In a significant development for expatriates and second-home owners, the French Parliament has granted Britons the freedom to stay in France for up to six months without the need for a visa. This decision comes as a welcome change to the existing rules, implemented in early 2021, which restricted British citizens to a 90-day stay in the country within every 180-day period.
The initial regulations, established following Britain’s departure from the EU, stirred controversy among homeowners who deemed the system unfair and inequitable. A primary point of contention was the contrast between the restrictions faced by Britons in France and the leniency granted to French citizens in the UK, allowing them to stay for up to six months without a visa, irrespective of property ownership.
Second-home owners, in particular, found the existing solution impractical. The only way to extend their stay beyond 90 days was through the complex and costly process of applying for a long-stay visa which needed to be undertaken annually.
The recent decision by the French Parliament has led to a wave of optimism in the French expat community. Homeowners who had campaigned for a change in the restrictive rules now have cause for celebration. However, uncertainties linger as no specific date for the implementation of the new rules has been set, and concerns about potential challenges in the Constitutional Council loom large.