Recent developments in France’s immigration policy could bring significant changes for British second-home owners in the country. A new law, part of a broader immigration bill, has been proposed and is currently under review, which, if approved, would grant automatic long-stay visa rights to Britons owning second homes in France.
However, it’s important to note that this legislation is still subject to approval by the Conseil constitutionnel (constitutional council) and the Conseil d’Etat (state council), and either body could potentially strike down the motion.
Key Points of France’s Automatic Visa Plan for British Second-Home Owners
Under the new automatic visa plan, UK second-home owners in France stand to benefit significantly from a series of key changes designed to simplify and streamline their stay in the country. This plan, a thoughtful response to the complexities brought about by Brexit, represents a crucial step in maintaining the strong relationship between the UK and France, especially in the realm of property ownership and residency. The following points outline the main features of this new policy, highlighting how it aims to ease the process for those Britons who have chosen to invest in the French real estate market.
Automatic Long-Stay Visa Right
The new law stipulates that Britons with second homes in France will automatically obtain a long-stay visa right. This eliminates the need for the lengthy process usually involved in obtaining a long-stay visa, which previously required extensive online and in-person paperwork.
Proof of Home Ownership
It’s likely that Britons might need to present proof of home ownership at the border. This could involve carrying documentation or applying for a new document that proves their right to stay.
Rationale Behind the Change
The law aims to simplify the entry procedures for British second-home owners, who have faced complexities due to Brexit. Previously, they had to apply for temporary long-stay visas each time they wished to stay for more than three months. The new law acknowledges their contribution to local French communities and the economy.
Potential Implementation Timeline
While there is no definitive timeline for the implementation of this law, it is possible that the new system could be in place by the summer of 2024. However, it’s advised not to delay visa applications for stays starting in spring or summer 2024, as the new law’s application process and border control measures still require clarification and setup.
Opposition and Support
Despite some opposition from left-wing MPs in France, and arguments that the amendment has no direct link to the broader immigration law, opponents believe the law may not stand. It has been noted that no objections were raised regarding its relevance or constitutionality during parliamentary debates.
The new immigration bill in France, of which this law is a part, aims to restrict overall immigration, with around 27 provisions focusing on various aspects. It includes rules for foreign people’s residency cards and border control, and aims to address labour shortages in certain sectors.
While this development primarily concerns non-tax resident second-home owners in France, it’s an important indicator of the evolving immigration landscape in the post-Brexit era.
Impact of Brexit
This change is particularly significant in the context of Brexit, which altered the rights of Britons in the EU, including their movement and stay in France. Prior to Brexit, Britons could freely move and stay for up to half of the year in France.
This development is a key consideration for financial planning and property management for British citizens with second homes in France. Understanding these new legal changes and preparing for their implications will be crucial for effective property and financial management by firms like Blacktower Financial Management.
This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions.