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Can I travel to France from UK to sell my second home?

France introduced a partial lockdown on April 3 meaning you need an essential reason to travel around the country. We explain how it works and what documents you need

One reason for travelling more than 10km from your home during France's partial lockdown is to carry out administrative procedures, although most such processes are now being done remotely Pic: Rafa Bordes / Pixabay

Reader question: We have a valid reason to visit our second home in France (we are preparing it for sale and will sign at notaries) but if we come by ferry and have to drive through several French departments to reach it what paperwork do we need to bring with us?

According to UK rules, it is possible for people in the UK to travel abroad if they are carrying out “activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property”.

You can read our explanation of this rule in our article here and find out what documents you need to leave the UK, enter France and then return to the UK. 

The process becomes more complicated once you reach France. 

France introduced a partial lockdown on April 3 - set to last at least four weeks - meaning that you need an essential reason to travel further than 10km from your home.

There are several essential reasons listed by the government on its exemption forms (attestations de déplacement).

One concerns moving home or buying and selling main residences:

  • Déplacements liés à un déménagement résultant d’un changement de domicile (Movement related to a change of residence) 
  • Déplacements indispensables à l’acquisition ou à la location d’une résidence principale, ne pouvant être différés (travel essential for the acquisition or rental of a principal residence, which cannot be deferred).

This option only allows travel if you are changing your address or buying, selling, letting or renting your main residence. This will not cover second home owners.

Another option on the list covers travel for administrative procedures that cannot otherwise be done remotely: 

  • Convocation judiciaire ou administrative, démarches ne pouvant être menées à distance (Judicial or administrative summons, procedures that cannot be carried out remotely):
    Déplacements pour répondre à une convocation judiciaire ou administrative, pour se rendre dans un service public ou chez un professionnel du droit, pour un acte ou une démarche qui ne peut être réalisé à distance (Travel to respond to a judicial or administrative summons, travel to visit a public service or a legal professional for formalities or proceedings that cannot be carried out remotely). 

Ticking this option will allow our reader to travel to a notaire’s office to complete paperwork there.

Alongside this attestation form, they should carry a justification letter from their notaire explaining why the meeting has to be done in person as well as any proof of address, proof of a meeting with the notaire, etc. that they have. 

It should be stressed that travelling under this option should only be done if it is impossible to manage the situation from a distance. 

Notaires in France have begun to carry out most administrative procedures remotely using video calls and a system of proxies - this allows the individual to designate another person to sign documents on their behalf.

In most cases, this proxy is an employee of the notaire’s office, who can physically represent the client at the time of signing in the office.

You should speak to your notaire before deciding to travel to France to assess what options there are to carry out the administrative procedure online.

Read more:

Brexit and Covid 'silver lining' for home sales in France

Second-home owners France: Can tax be reduced as Covid stopped visits?

Top 500 best places to live in France - is your commune on the list?

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- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
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