Moving to the UK from France

Relocating from France to the UK

Despite its departure from the European Union, the UK continues to be a popular destination for French nationals seeking new opportunities. Many French citizens come to the UK for the work and business opportunities, to join loved ones, and to study at some of the best schools and universities in the world. In fact, it is now estimated that around 150,000 people from France currently live in the UK.

If you are a citizen of France who is considering moving to the UK in 2024 or beyond, this guide is for just you. Here we will explain everything that you need to know about moving from France to the UK after Brexit, the legal requirements for French people moving to the UK, the cost of living in the UK and how this compares to France, a checklist for those relocating to the UK from France, and why people from France should consider moving here.

Moving from France to the UK after Brexit

At 11pm GMT on the 31st December 2020, the UK left the European Union, bringing to an end the free movement of people between the UK and the EU. If you are a French or EU national who moved to the UK before 31st December 2020, you can apply to settle under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Whilst most EU citizens in this situation will have already applied to the EUSS, it is still possible to apply if you have a genuine reason for applying late.

If you are a French national who did not live in the UK before Brexit, then you will need to apply for a visa to relocate yourself and your family members to the UK. Thankfully, with a solid understanding of the visa options available to you, including the self-sponsorship route (see below for more details), and the guidance of an expert in immigration law, you can make the move to the UK with relative ease.

Moving to the UK from France benefits

The UK offers enormous advantages for nationals of France who wish to relocate here, as follows:

  • Robust economy
  • Plenty of job and business opportunities
  • Rich history and culture
  • Beautiful villages, mountains, hills, lakes, and countryside
  • Excellent and world-renowned education system, including our world-class universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews, and University College London (UCL), and
  • Excellent transport links to France to visit friends and family

Transforming Lives: Real Stories of Client Satisfaction

"This was my first application for a skilled worker visa and A Y & J helped me through it, making me feel at ease with the process. Very quick replies on e-mails & assistance provided by Imad and Silvia was excellent. Truly could not have had a better experience. Would absolutely recommend them if assistance required."

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"This was our 2nd application for my wife's visa. A Y & J Solicitors were recommend to us and they delivered. Right from the outset. The process was explained thoroughly. We was not pushed to commit. Our appointed Solicitor Nagina was absolutely brilliant. Took all our concerns away and approached our application in a professional manor. Can not recommend enough. Thank you A Y & J & a special thanks to Nagina"

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Other UK visas for Canadian citizens

Several other UK visas available to Canadian nationals include the following:

  • Global Talent visa – for leaders and potential leaders in the areas of academia or research, arts and culture, and digital technology. Holders can stay for up to 5 years and apply to settle permanently after 3 or 5 years, depending on their area of leadership.
  • High Potential Individual (HPI) visa – this route is open to those who graduated from McGill University, the University of British Columbia, or the University of Toronto. Holders can work, look for work, be self-employed, and bring their partner and children. Visas are normally granted for 2 years, at which point you will need to switch to a different visa type (it cannot be extended and does not qualify for permanent settlement)
  • Innovator Founder visa – for those who wish to establish a new, viable, and scalable innovative business in the UK. Holders can stay for up to 3 years and then renew or apply for permanent settlement.

Before applying for a visa to emigrate from France to the UK, it is important to understand the legal requirements that you will need to meet. The exact legal requirements will depend on the visa route you choose to apply for. In most cases, you can bring your partner and children with you to the UK on a dependant visa.

Skilled Worker visa – The UK Skilled Worker visa is by far the most popular visa route for French nationals who wish to move to the UK for employment. With a Skilled Worker visa, you can work in the UK for up to 5 years and then apply for permanent settlement. After a further year, you can apply for British citizenship. To apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you must have:

  • A job offer from a UK employer with a valid sponsor licence
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements (currently £38,700 per year or the
    the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing) – You may qualify for a lower salary threshold if you have a PhD, a job on the immigration salary list, or are a new entrant to the job market.
  • Meet the English language requirements.

