The Good Life France

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EU 90 day stay rule

Glass bottle with a note inside reading France, washed up on a beach

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, British citizens are now required to follow non-EU visitor rules. This essentially means visits to France and anywhere in Europe (Schengen Zone) are limited to stays of 90 days within any 180 day period.

How the 90 days rule works for France and Europe

If you go to France from the UK and spend 7 days there then go on to Italy for a further 7 days, your 90/180 day allocation starts the day you arrive and ends the day you leave the Schengen Zone. You will have used 14 days.

The 180 day period is counted from the date of entry to the Schengen Zone – it’s not a static period but a rolling time frame according to when you spend time in Europe. If you stay in France for instance June (30 days), July (31 days) and August (you can only spend 29 days), technically you would then not be able to spend more time in Europe until 90 days has passed. The days don’t have to be consecutive, the total is cumulative. Each time you leave the Schengen Zone, the 90/180 allowance is reset. There are online calculators to help you track your time in Europe. This one is from the European Commission: ec.europa.eu/homeaffairs/content/visa-calculator

Potentially, overstaying can result in your being told to leave Europe. It may also mean that you may be refused entry or a visa for longer stays at a later date.

This includes second-home owners.

Can I stay longer than 90 days in France?

Yes, you can stay longer than 90 days out of 180 in France. You’ll need to apply for a visa. There are several types available according to what basis you want to stay. For example, a visa de long sejour covers you for four to six months. A visa de long sejour valant titre de sejour covers you for 12 months. A carte de sejour is for those wanting to make the move to France permanent. The French Government website has details of all visas, and you can apply online for visas here france-visas.gour.fr though you may be required to attend an in-person interview to obtain a visa (and there are fees to pay).

Complicated? Yes it is. For Britons who want to spend time in France, the requirements are now the same as for countries like the US and Australia. So, it’s doable. But just keep an eye on the time you spend in France. Note down the dates somewhere and ensure you don’t spend more than 90 days in any rolling 180 day period.

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