French Senate Approves Easier Travel for British Second-Home Owners

French Senate Approves Easier Travel for British Second-Home Owners

On November 8, the French Senate took a significant step towards facilitating travel for British second-home owners who, post-Brexit, have faced a 90-day restriction on visa-free travel to France.

The Senate's decision involves the adoption of an amendment to the proposed new Immigration Law, specifically aimed at simplifying entry conditions for British citizens who own second homes in France.

The primary objective is to establish a visa exemption for British individuals owning second homes in France. However, the specifics of its implementation and the required documentation for border crossings between the United Kingdom and France remain unclear.

The resolution stipulates that “the conditions for the application of this article shall be specified by decree in the Conseil d'Etat.”

Senator Martine Berthet, representing the Alpine region of Savoie and affiliated with the right-wing Les Républicains party, submitted the amendment.

This marks just the initial phase of the legislative process. For the amendment to become law, it must also receive approval in the Assemblée nationale, with debates on the Immigration bill set to commence in December.

In case of disagreements between the Senate and Assemblée on any aspect of the bill, the Assemblée holds the final decision-making authority.

Currently, British nationals, including second-home owners, can stay in France for a maximum of three months. Second-home owners have the option to apply for a temporary long-stay visa, typically valid for four to six months, with applications required for each period.

Since the UK's departure from the EU, British citizens no longer enjoy free movement within the Schengen area, and they are limited to a 90-day stay within every 180-day period

The evolving legislation seeks to address and streamline these travel limitations for British second-home owners.

What Does the Concept of Automatic Visas Entail?

The proposal from the French senate suggests that British individuals who own second homes in France should be entitled to long-stay visas by default—automatically.

Essentially, this would mean that if an individual is British, does not have their primary residence in France, but possesses a residential property in the country, they should be able to enter and exit freely, staying beyond three months without the need for extensive paperwork.

If the ‘automatic visa' concept is approved, eligible British citizens with French second-homes would be able to visit their properties in France without the usual administrative barriers and without the need for a visa stamp.

However, they would still be required to carry proof of property ownership, with the specific documentation details outlined in a forthcoming decree.

Do you have plans to travel to France? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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