Brexit Britain is set to score a massive win after French politicians voted to allow British second homeowners to stay for longer in the country following a night of turmoil for President Emmanuel Macron’s immigration bill.
Following the vote, the National Assembly and Senate announced a plan that would automatically grant long-stay visas to Britons who owned property in France.
The new plan will allow Britons to spend as much of the year as they like in the country and would not count towards their 90-day limit in the Schengen area.
Before the proposed change, any Briton who entered the Schengen area could only stay for a maximum of 90 days during a 180-day period.
A decision to change the rules has come after a campaign from French politicians who had large numbers of UK-owned properties in their regions.
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According to the Independent, the new rule applies to all “third-country nations”. However, the French government warned: “UK citizens will need a long-stay visa if staying in France or a French overseas territory for more than 90 days.”
In a statement following the vote, France Visa Free’s Stephen Jolly said it was a “huge step in the right direction” and said the new legislation was a “credible attempt to address problems”.
Mr Jolly explained: “After two years of campaigning it’s a great achievement to see that France is close to lawfully granting long-stay visas automatically to those British citizens with a secondary residence in France.
“This is a…recognition that those with a home in France should be allowed to continue living in their homes in just the same way that they did before Brexit.”
Mr Jolly criticised the current visa process which he said was “time-consuming and expensive” as well as “not equitable or reasonable”.
He added that in contrast, “French people can spend six months per visit in the UK, even if they don’t own property”.
When the decision on whether or not to change the law was being debated last week, one French senator from the royal visit from King Charles’ royal visit had served to show that relations between France and Britain were improving.
Martine Berthet told GB News: “Ties are warming between France and the UK following the royal visit – and don’t forget, King Charles reserved his only official speech for the French Senate.”
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Ms Berthet added: “The Britons I have spoken to say that the current system is long-winded, difficult and full of pitfalls. The British are privileged partners of France. History has shown this to be the case.
The Connexion said homeowners they spoke to said they would welcome the change and that it would mark the end of complicated visa applications. One person said: “It was a long and irritating process even to get an interview online.
“We are lucky in that we are not far from the Wandsworth TLSContact location, but we spent over three hours there at our interview – a thoroughly grim experience which we shall not repeat. So if this excellent amendment does not pass through we shall, with huge regret, have to truncate our visits to France.”
Another added that the new rule would mean they would no longer have to think about selling their property.
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