Brexit: The real impact of 90/180 rule on second-home owners in France

Britons share how the rolling limit is affecting their lives, jobs and family

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Article published May 29, 2023

Members of the France Visa Free campaign group who live in the UK have shared examples of how they have been affected by the EU’s 90/180-day rule since Brexit.

Many are highlighting a change as they bought a property in France when EU rules applied to them, not envisaging that this would not continue.

The 90/180-day rule means that Britons, like other non-EU nationals of countries that do not need short-stay visas, can spend only 90 days visa-free in any rolling 180-day period, looking back from the current day.

It aims to limit the time non-EU visitors can stay in the EU’s Schengen area, however many second-home owners argue they are ‘part-year residents’ whose properties are real ‘homes’ and who are part of their French communities.

Read more: ‘Enormous impact’: Readers on how EU rule has hit their France visits
Read more: More French senators and MPs back plan for second-home owner visas

The situations shared with The Connexion include:

  • A modern language teacher who accompanies school trips and also has a French second home and family in France and now finds it very difficult
  • People who rent out French gîtes and need to check on them report that their own time for recreational trips to France or other EU countries has become limited
  • The owner of a time-share flat in the Spanish Canary Islands has to be very careful about time also spent in France
  • A person who used to enjoy long stays in Spain now struggles, as they must also visit close family members in southern and northern France
  • Similarly, a member whose 90-year-old mother is in Spain can no longer spend several months in the summer at their French home as well as visiting her and keeping time available in case of emergencies
  • UK-based tour managers and guides who take out groups to the EU and return in-between have had their livelihoods put at risk; the same applies to HGV drivers who might no longer have any time left for holidays in France
  • Owners of a UK-based business who must visit clients across Europe struggle now to also spend time in France
  • A regular participant in town-twinning exchanges in different parts of France now faces restrictions on time at their French second home
  • A travel professional can no longer attend conferences and meetings in the EU and also spend time at their French home, so has reduced their professional opportunities
  • A person with a son and friends in Spain and another friend in Italy can no longer see them and also spend the time they used to spend in France
  • One second-home owner is concerned that it is not possible to visit for an urgent maintenance or insurance-related issue if the 90-day period has been used. Another is worried that someone who has used up their days might not then be able to see a dying relative in the EU.
  • The owner of a boat moored in France can no longer cruise French waterways for five months of the year, as before

France Visa Free is asking for more flexible rules for UK citizens, comparable to the UK’s rule allowing EU citizens to visit for up to six months at a time.

Their other proposals include a multi-year visa for non-residents who own property in France and/or simpler online-only visa renewal.

The group can be found here.

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