Here at Property Guides, we talk to many aspiring buyers, just like you, who are confused about the legalities of living in a second home in France. We’re here to straighten things out.
Since the United Kingdom departed the EU in January 2020, British citizens can no longer benefit from the free-EU travel that comes with being an EU citizen. Therefore, if you should wish to spend longer than 90 days, you must, in principle, hold a long-stay visa.
What’s the 90-day rule?
The 90-day rule is a flat rule for all non-EU citizens wishing to spend more than 90 days in every 180 in one or more European Union countries. It’s worth noting that this is a rolling timeframe, so if you plan to spend a few days in one country while en route to your holiday home in France, the 90-day countdown starts the second you enter an EU country.
Can I make it work without a visa?
It is possible to make it work without a visa, if you plan to spend no longer than 90 days in every 180 in France. For example, you could stay in your French holiday home for 88 days between January and the end of March, but you’d have to wait until the end of the 180-day period to return. i.e. the end of June/early July. From then, the same rule applies, you can spend 90 days (either in one go or spread out) within the following 180 days.
If you wish to stay longer than 90 days in every 180, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa.
Exceptions to the 90-day rule
If your spouse is from an EU country, you need not abide by the 90-day rule as you can benefit from their free-EU travel sans (without) visa. Please note, this only applies if you are married or in a civil partnership with an EU national, the EU state does not recognise non-married couples, so if your partner is an EU national but you’re not married, you would still need a visa to stay over 90 days.
Top second home destinations in France
The Nouvelle Aquitaine is the largest administrative region in France and is adored by international buyers because it offers such variety. For country lovers, Limousin and the Dordogne offer a taste of country life, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and community-led villages. For those seeking a larger town with great transport links, there’s a range of areas in Aquitaine that offer the best of both country and cosmopolitan life.
More commonly known as the French Riviera, the Côte d’Azur takes the number one spot. This comes as a result of its “strong offerings across all categories.” The index takes into account a range of factors including residential prices, leisure offerings, hospitality and global connectivity.