Can I move house to France during lockdown?

Can I move house to France during lockdown?
Can house moves go ahead? Photo: AFP
The announcement of a second lockdown in France has thrown a spanner in the works for many people planning on moving house - and for British people there is now a ticking clock on this. Here's what the rules say.

Moving house is always stressful and moving to a foreign country doubly so – but thrown in lockdown and Brexit and it moves to the realms of a nightmare.

 

 

We've had a lot of questions on this, so here's a breakdown of the latest.

Moving house within France

If you're wanting to move from one part of France to another at least you don't have the issue of international travel to contend with, but every trip out of the house now requires an attestation and an 'essential' reason.

Find the form and details on essential reasons HERE.

The form doesn't have a category for moving house, but during the last lockdown the French government issued guidance that house moves should be postponed if possible, but if your lease was expiring or your purchase had already gone through and you would otherwise be homeless, you can go ahead with the move.

You tick the 'urgent family reasons' box on the form and explain if stopped that you will otherwise be homeless if you cannot complete the move.

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See also on The Local:

If a purchase has gone through and you would otherwise be homeless, this counts as an essential reason for travel. Photo: AFP

Moving to France

If you're moving over to France then the same rule applies, you need an attestation for entry to France and travel within France, with the 'vital family reasons' box ticked.

Find the form HERE.

France has stated that everyone entering France must be tested for Covid-19, and these tests will be available on arrival. At present this seems to be rolled out at airports but not ferry ports or the Channel Tunnels, but it is likely that it could be extended. Tests are free.

READ ALSO Your questions answered on international travel during lockdown

 

Once you get to France you will need an attestation every time you leave your new home. One if the reasons on the form is to buy 'essential items' which can include furniture if you have none as well as food/drink.

The big furniture stores are still delivering and the majority of DIY stores are open so you should be able to source the essentials with a little extra forward planning.

There is no requirement for arrivals from the UK to quarantine in France.

Brexit deadline

So what's the 'ticking Brexit clock' for British people? This refers to the deadline to be a resident in France by December 31st in order to be covered by the provisions of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

READ ALSO What is the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and does it cover me?

British people can of course still move to France after January 1st 2021, but the conditions to do so will be stricter than for those who make the move before the end of the year – for a full breakdown of the differences between moving pre or post December 31st, CLICK HERE.

The December 31st deadline, the end of the transition period, has been in place since the start of the year and the UK government has repeatedly refused to ask for any extension, so it seems that lockdown notwithstanding, you will need to be in France before the end of the year if you want to benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.

In good news, this time official bodies such as mairies and préfectures remain open during lockdown, so the applications for a residency card that all British people in France need to make should still be processed as normal even as the country is locked down. For full details on the residency process – CLICK HERE.

What about leaving France?

If you want to make the move in the other direction, the same rules apply for travel within France, but check the rules on your destination country as they may require extra forms to enter the country or be imposing a quarantine on arrivals from France.


Member comments

  1. This article would create less panic if the answer to the question was placed in the title, not part way through.

  2. Just a footnote. As I understand it thanks to earlier Local articles, if one spouse/life partner is already there by the end of the year the second is allowed to go later, provided there’s proof of “durable relationship”.

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