New Visa Proposed for Foreign Second-Home Owners in France
Volume XXI, Issue 13
Second-home owners in France who are not French nationals or legal residents now have a shot at getting a special visa so they can fully enjoy their second homes. Senator Corinne Imbert submitted an amendment to change an upcoming Immigration Bill (Article L. 312-2 of the Code on the Entry and Residence of Foreigners and the Right of Asylum) that “Any foreign national who owns a secondary residence in France may apply for a very long-stay visa authorizing him or her to stay on French territory for a period not exceeding six months per year. This visa is valid for five years.”
The purpose of this amendment is to allow foreign nationals who own a secondary residence in France to apply for a very long-stay visa authorizing them to stay in France for a period not exceeding six months per year. Brexit is what started this idea, for all the British who own homes in France (86,000 homes) and have found themselves without a visa, when prior to Brexit, a visa was unnecessary. The British, who own more than double the number of homes in France than any other foreigners, likely never dreamed they’d be in such a predicament.
The senator commented that “They’ve been here a long time and are really integrated into the life of our villages, including the local associations, so it is important.”
This new visa would work well for non-EU nationals with second homes in France who can’t stay longer than 90 days under the current visa-waiver program, but don’t need or want to commit to a long-stay visa renewable annually in France.
According to the Banque de France, at the end of 2019, non-residents owned 1.5 percent of residential real estate in France, up from 1 percent in 2001. The value of their real estate assets amounted to 125 billion euros, four times more than in the early 2000s. Forty-two percent of non-residents who hold residential real estate assets were born in France and are therefore most likely expatriates. Less than ten years ago, they accounted for nearly 60 percent of the growth in these investments over the past decade. In Paris, non-residents own properties primarily in touristic or affluent neighborhoods. It’s interesting to note that non-residents purchase property at prices that are not very different from those of residents—therefore it’s a fallacy that foreign buyers are willing to pay higher prices.
The Chambre de Notaires de France reports that in the 2008-2018 period, the percentage of non-resident foreign buyers in mainland France steadily fell, bottoming out at 1.7 percent in 2018. This percentage varies greatly, however, from one region to another, from 0.9 percent in Greater Paris to 5.5 percent in the Provence-Côte d’Azur-Corse region. As for sellers, the percentage of non-resident foreigners remained steady, around 2 percent in the provinces, but rose slightly in Greater Paris, from 0.9 percent to 1.5 percent in 2018.
Second-home owners pay the local property taxes at a higher rate than primary home owners, yet do not qualify for French health care benefits. And while the amendment was created primarily for the British, it must be available for all non-EU foreigners to avoid being discriminatory.
The campaign has the support of many French politicians, including the Member of Parliament for the Department of Manche, Bernard Sorre, who called the 90-day rule “penalizing for property owners who participate in the local economy, take part in associations and restore old buildings.”
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The Adrian Leeds Group®
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