A FRENCH high court has rejected an amendment to its immigration law, effectively requiring British homeowners to leave the country after 90 days.
On Thursday France’s Constitutional Court blocked an amendment first passed in November that would have issued Britons with second homes in France a long-stay visa, allowing them to stay past the current 90-day limit.
The amendment was struck down by the court after it was deemed unconstitutional, The Telegraph reported.
Since Brexit, Britons who own property in France have been subjected to standard Schengen rules, forbidding them from staying in the country for more than 90 days within a 180-day period.
In November 2023, the French senate passed an amendment to the immigration law that would have allowed British homeowners to stay in France for longer than 90 days, effectively giving them a temporary long-stay visa.
The amendment was supported by Martine Berthet, a senator from the alpine Savoie region.
French president Emmanuel Macron did not support the amendment.
At the time, Berthet and supporters said that barring property-owning Britons from staying in France amounted to “punishing” them for Brexit, and would only hurt the French economy.
Lawmakers also said that it would force many to abandon their second homes, contributing to rising incidences of vacant property.
But after the court’s decision on Thursday, all Britons who own property in France must continue to apply for long-stay visas — which are valid for up to six months — if they want to stay longer than 90 days.
In a comment to The Telegraph, Blevins Frank tax specialist Jason Porter explained that the amendment’s fault lay in its favouring of homeowners from the UK over those from other countries.
“The element to the immigration bill for UK second home owners was always going to be rejected as it was not treating everyone equally and it does not apply for the other 61 countries eligible for visa entry into France,” he told the newspaper.
The court ruling comes as a blow to British homeowners, who — according to estimates from French statistics group Insee — own some 86,000 homes in France, making them the country’s largest group of non-French property owners.