France Court Rejects Visa Deal For British Second Home Owners

France Court Rejects Visa Deal For British Second Home Owners

British owners of second homes in France have been handed a setback after a state official revoked their exemption from stringent limits on their time in France.

The measure, which would allow British citizens who own property in France to stay in the country for more than 90 days without a visa after Brexit, was struck down by the Constitutional Council, France's highest constitutional authority, from a broad immigration bill passed by parliament in December.

France's constitutional council announced on 25 January that it has rejected a proposal to lift post-Brexit visa requirements for British second-home owners.

France's highest constitutional authority rejected more than a third of the articles in the highly controversial immigration bill.

Other parts of the bill, including toughening access to social benefits and family reunification, as well as the introduction of immigration quotas set by parliament, were also scrapped.

The second-home amendment was a late addition to a bill that was originally intended to deal with undocumented workers and other immigration rules.

Why The Plan Was Rejected

The nine members of the council, who are known as les sages (the wise ones), threw out the measure on procedural grounds, as the amendment related to second homes did not bear enough resemblance to the original wording of the bill.

This rationale focuses on “legislative riders” or articles that have “nothing to do with the purpose of the law”.

Basically, it means that amendments to the bill have to comply with the original reasons French President Emmanuel Macron laid out to the Constitutional Council, which included “controlling immigration and improving integration”.

What This Means To Second Home Owners in France

The decision of the Constitutional Council is final, meaning that no appeal can be made. A similar proposition may, however, be presented in the context of a different bill in the future. 

This means that the current procedures for stays in France remain in place for British second-home owners.

They currently have two choices; limit their visits to 90 days in every 180 or apply for a short-stay visitor visa.

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