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Apr 24

Looking to Move to France Post Brexit ?

Moving to France Post Brexit


Dear Alex,

My partner and I are looking to move to France but are really confused about whether we have enough money to be accepted into the country after Brexit.

Our situation is that I am 55 and on a drawdown. pension which will expire in 2025 whereupon then my partner's pension will then kick into action. All told we have around £50,000 inclusive of my pension and once our house is sold we will be purchasing a house in France outright.

We are also looking to acquire a gite to renovate and rent out. Neither of us work at present (through choice).

We would be living on £50,000 for 2 years until my partner's pension comes into play when he is 55.

Would our respectives situations suit entry to the country?

Thank you very much for any information you can supply in this regard.

Kind regards, Ann-Marie.


Hi Ann-Marie,

Many thanks for your message,

Obviously I am not an expert on these matters, but I understand that the minimum income requirement is 2,273 euros per month for a couple without children. As fas as I know there are not rules around savings, but here is some further info about visas along with a link to the French government website, which hopefully will be useful to you,

VLS-T (Visiteur) – The visa de long séjour temporaire ‘visiteur’ (VLS-T Visiteur) entitles you to stay for between three and six months, so this is the visa type that will be most useful to second home owners hoping to spend the warmer months of the year in France. You must leave France when it runs out but can reapply on an annual basis from the UK.

VLS-TS (Visiteur) – The visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour ‘visiteur’ (VLS-TS Visiteur) entitles you to stay for between six months and a year and is equivalent to a residence permit. This is the type of visa that will be particularly useful to people who want to try out France before moving there, although it does not permit you to work. On arrival in France, you must validate this visa through the French immigration office (OFII). You will have to pay a fee understood to be around €200 and the OFII reserves the right to call you for a meeting to carry out other formalities such as a medical examination and/or welcome visit. In the two months before the VLS-TS expires, you have the option of submitting a residence permit application to your local préfecture.

What are the requirements?

To obtain either of these long-stay visas, you must apply online and undergo an interview at a French Consular office in London, Manchester or Edinburgh. Both types of visa cost €99 (about £86) and there may also be a smaller service fee. You’ll be required to provide several documents and assurances, including that you won’t engage in any professional activity during your stay.

If your spouse or long-term partner is an EU citizen, you will still to apply for a visa but it likely that it will be more straightforward than if you are not in such a relationship.

At the interview, you will need to:

- Show your passport was issued less than 10 years ago and that it will still be valid at least three months after the expiry date of the visa you’re requesting

- Provide a passport photo

- Promise not to undertake any professional activity in France and prove your socio-economic situation (eg working/retired)

- Show you have travel health insurance for the duration of the visa’s validity

- Provide proof of your property title or rental agreement. If you are staying with hosts, you must prove that they are resident in France.

- Provide the last three months’ worth of bank statements for your UK current account, showing your full name and address, and proving you have enough funds for the whole duration of the trip (see below), or traveller’s cheques presenting the same guarantees. If you are financially sponsored by your spouse/partner, you must provide a marriage certificate and your partner’s bank statements.

Cdlt et Regards, SHARON.

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Jul 30

There is no charge for the support we provide


Hi Alex, We are looking to sell our UK property early next year and live in our touring caravan in France whilst looking for a property to buy. I frequently look at your website and have seen some stunning property in our price range. Are Cle France able to help us with utilities, etc and also the actual reality of becoming a French resident? Many thanks for your advice, Helen


Hi Helen, Many thanks for your message,

And yes, absolutely, we support our clients right the way through their property search, from initially arranging your viewing schedule, through to support during the purchasing process and help once you have competed: this includes transfer for utilities into your name, assistance with opening a bank account, insuring your property, health insurance and going through the residency process. In fact anything you may need we endeavour to help you.

I should add there is no charge for this support, and that you pay the same fees as a French person buying their home.

Once you have an idea of the dates of your visit let me know, and we’ll get started for you!

You can also download our Free Guide to Brexit PDF here.

Have you got a question?

If so we will answer it....

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Jul 30

My dream has always been to live in France


Hello Alex, My dream has always been to live in France but work in the UK. My job allows me a lot of flexibility and I can work from home a lot so I don't need to be in my office every week. I was planning my move within the next 2 years and was interested in southern France such as the Dordogne not far from an airport.

