Brittany’s regional council has told The Connexion it is willing to raise the issue of possible relaxation of the 90/180 days rule for British visitors to France with the French government.
We asked several French regions if they are aware of the issue and interested in raising the topic with the government after UK media reported that the Spanish region of Valencia has been lobbying its government on behalf of Britons in Spain.
Spain’s tourism minister is said to be looking into what could be done as a result.
Brittany’s regional council has responded positively to our queries, saying that it is interested in taking this up after hearing how British second-home owners in its area are affected by the rule.
A spokesman said: “The Brittany region is fully available to raise this subject with the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.”
He added the council will also “not fail to inform” the ministry about the issue, if approached about it as part of moves to deal with the question further at national level.
We have asked if the council can inform us of any follow-up action it may choose to take on this and we continue to raise it with other regions of France.
Since Brexit has applied in full since January 1, 2021 British visitors must not overstay in the Schengen area more than 90 days in any 180-day rolling period, without a visa.
Read more: How does the EU’s 90-day rule work?
This is a standard EU rule for non-EU citizens, however some British second-home owners have wondered if more flexibility is possible, considering that under UK immigration rules EU visitors may stay for up to six months consecutively.
At present British visitors may not come to six-months in France in one go, without a time-consuming and costly application for a temporary long-stay visa.
Read more: A guide to the temporary long-stay visa for France
At the end of 2020, France’s Europe Minister Clément Beaune told senator for the French abroad Olivier Cadic, who asked him about the issue on our behalf, that if no extra flexibility was agreed in the UK/EU trade and cooperation agreement (which it was not), then ‘national measures’ could be considered by France.
The video at this link records Mr Beaune’s comments about this.
However we have not had a response so far to questions as to whether this is under review.
It is unclear at present what solutions could be found.
European Commission sources told The Connexion, they cannot rule out the possibility of a solution being found to give more flexibility to British visitors, but they would have to look into any potential solution proposed by France to see if it is compliant with EU laws.
The 90/180-day rule dates from agreements signed in the 1980s and 1990s and one exception we are aware of concerns nationals of countries, such as Canada and the US, which had relevant bilateral deals with France pre-dating 2000.
They can, in theory, ask their prefecture for a three-month extension, in France only, beyond the original 90 days.
However, Allison Lounes of Franceformation, who helps Americans and others with French visas, said she has never heard of any American visitors relying on this.
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