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Buying a property in France After Brexit

Post Brexit, we ask the property experts at Leggett Immobilier what effect Brexit has had for British buyers of property in France…

What does Brexit mean for Brits with holiday homes or who live or want to live in France

There are several big changes post Brexit. For holiday home owners – the biggest change is to the time you are allowed to spend in France. And for those who want to live in France permanently, you will require a visa.

Q. I’m buying a holiday home, how have things changed?

A. The process of buying a property is unchanged. The cost of purchase is the same regardless of nationality and remains amongst the lowest in Europe (Notaires fees are around 7%). There is no difference to Capital Gains Tax which currently has a basic rate of 34.5% (19% + 15.5% social charges) regardless of nationality.

The annual taxe fonciere (paying towards local services) and taxe d’habitation (paying for residency, including TV licence) are not affected – these are usually well below the cost of council taxes in the UK.

The UK Government has said that you can use your current EHIC card until it expires. If you don’t hold an EHIC card you can apply for the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) here. There is no charge for this card and it will allow you to access state provided healthcare in France whilst visiting. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions.

The big change is that visitors may stay for only 90 days out of 180 days. A visa is not required in this instance. This limit covers the whole of the EU. If you want to stay longer than 90 days you’ll need to apply for a Long Stay Visa. here are many different types but as a holiday home owner you will probably apply for a Visa de Long Sejour Temporaire Visiteur. Details are available from the French Government (in English) here.

Q. I’m moving permanently, how have things changed?

A. The cost of property purchase and taxes payable will not change (see above). If you are retired and Britain becomes a member of the EEA your pension and health entitlements are protected.

But there are several major differences to pre-Brexit. Since you will be staying more than 90 days, you must apply for a long term visa before applying for a residency permit at your local Prefecture. Then you can apply for a 5 year residency permit which will be exchanged for a permanent residency permit after 5 years. In order to achieve the long stay visa and residence permit (Carte de Sejour) you must now meet the qualifications set out by the French Government including proof of sufficient income. Each application is considered on a case by case basis and take into account several factors including income and assets (including income from a UK rental property) and healthcare insurance.

Once you are registered to live in France you can apply for a Carte Vitale which covers your healthcare. If you receive a UK retirement pension (public not private) you can apply as an S1 holder. If you have taken early retirement, or are not working you can apply for healthcare through the PUMa Scheme (Protection Universelle Maladie). You must have private healthcare cover in place if you are in France on a long term visa and awaiting healthcare as above.

Q. Will there be any changes to the property taxes I pay?

A. No

Q. Will I need to get French nationality?

A. No, although there has been an increase in current expats are applying for dual nationality. This usually takes around 18 months and involves a language and “cultural knowledge” test.

Q. Will I still be able to get a French mortgage?

A. Yes. Brexit does not affect you getting a French mortgage in any way.

You can find more detailed information at: Leggett Immobilier

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