However, as our current government has been hell bent on acting like a lunatic by leaving Europe I'm wondering if my dreams will now be shattered?

Could you tell me how difficult is it going to be to move my main residence to France if this current idiotic government decides to leave the EU without a deal?

I feel so strongly about this and staying in the EU that I would even consider becoming a French citizen if I was allowed to.

Most of the money I would need would come from my UK house sale, so I would have around £90,000 available.

Thanks, Yours sincerely, Andrew.


Hi Andrew, Brexit is a big question, and quite complex for me to try to answer succinctly: but there are quite a few articles on our blog pages on the website from various sources, especially from our legal contacts, so do have a browse over those, though with the situation changing so much they may be a bit out of date in some respects.

My own view is that 'BREXIT’ may or may not happen, nothing would surprise me anymore. And what has surprised me most is that for us nothing much has changed, British people are still moving to France to live, in fact we've just had our busiest month in 8 years, I think there’s a degree of people moving as quickly as possible whilst they still can.

But whatever happens the process of withdrawing from the EU will not be a speedy one, and the residency of those ex-pats living in France and elsewhere in the EU will no doubt continue to form a part of that negotiation process.

When I moved to France a residency permit known as the ‘Carte De Sejour’ was required; it was a relatively straightforward application process (or at least as straightforward as a French bureaucratic process can be!) Perhaps this would be re-introduced for British residents in the future, or it may be that you would need to apply for residency in the same way that Americans, Australians and other non EU countries do, for now we simply do not know. Of course owning holiday homes abroad will remain as it is today, there is no restrictions for non EU members on owning a house in France.

Clearly there remain many questions to be answered, and fine details to be ironed out. But what is becoming apparent is that this will be a long process, possibly years in the making, and we will of course bring further news as and when it becomes available during the coming months. But in the meantime life continues much as it always has done: the British have always lived, worked and retired to sunnier climes, and that will doubtless continue, even if some administrative aspects of live abroad may change.

You can also download our Free Guide to Brexit PDF here.

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Sep 20

Buying French Property to Renovate and Re-Sell

Question: Dear Sir/Madam, I will be very grateful if you can explain to me the possibility of buying properties which need full repair, repair them and put them on the market for sale again, I spend a long time going through your website and there are many properties but the problem is with the right area and properties in good condition stay on the market for a long time and not selling. Could you please direct me and your advice are appreciated.

Thank you. Best Regards, Dave G.

Answer: Hi Dave, sorry for the delay in replying, I have just returned from holiday, now a long distant memory and back to work!

What you suggest is certainly possible and I know of many people that have done this and still do it. In terms of re-selling the lower value properties tend to move quicker so a typical rural 2 bed cottage with garden for resale value around 50K or so is the best target renovation project and depending on how much work you want to do you can pick up barns for 5K sometimes or ‘projects’ from anything around 10K to 30K+ etc.

The capital gains tax you will have to pay to ‘turn-over’ the projects quickly is based on the profit you make on the sale of course unless you live in each project full time during the renovations and claim it as your principal residence and therefore not subject to capital gains. Or if you really want to make a good living then you could register as a business with the activity 'Marchand de Biens’ which is basically a property developer.

I worked as a 'Maitre d’Oeuvre’ in the Pays de la Loire region of France for 12 years from 2001, basically a Project Manager renovating properties for clients and I did 5 of my own properties during that time, so it is possible to do and rewarding however I would offer a few words of caution!

Buying a run down barn or house, renovating it over time and re-selling it is not as profitable as it is in the UK where in general property prices are higher and the demand is greater. In France in my experience the margin of profit is very small in terms of the amount you tend to spend on materials and specialist artisans such as Plumbers and Electricians perhaps added to the capital outlay for the building itself tends to add up to just a little less than the final value of the property.

Going for grander sized projects would give more scope for profit but the downside is that they take longer to sell.

So in summery I know people who have made a living doing what you are suggesting but I don’t know http any of them have become very rich from the activity but if earning a living doing what you like doing is for you then the lifestyle in rural France and the experience of renovating old properties is not a bad life to lead.

