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Formalities in United Kingdom

Royaume-Uni - ENG


Short stay in the United Kingdom

For a stay of less than three months, you will only need your identity card or passport.

The French do not need a visa to stay in the UK, a national identity card or a valid passport is sufficient for a stay of less than three months. Beyond this limit, a long-stay visa is required.

With the announcement of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (Brexit), several questions are currently being asked about the conditions and formalities for access to the country. So far there are no clear answers, and negotiations on this issue could take up to two years (according to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty).

Long stay in the United Kingdom

For a long stay in the United Kingdom, French nationals do not need a residence card. Nor are they required to obtain a work permit in order to work in the UK. (pending the new formalities for entering the country after Brexit)

The French can apply for a registration certificate to prove their right of residence in the United Kingdom. This document is not compulsory for "qualified individuals", i.e. people who work in the United Kingdom, study or have sufficient financial resources. However, it may facilitate access to certain services.

To obtain the registration certificate as a "qualified person", you must download the EEA (QP) form and send it to The Home Office. Read more about the procedure for obtaining the registration certificate and the documents to be submitted here.

It is possible to apply for a permanent residence permit, after having lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years.

Go to the French Embassy/Consulate to register as a French citizen in the UK.

It is possible to apply for a permanent residence permit, after having lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years.

Health coverage in the United Kingdom

As a citizen of the European Union, you will be covered free of charge or at a reduced rate by the British National Health Service (NHS) for emergencies in hospitals and GP surgeries.

But beware, because private clinics are very expensive and are not reimbursed by the general French Social Security system.

At least 15 days before your departure, ask for your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your health insurance company. The EHIC is individual and nominative. Each member of your family must have their own, including those under 16 years of age. You will not need to provide any documents when you apply.

However, please remember that this card does not allow a full refund under any circumstances. It only guarantees reimbursement of the mandatory part. To be reimbursed 100% and in real costs, remember to take the Heyme World Pass..

Driving licence in the United Kingdom

French nationals coming on holiday or settling in the United Kingdom are not required to exchange their licence for a UK licence. The French driving licence is valid in the United Kingdom. You must carry your driver's licence, vehicle registration and insurance papers with you.

However, you have the possibility to exchange your French licence for a local licence, which could be useful for you later on. To do this, you will need to contact the relevant British authorities.

Real estate rental in the UK

To sign a rental contract, the landlord usually asks for identification and a deposit, often equal to one month's rent. He may also ask for proof of solvency.

The tenant will have to pay a Council Tax set by the Town Hall according to the value and location of the property.

Ask for a tenancy agreement in good and due form: amount of rent, duration of the lease, charges included, length of notice, amount of housing tax, etc.

It is preferable to make an inventory of fixtures on arrival to check that everything is in good condition and working properly in the accommodation. Do not hesitate to ask for receipts for any payment made.

Good to know : if a clause in the lease seems unclear to you, don't hesitate to seek advice before signing it. Law Centres, Citizens Advice Bureaux or the social NGO Shelter, which runs a 24-hour national helpline for housing-related problems (tel: 0808 800 4444), will give you advice and guidance free of charge.

French-speaking volunteer lawyers answer your questions every Thursday at 7pm (except August and Christmas holidays) at the crypt of St Mary's Church - Upper Street N1 2TX (follow "Islington legal advice center"). Subway : Angel. It is advisable to bring a photocopy of the documents relating to your question.

Opening a bank account in the United Kingdom

The first thing to do to open a bank account in the United Kingdom is to find out from your surroundings or by using comparisons to choose your future bank. Then, go directly to the bank of your choice to meet an advisor who will explain the steps in detail. You will be asked to fill in a form and you will receive a bank number and a credit card.

You will also have to prove your identity and place of residence. A passport, birth certificate or insurance card will prove your identity but not your address.

To prove your place of residence, you can use a gas, water, electricity, TV or landline telephone bill that is less than three months old, the Local Authority Council Tax Bill for the current year, your Carte Vitale (medical card), your home or car insurance, your residential lease, or if you already have an account with another bank in the country, a bank statement that is less than three months old.

For students, it is usually sufficient to have a letter of acceptance from your school. Be careful, you will have to present the original documents.

 Here is a selection of the best known banks:

  • Barclays
  • La Loyds TSB
  • HSBC
  • Halifax
  • The co-operative bank

Some bank comparators :

For your bank account, we advise you N26 which is La banque Mobile. N26 transforms the banking experience to make it simple, fast and modern. You can open your bank account in less than 8 minutes, use an N26 Mastercard worldwide, send instant transfers to other N26 users, receive real-time account notifications and much more...

Open your N26 current account for 0€/month

Opening a mobile line in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, all operators have approximately the same service coverage. When searching  look for criteria such as how often you use your phone and what you do with it.

The most economical solution is to buy a local prepaid SIM card from one of the many operators in the UK (Vodafone, Orange, O2, Lebara, T-Mobile). You will find mobile phone shops in the main cities of the country and often at airports. Before you sign the contract and pay, check the compatibility of your phone by trying the SIM card.

You will find communication credit refills in these same shops or in supermarkets, petrol stations, newspaper tobacconists, etc.

For a long stay in the UK, you can sign a contract for a package. Communication costs and mobile phones will be cheaper. When you choose your package, check the duration of your commitment (usually one year).

To sign a contract, there is no special procedure: no account verification or income tax return. Payments will be made by direct debit from your bank account.


 There are no mandatory vaccinations that you need to have before travelling to the UK. The Institut Pasteur simply recommends to be up to date with your vaccinations.


The transport of medicines in the United Kingdom is subject to laws and regulations.


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