Visa rules for second home owners in France may be easing

visa second home france

Non-resident second home owners in France may soon be allowed a special five-year visa, allowing for a longer stay period and less red tape.

Blame it on Brexit. When the UK voted to leave the European Union, the chaos that ensued affected so much more than governmental agencies and trade. It also impacted the tens of thousands of Brits who, until then, were legally able to jump back and forth across the Channel to France, where an estimated 86,000 own second homes, and stay for as long as they wished.  

Under the current laws, UK citizens are only allowed, like any other non-EU visitor, to stay under the 90-day rule. This means that anyone coming into France can stay for a total of 90 days in a 180-day period, then they must wait another 90 days before re-entering.  

If they want to remain longer, they need to apply for a long-stay visa, giving them the right to stay from four to six months, but this needs renewing every year. It also has a fee attached.  

This may all change soon though, as the French Parliament is proposing a new visa for non-resident second homeowners that will streamline the process and eliminate the need for a certain amount of red tape.  

Introduced by Senator Corinne Imbert, this proposed amendment to the Immigration Bill states: “Any foreign national who owns a secondary residence in France may apply for an extended long-stay visa authorising him or her to stay on French territory for a period not exceeding six months per year. This visa [would be] valid for five years.” 

Support for the idea is growing, with several senators and MPs on board, particularly those from the northern reaches of France.  

The visa would be for any non-resident second home owner – not just Brits – making it a somewhat easier sell to the legislature, as well as making it more appealing for potential buyers worldwide.  

Proprietors of second homes from outside the Schengen Zone accounted for 1.5% of real estate owned in France at the end of 2019, according to Banque de France. This is up from 1% in 2001. The value of these assets came in at roughly €125 billion, a significant amount for the economy. Furthermore, second home owners pay higher property taxes than primary owners.  

The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region accounts for just over 20% of the transactions, the highest in all of France.  


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Photo source: Jean Nicolas Fahrenberg