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How do French long-stay visas work with the 90-day allowance?

A British reader asks whether they can return to France with a visa shortly after spending 90 days in the country

The 90/180 day allowance for British nationals in France is not part of the visa system Pic: Alexander Shutski / Shutterstock

Reader Question: I am a British national who has just spent under three months in France on holiday (passport was stamped both ways) and who now wants a temporary long-stay visa for another six-month stay.  

Does the 90/180 days rule need to be taken into account for this? In other words, would I have to wait 90 days after spending three months in France before obtaining the visa? 

UK citizens are allowed to spend up to 90 days in every 180 in France with just their passports, but if they wish to stay longer, they will need to apply for a visa.

The passport should be stamped going into and leaving France to show how long they have spent there.

The 90-day allowance runs in parallel with France’s visa service, and is not part of the same system. 

So, it is possible to go to France for up to 90 days, come back and apply for a visa with a start date less than 90 days later. 

This is because once a person has a French visa, their 90-day limit is suspended for the duration of their permitted stay. 

You can apply for a long-stay visa up to three months before you intend to depart for France, and are advised to do so at least 20 working days in advance.

It should be noted that British nationals may only apply for one six-month visa per year, meaning that they must wait six months after the end of their first visa before their second begins. 

Read more: UK nationals may only have one six-month French visa per year

However, during your six months without a visa, you may use your 90-day allowance and visit France for up to three months. 

Bear in mind that if you end up spending more than six months a year in France, France may deem you to have become a French tax resident. The French tax year is the same as the calendar year.

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