UK Student visa – For French nationals who are over the age of 16 and want to attend a school, college or university in the UK, the UK Student visa allows them to live, study, and work part-time for the duration of their course. If you are on a post-graduate level course, you will also be able to bring your partner and children with you. Once you have completed your degree, masters or PhD course, you can apply for a UK Graduate visa to stay and live in the UK to find work for up to 2 years. To apply for a Student visa, you must:

  • Have been offered a place on a course by a licensed education provider
  • Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course
  • Be able to speak, read, write and understand English to a sufficient standard

UK Innovator Founder Visa – If you are an experienced business person or an aspiring entrepreneur with plans to set up a business in the UK, the UK Innovator Founder business visa may be the best immigration route for your needs. You must have a plan for a new, unique, viable, and scalable business idea that has been endorsed by an approved body in the UK. Applicants must also be 18 years or older, meet the English language requirements, and have enough savings to support themselves while getting their business off the ground. One of the biggest benefits of this route is that it provides an accelerated route to permanent settlement in the UK of just 3 years rather than 5 years for most visa types.

This is just a selection of the many UK visa routes available to citizens of France. We recommend discussing your plans with an experienced immigration Solicitor in the UK who will assess your situation and that of your partner and children and recommend the most suitable route for your needs and the legal requirements you will need to meet.

How to set up your finances in the UK?

Banking - We recommend waiting until you arrive in the UK to set up a new bank account here. This is because the bank will ask you for your permanent UK address and your passport to verify your identity.

NI number - You will need to apply for a national insurance (NI) number before you start working in the UK.

Tax - Your employer will automatically take any tax that you owe from your salary and ensure that this is paid to HM Revenue & Customs through the UK’s ‘Pay As You Earn’ (PAYE) system.

Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your move to the UK from france

What is the cost of living in the UK?

According to the cost of living website Numbeo, overall consumer prices in the UK are around 8.5% higher than in France when rent is taken into account. However, it is important to bear in mind that salaries on offer in the UK may be higher depending on your occupation and the pay offered by your employer. However, grocery prices are significantly 19% lower in the UK than in France.

Emigrating to the UK from France - Checklist

While the distance may be relatively short, moving from France to the UK requires considerable planning to ensure it goes as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. Some of the key tasks that you will need to complete are as follows:

  • Speak to an immigration Solicitor in the UK to fully understand your options and those of your dependants. We may be able to provide you with other visa options, such as the self-sponsorship route discussed below.
  • Secure a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) – you will need these before you apply for a work visa.
  • Create a spreadsheet of your income and living costs to ensure you can live comfortably in the UK.
  • Research the different regions of the UK and the pros and cons of each area of interest – while many French nationals are drawn to London, it can be extremely expensive in terms of living costs and transport. There are many other beautiful villages and towns in the UK that provide easy access to London or another large city.
  • Work out the cost to immigrate to the UK from France, including transport, removal costs, rent deposit, etc.
  • Research the schools in your target area and check if they have spaces available for your children.
  • Speak to any French people that you know who live in the UK to get their advice.
  • Once in the UK, you can drive on your EU driving licence or apply for a UK one. According to the rules, if you are younger than 67 when you become a resident of the UK, you can drive on your EU licence until you are 70. If you are 67 or older when you become a resident, you can drive on your EU licence for 3 years after that point.

What is a Self-Sponsored Route?

Self-sponsorship is an increasingly popular route that allows French nationals and other overseas citizens to relocate to the UK without needing a job. Instead, applicants set up their own company in the UK (we can show you how) and work for themselves. French nationals who are self-sponsored can later apply for permanent settlement and, after a further 12 months, British nationality.

Emigrating to the UK as a non-French national

If you live in France but are not a French national and wish to relocate to the UK, you will most likely need a visa to live, work, or study there. The best immigration route for you will depend on your nationality, connections to the UK, and plans for when you move to the UK. To discuss the immigration routes open to you as a non-French national, please speak to one of our friendly and helpful immigration Solicitors in the UK, who will be glad to advise you based on your personal circumstances and those of your immediate family.

Joining UK Family Members as a Non-French National

If you are a non-French national and wish to join family members in the UK (i.e. partner, spouse, parent or child), you may be able to apply for a family visa. Your UK-based family member must be a British national, a person with permanent settlement, an EU/EEA national who started living in the UK before 1st January 2021, or a person with refugee status in the UK. If your family visa is granted, you will be able to join your family members here. After five years, you can then apply for permanent settlement and British citizenship one year later.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

Moving From France to the UK

Reach out to our immigration advisors to handle your relocation process from beginning to end.

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Moving From France to the UK

Reach out to our immigration advisors to handle your relocation process from beginning to end.

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