Can I travel to France from UK to buy and move into my new main home?

A reader with a long-stay visa for France has asked about moving over during Covid restrictions

7 January 2022

A reader is looking to move to France to buy a house Pic: Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock

By Liv Rowland

RQ: I have a long-stay visa lasting a year from January 15, 2022. I am buying a house in France and am due to sign the acte de vente sale contract on January 20. I would like to travel on January 15-16 and move in immediately after signing the contract. Am I allowed to travel to France under the current rules? My long-stay visa was granted recently and I declared that my intention is to become a resident.

Currently, British people may only enter France from the UK if they can show an ‘essential reason’ for doing so.

Read more: France’s two new essential reasons for travel from the UK

Read more: Covid: The 22 essential reasons for travel between the UK and France 

The official ‘essential reasons’ are set out in a list and at present include third country citizens with valid long-stay visas who are going to their main residence in France as well as those transiting through to a main home in another EU country.

Third country refers to nationalities apart from the EU and EEA or Switzerland, therefore British people are included.

Technically-speaking, when you travel to France on January 15-16 your French house will not yet be your main residence, however as you will be leaving the UK to make France your home and will be moving into the house immediately after signing we would consider this to be closely equivalent.

We are seeking confirmation from the French consulate in London on this point and will update this article if received.

The consulate states, meanwhile, that if you have an urgent reason for going which does not appear specifically on the list (which can be found at the bottom of this page) then you can email it to request authorisation.

This may be agreed in ‘exceptional circumstances’, the consulate says.

We advise emailing to double-check your plans are acceptable.

The email address for requests is: visas.londres-fslt@diplomatie.gouv.fr

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