French Senate votes in favour of loosening visa rules for British second-home owners

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French Senate votes in favour of loosening visa rules for British second-home owners
France's senate. Photo: AFP

French Senators on Wednesday passed a motion to make travel in and out of France easier for British second-home owners, who since Brexit have been restricted to 90 days of visa-free travel.


France's senate has voted to adopt an amendment to the proposed new Immigration Law that would "ease the conditions of entry into France for British citizens who own second homes in France."

The amendment is confusingly worded (the final version can be found here) but it appears that the goal is to create a visa exemption for British second-home owners - however it remains unclear exactly how this would be applied and what documents would be required when crossing the border between the UK and France. 


It concludes: "The conditions for the application of this article shall be specified by decree in the Conseil d'Etat".

The amendment was submitted by Senator Martine Berthet, who represents the Alpine area of Savoie and is a member of the right-wing Les Républicains party.

Berthet was not the only French senator to bring an amendment related to second-home owners, Senator Corinne Imbert representing Charente-Maritime in western France, also put forward a plan to create a five-year visa available to all non-EU property owners.

As for Imbert's proposal, it would have allowed visits of up to six months per year - the same as current short-stay visitor visa - but would have lasted for five years, rather than having to be renewed annually like the short-stay visa.


Her amendment was for all non-EU property owners in France, so would have also benefited Americans, Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders who own French property and she had said in advance that she judged that an amendment that was not limited to Brits would be more likely to pass. 

Another French senator, Michel Canévet, representing Finistère in Brittany, also tabled an amendment that would add another status - that of 'property owner' - to the existing visa categories.

Both of these amendments were rejected, however.

The French senate only adopted Berthet's amendment, but it is worth noting that this is just the first step on the legislative journey.

In order to become law the amendment must also be passed in the Assemblée nationale - debates on the Immigration bill begin in the Assemblée on December but it is thought unlikely that the amendment will be approved there.

If the Senate and Assemblée disagree about a bill or part of a bill, it is the Assemblée that has the final say. 

READ ALSO How likely is France to relax the rules for second-home owners?

Should the amendment be approved in its current wording by the Assemblée, then it would still remain to be seen which rules of eligibility are specified by the Conseil d'État and how this would be practically applied for second-home owners (eg. which documents to show when crossing the border, etc). 


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Alastair Morrison 2023/11/20 17:03
This is good, but the UK should reciprocate and grant EU citizens with property in the UK long term UK visas too. The French Senate and Assemblée members should make this a condition of passing the bill.
Robert 2023/11/10 13:42
There must be some logic, in Senators’ thinking, that supports the favorability towards Britons over second home owners of other nationalities. It would be useful to those who are not British to understand it, through the reporting done by the Local and other papers of record. Thank you for keeping up on this story.

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