France blocks plans to let British expats stay longer than 90 days without a visa

France blocks plans to let British expats stay longer than 90 days without a visa

A new law which would have allowed British second-home owners an automatic long-stay visa has been rejected by a French court for being “unconstitutional”.

The amendment to an immigration bill would have let British expats with a second home or holiday home in France stay for more than 90 days without needing a visa.

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It had already passed through the two houses of the Senate but was rejected for being unconstitutional and having no direct or indirect link to the immigration bill.

The decision to reject the amendment is final as there are no appeals in France’s Constitutional Court.

How long can British expats stay in France?

The rejection of the amendment will come as a blow to the roughly 86,000 British people who own a second home in France.

After Brexit, UK citizens became third-country nationals to the EU and lost their right to stay indefinitely. They are now only able to stay in France for 90 out of every 180 days unless they apply for a temporary long-stay visa which lasts up to six months at a time or permanent residency

If they stay for longer without a visa, they could face a ban and expulsion from France and the rest of the EU.

It is also tough for those who may have expected visa rules to be eased after the amendment was proposed.

In the three weeks after it was tabled, there was a 582 per cent increase in people inquiring about properties in France according to UK-based international property portal Kyero.

Why did French politicians want to let Brits stay for longer?

In November, French senator Martine Berthet said that preventing Brits from contributing to local economies in the country would add to the growing number of empty properties in tourist areas. She tabled the amendment after complaints from British citizens living in her department, Savoie in the French Alps.

Brexit has meant many Brits with second homes in France, Italy and Spain have been visiting less as extended stays now require a visa. For some, the added paperwork and visa requirements have led them to sell their properties.

Around 177,000 British citizens live full-time in France with a residency permit, making up an estimated 24 per cent of foreigners living in the country, according to a survey by expat community InterNations.


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