Can I retire to France from the UK after brexit? Brits have been holidaying and seeking retirement in France for generations – so much so that here in Nice they named a road after the crowds of English aristocrats that used to make their way en masse to the Cote d’Azur to escape in the harsh Northern winters – the famous ‘Promenade des Anglais’. And why not? It’s a fantastic country with great food, vibrant cities and a beautiful countryside.
Of course, this all changed in 2016 when the UK voted to leave the single market. Brexit affected a huge number of people, but arguably some of the most affected were the recently retired who had moved and settled abroad and were then left in the dark about their residency rights and whether or not they could continue to remain in the future.
But with Brexit done and dusted, what’s the situation today?
Can Brits still follow their dreams of retiring in a quaint French hillside village, a sunny Mediterranean town or to one of its many spectacular cities? In this article we’ll explore some of the issues surrounding Brexit and how it may affect someone looking to retire to France.
What should I do first?
If you have made the decision to retire in France you will need to bear these important things in mind:
- You will need to apply for a long-stay Visa – typically this will be the Visa de Long Séjour valant Titre de Séjour – Visiteur (VLS-Visiteur) which will allow you to reside in France for more than the 90-days Visa-free allowance, click here to find out more
- Provide proof of accommodation in France
- Proof of legal status in your country of residence
- You will need to show proof of medical insurance – either through a private scheme or opting into PUMa (the French healthcare system), or alternatively by registering an S1 form with your local CPAM which then allows you to access healthcare whilst abroad, see here for more information about receiving healthcare in France
- You will need to demonstrate that you can satisfy the minimum income requirements stipulated by the French state – after social insurance charges this works out to be 16,597.03 per annum per individual
- You will need to provide an attestation promising not to engage in employment whilst residing in France
The good news is the above income requirements can be supplemented with investments, savings and other forms of income. For example, if you are entitled to the new state pension then this can make up 10,708.53 of the 16,597.03. You can then make up the remainder with income from your private pension schemes, savings and other means.
Once you have been residing in France for a five-year period, you may then apply for the Carte de résident de longue durée-UE which will allow you to live and work in France for the next ten years. You can find out more about living in France as a UK national here – alternatively please see this document for a more in-depth breakdown of the process.
What about my pension schemes? Will I be able to access them?
Accessing your pensions from abroad can be tricky. Not only will many providers not allow non-UK residents to commence drawdown, but most UK-based advisers will not be able to provide their services to you – even in cases where you have previously enjoyed a meaningful and productive partnership for years.
You will still be allowed to continue with your old UK savings and investment accounts in most cases when you move overseas, however there is a caveat. Let’s take an ISA as an example – whereas in the UK this is tax-free, it’s taxable in France and so loses all of its benefits. The same principle applies to NS&I bonds and so forth.
Can I retire to France from the UK after Brexit? – How we can help
Here at Harrison Brook we specialise in helping expats find tax-efficient solutions for pensions, assurance vies and investments whilst living abroad. We provide our clients with a bespoke advisory service and ongoing management of their funds to help them achieve their short, medium and long-term goals.
Furthermore, we don’t receive any remuneration for our services in the form of commissions – we are fee-based, and we make a point about being upfront and transparent with our clients about any costs involved.
If you’ve previously thought about making the move to France but have more questions – or if you already live in France but have had issues with your finances like some of those mentioned above – please do get in contact and we will do our best to help.