Reader Question: We are Britons who obtained French citizenship and are now moving back to the UK. Can we keep our French healthcare benefits and bank accounts?
Firstly, the good news is that as you have French citizenship and not merely residency, this will not be lost by moving abroad - but you should be aware of certain rules regarding the timing of your departure after obtaining French nationality.
If you have recently received French citizenship and are a dual national of another country, it can be revoked if you move abroad within the first two years of receiving it.
Otherwise, once abroad you will continue to keep your citizenship advantages, such as the right to vote in French elections.
You need to inform a number of services, such as the Caisse Primaire Assurance Maladie and your local tax office, of your departure so that your status can be changed to that of a ‘non-resident’.
This non-resident status will affect your access to some services in France as well as the kinds of taxes you may need to pay - particularly if you maintain a property in the country, which is why you must let them know as soon as possible.
Keeping healthcare benefits
In terms of healthcare, by updating your situation with the authorities above, you are informing the state that you are no longer resident in France.
Anyone who leaves France, including French citizens, surrender their access to the social security system and their carte Vitale, and it is recommended that you return your carte Vitale before you leave.
If you do not inform the authorities and then return to France at a later date, you may face problems with social security coverage.
Before, or within one month of leaving France, you must complete an ‘S1105 Déclaration de transfert de résidence hors de France’ form.
As a citizen, you may be able to obtain some healthcare coverage through the ‘Caisse des Français de l'étranger’ (CFE) which offers French social security coverage for French citizens abroad, using the official website, including for retirees and students moving abroad.
If you apply to the CFE, there are different types of health insurance you can purchase - some of which are applicable across the world and others, such as FranExpatSanté, only within France.
As you are moving to a nation where you also hold citizenship, and thus are able to access the healthcare system, it may be cheaper to purchase the FranExpatSanté insurance so you are covered when in France.
If you later return to live in France, you can fully rejoin the health system (and get a carte Vitale again), but you must be living here to benefit from this.
Read more: Online health account in France: six useful things you can do
Keeping a bank account
Regarding a bank account, it is possible (and perhaps beneficial) to keep your French bank account after moving away from France.
You must let the bank know that you no longer live in France so it can update your details and class you as a non-resident, just like with the health and tax services.
Most major French banks have dedicated international teams, and may offer specific services for account holders who live abroad, such as special card cover or international payment cards.
It may be the case that some standard charges on your account may increase; The Connexion recently wrote an article about how to save money on banking charges for French accounts which may help you.
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