Hope this helps and stay in touch, Many thanks David.

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Aug 17

Driving in France

My earliest Holiday memories are of driving through France and stopping off at small family run hotels when the light started to dim, not booking anywhere just seeing where the road would take us. These are holidays I will never forget.

Many years later I would be the driver of the car and my family would be enjoying the 'carefree' approach that comes with a driving holiday in France. It can be a great way of getting into the heart of the French countryside and experiencing traditional France.

But when you are driving through France there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Did you know that the legal age to drive in France is 18 years of age and even if you have a full licence from another country and you are under that age, then you are still not allowed to drive in France?

Every passenger must wear a seatbelt and it is illegal for a child under the age of 10 to be in the front seat. Babies are allowed to travel in the front passenger seat, but only when placed in an approved rear-facing baby seat and the airbag is turned off.

You must always stop at a zebra crossing, which is enforced by law and when going through a town you will find a lot of them; but you should be very careful when you are the pedestrian, as the French do not seem to obey this rule as much as they should!

Watch your speed!  If you are stopped for speeding you can be fined on the spot and the fines have to be paid in cash there and then, which can be quite expensive.  If you cannot pay or you are travelling more than 25km/h above the speed limit, then your car can be impounded and you could end up with a very hefty fine or even lose your licence. So be careful, especially when on the toll roads, as you do not want your driving holiday to come to an abrupt end!

The motorways are 130km per hour, but this is reduced in bad weather down to 110km per hour and on duel carriageways and main roads the same rules apply, where the speed limit is reduced in bad weather.  A duel carriageway is 110km per hour and main roads are 90km per hour, with the peripherie being 80km per hour and towns or minor roads being a maximum of 50km per hour.  Our top tip to save money would be "don't fill up on the motorway!" Wait until a major intersection near a town or city, and come off the motorway. You will almost certainly find a hypermarket / superstore within a kilometre or so of the exit, offering cut price fuel. The saving can be us much as 15 centimes per litre.

Here are the normal speed limits for driving in France:

  • The normal speed limit on French motorways is 130 km/hr (just over 80 mph). - or 110 km/hr in rain.
  • The normal speed limit on dual carriageways (divided highways) 110 km/hr
  • The normal speed limit on main roads is 90 km/hr (outside built-up areas)
  • The normal speed limit in built-up areas is 50 km/hr – unless otherwise indicated.

The French Government do publish information on exactly where speed traps are located and this is one of the reasons why it is illegal to have a radar detector fitted to your vehicle.

In bad weather, fog etc, even during the day, it is compulsory to use your lights but you do not have to keep your lights on during the day at any other time.

Obviously you must have deflectors fitted to your headlights if you have a right-hand drive vehicle and by law you must have a set of replacement bulbs, a warning triangle and a 'gilet' high visibility waistcoat with you at all times.  But it is always advisable to check the regulations prior to your holiday in France, as they do change from time to time.

Most of the rules are common sense and are the same as in the UK such as it is an offence to hold and use a mobile phone while driving in France. Hands-free use of mobile phones is not illegal. Though many drivers ignore this rule, traffic police are clamping down on drivers holding phones to their ears while driving, and drivers are liable to an on-the-spot fine.

The insurance document is most commonly the "green card", though a standard insurance document from any EU country provides basic insurance for your vehicle (third party cover) throughout the Union, whether or not a green card is provided. Check in with your insurer before you arrive in France to insure you are covered correctly. 

Breakdown or accident: If you are involved in any accident involving two or more vehicles while driving in France, you will be asked to fill in a "constat amiable" (an amiable declaration) by the driver of a French car involved. This is standard practice. If possible, call your insurance company at once on your mobile phone. They may put you in touch with a local French representative. If your car is immobilised on or partly on the road due to a breakdown or an accident, you must set up your red warning triangle at a suitable distance behind the vehicle, to alert approaching traffic to the hazard.

If you are involved in an accident involving any sort of injury - even if it is not your fault - you MUST remain until the police have come.

So, armed with all the essential information you need, and with your vehicle well prepared for the journey, enjoy the experience and the beautiful scenery when you are on your driving holiday in France.

Blog submitted by: David at Cle France.

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