Guide to Moving to France

Posted by David Reed

Even whilst the UK is in the EU, if you’re looking to move to France then there are certain essential tasks you need to do when planning your move. This Moving to France Checklist explains the necessary steps in order to make your transition as smooth as possible.


When moving to a new country, it can be easy to get distracted by the less critical aspects; spend your time scouring the internet for answers to questions like “what is French food like?”.


To get to that point, though, you first need to focus on the logistical aspects of actually moving to the new city, such as moving your belongings, and getting your life set up (e.g. necessary documentation, contacting utility providers etc).


And while this may be much less romantic that planning your new lifestyle, without it being taken care of, it will lead to an abundance of unnecessary stress before, during and after your move. 


So, in this post we’ll outline the process of physically moving your life to France, as well as the main legal aspects you’ll want to take care of.



We may as well address this first since it seems to be the number one thing on most of our minds right now (and for the past 3 years!).


As you might have expected, there’s so much uncertainty regarding the outcome of the Brexit negotiations that we don’t know the specific impact it will have. So all we can recommend is checking the government website to find out everything you’ll need to do, and the potential impacts of Brexit.


Register with French Authorities (within 90 days)


Every person moving to France is typically required to register with French authorities within 3 months of the move – even for those of us moving from Switzerland or the EU.


Depending on your personal circumstances, if you hold a visa de long séjour (long-stay visa) then you will need to register with the Office Français de l‘Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) within three months of arriving.


Be aware: this can take some time to process, so aim to start the process as early as possible to ensure the move runs smoothly.


Others will have to visit the local government in their area instead to get a residence permit or register their residence in France. Find out which French visa or permit you need and the conditions for registration.


Opening a Bank Account


You’ll need a credit/debit card that works in France in order to pay for a local mobile contracts or internet subscription etc. As you might expect, there’s a fair amount of paperwork and identity checks carried out by the bank when opening a bank account – the process usually takes approx. 3 weeks – so you’ll also want to put wheels into motion for this as soon as possible.


Health care


All legal residents who meet residency requirements (meaning a person who has lived in France for three months with the intention of staying in the country for another three months minimum), including expats, can benefit from France’s world class health care system and health insurance scheme. 


Despite the amazing standard of the health care in France, the regular health care system does not cover everything, so most French citizens also take out private health insurance for costs that are not covered by the state. This is a way to ensure that you are 100% covered. 

This health insurance coverage can usually be sourced from a non-profit company and is known in French as l’assurance complémentaire santé or mutuelle.




France is renowned for the heavy taxes its residents are required to pay, coming out higher than any of the 36 other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).


For a single employee with average earnings and no children, the average tax wedge in France is more than 45% — well over the OECD average.


However, the income tax you pay and how you pay it will depend on a variety of factors, so we’d highly recommend checking out the official EU page on this topic.


Finding a Home


Before doing this you’ll first need to decide whether you’re looking for somewhere to rent or purchase. Whilst purchasing may be the ultimate goal, renting is surprisingly popular in France – much more so than buying – due to the costs involved in buying a property.


Finding Somewhere to Rent


If you are set on Paris or another major city, you might need to give yourself a few months to find a long-term rental that satisfies your needs, as it can be very competitive. For other areas in France, a few weeks may suffice.


Finding Somewhere to Buy


When it comes to buying a property as a foreigner, there’s a lot you’ll want to be aware of before entering the process.


We’d recommend having a look at this article, which outlines prices you can expect to pay, and many other important factors to consider when buying a home.


Relocating to France  


If you plan on bringing your pet to France with you, they will require proof of a current rabies vaccination, along with an ISO 11784/11785 compliant, 15-digit pet microchip (done before the vaccination), and possibly a health certificate depending on which country you are coming from.


Next, the question of whether to move all your household goods can be a big one. If you are planning on transporting your belongings, make sure that you have a detailed inventory of all items and their value, for customs.


Once you’ve decided what items you’re taking, you’ll want to have them boxed up (either by you or professional packers), and indicate which items are fragile and which are not, so the removal team can keep this in mind when transporting the goods. 


Next, you’ll need to decide on the method of transportation; by air, sea, or land. There are several factors to consider here, but your removal team can guide you in the right direction.


You’ll also want to have a think about what additional services you may need from the removal team. If you’re moving to France before your new place it ready to move into, you may require temporary storage space for your belongings. If the removal team can’t arrange this for you, then you may need to look for local storage space where they can drop off your belongings upon reaching France.


If you are looking for a removal team with a vast amount of experience in moves from the UK to France, you can get in touch with us here for your free quote.


So, that’s it for now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.

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