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EXPATS

Brits ignore Brexit fears to make dream move to France

Britons tell The Local how despite all the uncertainty and the falling pound, they are still making the move across the English Channel for a new life in France.

Brits ignore Brexit fears to make dream move to France
The beautiful village of Gordes in southern France. Photo: AFP

Believe it or not the EU referendum vote hasn’t just affected the lives of David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

The vote to leave the EU, which still two weeks on is hard to digest for many expats in France, has already had a major impact on tens of thousands of ordinary Britons and the UK hasn’t even left the EU yet.

The falling pound and the uncertainty over what rights expats will have in the future has forced many Brits already in France to take decisions that affect their future.

But the 51.9 percent of voters who wanted out of the EU have also forced the hundreds if not thousands who plan to move to across La Manche each year to reconsider.

With the pound having fallen fairly dramatically in just two weeks (currently stands at €1.17) and with the future legal rights of Britons living in the EU basically up in the air, those making the move would be forgiven for tearing up their dreams and having a rethink.

But for many the fantasy of living in France is just too great.

One of them is Jane Clark, who has recently moved to Finistere in western France after buying a house.

(Photo: Elliott Brown/Flickr)

“We've invested twenty years of dreaming and saving into this. For the next nine years, it'll be our holiday home and then our retirement home,” she said.

“We are going to plough on regardless as I'm not giving up on that dream. We've dreamed of this, worked hard for it and love France.

“We've been planning it for years and I won't let this [Brexit referendum] spoil things,” Clark said.

She was however, lucky enough to be able to buy the house when the pound was worth €1.38.

As for the issues of whether Brits will be able to stay in France, Clark said: “In my village there is an Australian and an Amaerican and they have the right to stay. They just apply each year. 

“They don't have the right to health cover by they manage.”

Another is Paul Broom who only this week made the move to Charente in south western France.

“We were into the process of moving when the referendum was announced. We bought our house last year and the final move was on Friday,” he said.

“As expected the currency has affected us, directly and indirectly, health care etc is uncertain. But at the moment amongst all the unpacking of boxes, looking at the view and going for a swim in our pool; it still feels absolutely the right decision.”

But while many Britons are still intent on making the move, some have had to change their plans due to the falling pound.

George White was planning to sell up and buy a place in Bédoin, in southern France near Avignon, where he already owns a little holiday home

But the steep fall in the pound, which some analysts believe will keep dropping until it reaches parity with the euro, means his plans are on hold.

“We were planning to sell our main house here in the UK. The comparative values meant that in the Vaucluse area, we should have been able to get a nice big place.

“We are unwilling to go ahead with that now because we won't be able to get the same value from our UK house.

“The market has gone south and the pounds won't buy as many euros. It's all chaotic and scary.”

(Shutterstock)

White will still move to France though, but instead of selling up and buying a house, they may have rent out the UK home and live in their holiday home.

“We still want to move to France. The chaos will last so long, we might even have time to stay the five years to get residency. It's all in limbo because of this craziness,” he said.

But while many refuse to be put off by the limbo and others are taking advantage of the it to move before anything is decided, there’s no doubt many Britons will have been put off.

Pat Reid, who is looking to sell her house in France said a newly retired British couple who were potential buyers, pulled out the day after the referendum.

“They are devastated but it's the pensions and healthcare issues that have caused them to 'pause' indefinitely until something positive is declared,” Reid said.

Estate agents in France say they expect to have a tough time given the falling pound and the uncertainty over the rights of British nationals in the EU, which the likely next PM Theresa May, has been ambiguous about fighting to guarantee.

But thankfully for them, not even Brexit or the likelihood of it, looks like ending the love affair many Britons have with France. And besides they say that despite the currency fluctuations there are still a lot of great bargains in France.

Cate Carnduff from Herman de Graaf estate agents added: “The pound is always going up and down and around. We nearly had parity a few years ago and we didn't go out of business. At the end of the day people want to come to France.”

If you have had to postpone your move to France we'd like to hear from you. Email [email protected]

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BREXIT

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Brexit hasn't just brought about changes in passport rules for humans, pets are also affected and now the French government has laid out the rules for pet passports for British second-home owners.

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Pre-Brexit, people travelling between France and the UK could obtain an EU Pet Passport for their car, dog or ferret which ensured a hassle-free transport experience.

But since the UK left the EU things have become more complicated – and a lot more expensive – for UK residents wanting to travel to France with pets.

You can find a full breakdown of the new rules HERE, but the main difference for people living in the UK is that that they now need an Animal Health Certificate for travel.

Unlike the Pet Passport, a new ACH is required for each trip and vets charge around £100 (€118) for the certificate. So for people making multiple trips a year, especially those who have more than one pet, the charges can quickly mount up.

UK nationals who live in France can still benefit from the EU Pet Passport, but until now the situation for second-home owners has been a little unclear.

However the French Agriculture ministry has now published updated information on its website.

The rules state: “The veterinarian can only issue a French passport to an animal holding a UK/EU passport issued before January 1st, 2021, after verifying that the animal’s identification number has been registered in the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD).”

I-CAD is the national database that all residents of France must register their pets in – find full details HERE.

The ministry’s advice continues: “If not registered, the veterinarian may proceed to register the animal in I-CAD, if the animal’s stay in France is longer than 3 consecutive months, in accordance with Article 22 of the AM of August 1st, 2012 on the identification of domestic carnivores.”

So if you are staying in France for longer than 90 days (which usually requires a visa for humans) your pet can be registered and get a Pet Passport, but those staying less than three months at a time will have to continue to use the AHC.

The confusion had arisen for second-home owners because previously some vets had been happy to issue the Passport using proof of a French address, such as utility bills. The Ministry’s ruling, however, makes it clear that this is not allowed.

So here’s a full breakdown of the rules;

Living in France

If you are living in France full time your pet is entitled to an EU Pet Passport regardless of your nationality (which means your pet has more travel rights than you do. Although they probably still rely on you to drive the car/book the ferry tickets).

Your cat, dog or ferret must be fully up to date with their vaccinations and must be registered in the national pet database I-CAD (full details here).

Once issued, the EU Pet Passport is valid for the length of the animal’s life, although you must be sure to keep up with their rabies vaccinations. Vets in France usually charge between €50-€100 for a consultation and completing the Passport paperwork.

Living in the UK

If you are living in the UK and travelling to France (or the rest of the EU) you will need an Animal Health Certificate for your cat, dog or ferret.

The vaccination requirements are the same as for the EU Pet Passport, but an ACH is valid for only 10 days after issue for entry to the EU (and then for four months for onward travel within the EU).

So if you’re making multiple trips in a year you will need a new certificate each time.

UK vets charge around £100 (€118) for a certificate, although prices vary between practices. Veterinary associations in the UK are also warning of delays in issuing certificates as many people begin travelling again after the pandemic (often with new pets bought during lockdown), so you will need to book in advance. 

Second-home owners

Although previously some French vets had been happy to issue certificates with only proof of an address in France, the French government has now clarified the rules on this, requiring that pets be registered within the French domestic registry in order to get an EU Pet Passport.

This can only be done if the pet is staying in France for more than three months. The three months must be consecutive, not over the course of a year.

UK pets’ owners will normally require a visa if they want to stay in France for more than three months at a time (unless they have dual nationality with an EU country) – find full details on the rules for people HERE.

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