Can I move permanently to France from UK under Covid rules?

A combination of Covid-19 and Brexit means that moving to France from the UK right now is complicated

24 February 2021
By Thomas Brent

Reader question: Under the current travel restrictions in place for Covid, can we move to France from the UK?

There are limited reasons that people from outside of the EU can enter France at the moment.

The French government has outlined a list of all people currently allowed to enter.

The 21 essential reasons non-EU travellers can enter France

Under these rules, those with French residency permits and / or a long-stay visa whose main residence is in France can enter.

Before entering France they have to fill out an attestation de déplacement international.

For example those coming based on residency should tick the first box on the form: Ressortissant de pays tiers, titulaire d’un titre de séjour ou d’un visa de long séjour français ou européen en cours de validité, ayant sa résidence principale en France…

However the problem here in your situation is that even if you were able to obtain a long-stay visa - which is uncertain at present - as you have not yet physically moved permanently and do not yet have your main residence in France, you would be unlikely to qualify under the second requirement.

Others who are allowed to enter France currently are those with a visa de long séjour and who are coming as part of regroupement familial to join close family who already live in France.

Those with a visa de long séjour “Passeport Talent (for certain people doing highly-qualified and well-paid work) and higher education students also qualify under certain conditions. 

You can find out more about who is eligible to enter here

Anyone who does not fall into one of the categories listed on the attestation, will not currently be able to move to France.

Due to Brexit, Britons who are planning to move to France now must apply for a visa while in the UK, and then, later, at a French prefecture for a residency card (a carte or titre de séjour – the terms mean the same thing).

Allison Lounes, author of the Foolproof French Visas series of books and founder of the blog, told The Connexion in January that Covid-19 is complicating the visa process.

“A lot of the visa types are just not being processed – you can’t currently get a visitor visa to go to France,” she said. 

Visitor visas are the ones required for retirees or early retirees moving to France. 

Brexit and France: How visas, residency cards work in 2021

There are around 15 different types of long-stay visa. These can cover students, employees, people working self-employed, retirees etc. 

Brexit: How to obtain a visa to move to France

If you are a UK citizen in the UK and have recently bought a second home in France, you will not be able to travel there yet.

Covid-19: When will Britons be able to visit France again?

In terms of shipping property or furniture to France, this is still possible under current Covid-19 restrictions via removal companies which are considered necessary and so can continue to move freely between the UK and the EU. 

The Connexion spoke to Matthew James Removals & Storage, who confirmed this.

The spokesperson added, though, that due to Brexit rules there will be additional costs related to customs clearance procedure. He noted that these additional costs will be included in the initial quote. 

He also said customers will be required to complete additional documentation. 

Customs declarations needed to import many items into France

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