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More Red Tape for Second Home Owners in France

17.02.21

Second homeowners who want to spend more than three months at a time at their French properties will now need to apply for long-stay visas.

Now that the UK is a non-EU country, British tourists can spend no more than 90 days in any 180-day period inside the Schengen Zone (which includes France) visa-free. To work this out, consider the dates you plan to spend in France. No 180-day period, no matter when the start date and how many trips you make, can include more than 90 days in the Schengen area without a visa.

The allowance is equivalent to six months a year visa-free, the same for EU citizens visiting the UK. However, the latter are permitted to spend their 180 days however they choose, including all in one go, whereas Brits can spend no more than three months at a time in France. This restriction applies even if you have an EU spouse.

Outstaying your welcome could result in deportation, a fine, an entry ban or difficulty acquiring a visa in the future.

The new restrictions have dismayed French property owners Anthony and Janine Marfleet. The Kent couple usually spend May to October at their home in Var, pumping thousands of euros a year into the French economy via taxes, service charges, utilities and living expenses. They have written to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von de Leyen as well as the French president and their local mayor, calling upon them to reconsider the “inequitable” restriction.

“We have a considerable investment in France and whilst we will continue to pay the cost of ownership, France will lose out financially if we are restricted to just 90 days in 180 days due to the new rules,” they wrote. “Surely this is Europe cutting off its ear to spite its face – much like Vincent van Gogh!”

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