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How will Brexit Affect Ski Home Owners in France? 12th October 2018

How will Brexit Affect Ski Home Owners in France?

Even though there is less than one year to go until the UK officially leaves the EU, there is still so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit and how it will impact UK nationals. Here we take a look at some of the core issues surrounding Brexit and what it means for those UK nationals who own homes or would like to buy homes in France. 

Can UK nationals still buy houses in France?

Absolutely! Citizens from all over the world purchase homes in France, however there are some slightly different property rules for non-EU citizens. Mortgage applications will change as non-EU residents may only borrow up to 60% of the property value, significantly less than the 80% EU residents can borrow. For those looking to simply buy a home for holiday purposes, things are unlikely to change significantly. For those looking to buy to move permanently it is access to work and healthcare that are the main considerations, not access to properties.

What will happen to UK citizens living in France?

Theresa May and Jean Claude Juncker have outlined an agreement giving UK citizens currently living in the EU the right to remain and vice versa. The agreement, whilst not set in stone, states that UK nationals living in the EU will be able to continue living and working as is, though they will have to follow a simple (and cheap) administrative procedure to stay. The cut-off date for this will be March 29, 2019. Babies born after this date to people who have qualified under these rules will also be afforded the same rights. 

Furthermore, UK citizens in the EU (and EU citizens in the UK) will be able to leave their chosen countries for up to 5 years before losing their residential and working rights.

Will UK Citizens need a visa to travel to France and the EU?  

The UK wants to keep travel for EU citizens for the UK visa free after Brexit, and is hoping that this will be reciprocated. This means that hopefully, UK citizens travelling to the UK will be able to travel for short periods without seeking official permission to travel.

If you would like to work, study or settle in the EU, you will have to apply for permission under the new proposals. Currently, non-EU citizens can spend up to 3 months out of every 6 months in the EU without a visa, and although no agreement has been reached yet, it is possible that there will be a similar process for UK citizens heading to the EU, meaning up to 6 months/year can be spent in your ski home without any visa requirements at all.  

Will EHIC cards be valid when you move to France?

If you are already living in France on the day the UK leaves the EU, your EHIC card will continue to work. After that date, EU citizens looking to travel to the UK or UK citizens looking to travel to France will have to wait and see what happens, as no agreement has been reached as of yet.

How will healthcare access change for British expats in France?

After Brexit, the easiest solution would be for negotiators to come up with a reciprocal agreement similar to what currently exists. If that does not go through, Brits living in France will have to finalise their residency in France, acquire an identity card and then apply for a Carte Vitale. An important thing to remember is that even if you still pay taxes in the UK, if you live in France you may not be entitled to free NHS treatment as healthcare is based on residency, not tax status.

What happens if you move to France but still have a UK pension?

If you receive/are due a UK pension, not much should change as it is not dependent on where you live, but on how long you paid National Insurance contributions in the UK. The one condition to this is that you must have paid your National Insurance contributions for a minimum of 10 years. Under the current rules, if you have made contributions in another EU country that will take your payments over 10 years you are able to take those into account, though this is set to change. Once the UK leaves the EU your contributions must have been made in the UK unless a reciprocal agreement is reached.

Much of what is going to happen when Brexit occurs is so unclear as no definite agreement has been reached yet. Over the coming months, the Brexit effect on ski home owners in France will become much clearer.

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