Reader question: Can I move house to what will become my main home, from the UK to France, even though France is on lockdown and England is about to go into lockdown?
Short answer: Yes.
The French Interior Ministry has urged people to delay moving home during the new (second) national lockdown in France wherever possible.
However, you can still do so if you have no other choice, according to La Chambre syndicale du déménagement following Prime Minister Jean Castex's press conference on October 29.
Mr Castex has said: "Moving house will also be authorised...with proof from the removal company, during this lockdown period.”
On moving day, you must have all necessary documentation in case you are stopped by police in France.
- Lease or deed of purchase for your new address;
- Any rental contract for your new address;
- Proof of business travel requested for companies (this can be supplied by your removals' company);
- A sworn affidavit explaining why you must move and the protocols you will put in place (an example of the affidavit for moving can be found here);
- An exemption certificate (Attestation dérogatoire de déplacement) and write "Déménagement" (moving) as your reason for travelling.
You will also need to download an attestation exemption form here (in French). There is an English version available and also an easy-read version with pictograms. There is also a digital version available via the TousAntiCovid smartphone app.
Moving house cannot be used as a reason for making lots of round trips to furniture stores, the French Transport Ministry has warned, although you can purchase essential items if you do not have any furniture.
Most stores are still accepting online orders and/or offering home delivery and “click and collect” contactless services, and you are advised to use these where possible.
Europe's internal borders remain open, so you should be able to leave the UK to travel to France, and enter France too, provided you follow all the local Covid-19 restrictions.
As mentioned above, you should have all your documentation on you in case you are challenged, including proof of house purchase or deed, your travel documents, and ID.
UK housing secretary Robert Jenrick has this week confirmed that even after lockdown is imposed in England (set to come into force from midnight on Thursday November 5), renters and homeowners will be able to move, and removal firms and estate agents will be able to continue operating.
Housing market update ahead of Thursday’s measures:— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) November 1, 2020
Renters & homeowners will be able to move
Removal firms and estate agents can operate
♀️Construction sites can and should continue
Tradespeople will be able to enter homes
But all must follow the Covid safety guidance
Everyone is of course expected to follow guidelines in both countries, such as physical distancing as much as possible, wearing masks and gloves, and having as few people inside a property at any time.
It is currently not 100% clear if the French government is requiring foreign nationals over the age of 11 to show a negative PCR test result. We will update you on this as soon as the information is available.
The Consulate General of France in London stresses that PCR tests are “not compulsory for travel between France and the UK” but some transport operators will ask passengers to “fill out and carry with them a sworn statement certifying that they do not have any symptoms of a COVID-19 infection”.
This statement form can be downloaded from the Consulate General of France website here (Word document).
It is clear that travellers to France from the UK do not need to quarantine (unless you test positive later).
Overall, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises against all but essential travel to France, including Corsica, based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks.
The full list of rules for travellers coming to France from the UK can be found here.
In France, if you are sharing a vehicle with other people who you do not live with, you must all wear a mask at all times.
Only two people are allowed to sit in the back seat of a vehicle, and one person is permitted to sit next to the driver.
This means that the limit of people not from the same household travelling in one vehicle is limited to four or six, depending on the type of car / vehicle.
Staying in France
Applications for British nationals wanting to stay in France after Brexit are to be done online via the residency card website.
Can I ‘move to’ / visit my second home in France from the UK?
No - the above rules only apply if you are moving to your main residence and are planning to move to France as a resident.
During lockdown, foreigners do not have the right to come on holiday or visit a second home in France, an operator at France’s Covid-19 hotline told The Connexion.
Other than if completely necessary, you should only come to France if you are a French national or are a resident and have a valid reason.