or damage suffered through using these links. Official government sources may be relied upon.

Justine Wallington - updated 04/10/21

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