For second-home owners in France or those looking to buy French property after Brexit, one of the biggest concerns post-Brexit is the changes regarding travelling to France. British travellers can now only travel to France for up to 90 days within any 180 day period*, and those hoping to stay longer than 90 days will need to apply for a long-stay visa.
What Kind of Visa Do You Need?
Second-home owners will need a long-stay visa or visa de long séjour temporaire visiteur. This visa is valid for up to a year and is renewable (presuming that you continue to meet the requirements). This means that you can travel to and from France as many times as you like within the 12-month period or spend the entire 12 months in France.
This visa does not allow you to work or study while you are in France.
Long-Stay Visa Requirements in France
Long-stay visa applications are considered on an individual basis, and you must prove that you have sufficient funds and healthcare coverage for the duration of your stay. But what does this mean in practice?
The French Embassy in the UK states the following requirements:
Sufficient funds required for a single person are €1,219 monthly net, over a year. You must show that you have sufficient funds for the entire 12-month validity of your visa (even if you only intend to stay for six months), either through proof of regular income or by depositing the entire amount (around €14,000) in a bank account.
These funds can be from personal income, savings, annuities or pensions, or other valid income sources. You can also be financially sponsored by a spouse, partner, or family member.
You must have health insurance for the full duration of the visa’s validity period (12 months). The official wording is that this must be a “private health insurance policy covering all medical expenses”. However, there is a lack of clarity over whether this can be met by a comprehensive travel medical insurance policy or whether it would need to be a private health insurance (PHI) policy.
Be sure to discuss these needs with your health insurance provider before taking out your policy and contact the French Embassy in the UK if you are unsure.
It’s also worth noting that the Global Health Insurance Card (the UK’s new version of the European Health Insurance Card) is not sufficient. While this provides access to emergency treatment and routine healthcare, it does not cover repatriation costs, mountain rescue, or private medical healthcare, and therefore will not be accepted as proof of healthcare for a visa application.
*Note: We have heard different varying accounts of health insurance being accepted. Some readers have struggled with having a comprehensive insurance policy accepted as valid, while others have reported being able to apply with an in-date EHIC card (which remain valid for British citizens until the renewal date IF you already had one prior to Brexit). We will keep you updated as we learn more.
What Documents Do You Need to Provide for a Long-Stay Visa?
The required documents you will need for your Long-Stay Visa application are as follows:
- Your British passport (this must be less than 10 years old, with a validity of at least 3 months longer than the visa expiry date you are applying for).
- 2 x ID photographs (following passport-style regulations)
- Proof of UK residence if you are not a British citizen
- Proof of your socio-economic situation (retired, employed, self-employed, etc.)
- An attestation stating the purpose for your stay (for example, that you are a second-home owner wishing to visit or carry out maintenance on your holiday home) and that you will not exercise any professional activity in France
- Proof of your travel health insurance
- Proof of your French residence, rental agreement, or intended place of residence
- Proof of sufficient funds (for example, 3 months of UK bank statements with your full name and address, those of your spouse/partner along with your marriage certificate, or savings account with the full amount).
How to Apply for Your Long-Stay Visa in France
For UK residents, you can apply for your long-stay visa in France via the France Visas Online Portal.
This process can be done online, after which you will need to make an appointment at your local visa centre—visit the French Embassy in the UK to find your nearest embassy. You will need to print out the receipt of your application and bring it, along with all required documents, to the meeting. When your visa is ready, you will go back to the embassy to pick it up. During the final meeting, you will also have a biometric iris scan and fingerprints taken (these are retained for five years by the French Consulate).
The whole process can take time, so it’s recommended to start the application process as soon as you know your travel plans.
How Much is a French Long-Stay Visa?
Typically, a long-stay visa costs €99. It’s important to note that this is the fee for the application, and it is not refundable even in the case that your visa application is denied.
However, you may also need to translate documents into French, so budget for extra costs on top of this. The French Embassy in the UK can advise you on this.
Tips for Applying for Your Long-Stay Visa
Some tried and tested tips from our readers:
- When applying online you MUST remember to print out (or save to your computer) the completed Application and Registration Receipt (available at the end of the application process). If you try to print these out later, they will be ‘draft’ copies and not accepted when you go in for your in-person meeting.
- Print-outs of bank statements are accepted, but you must find at least one with your address at the top and this can be tricky if you only have online statements. An old statement showing the address, accompanied by recent statements showing your balance may be accepted.
*Remember that COVID-19 regulations are still in place in both France and the UK. Be sure to check the latest rules before travelling: see our articles on travel between France and the UK and France’s traffic light system.
Have you applied for a long-stay visa in France? Get in touch and let us know your experience.
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