Moving to France: Get the right visa and don't forget the checklist

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Moving to France: Get the right visa and don't forget the checklist
Planning a move to France? We've got the practical information you need. Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP

Moving to France - a country famous for its complicated bureaucracy - can be a daunting task. Fortunately, our new newsletter is here to answer your questions - whether it's sorting out visas or finding somewhere to live, accessing healthcare or learning the language.


Here at The Local we're an Anglo-American team living in France - which means all of us have been through the simultaneously exciting and terrifying process of moving countries. 

Our new newsletter is aimed at people who are in the process of moving, have recently moved and are still grappling with the paperwork or perhaps are just thinking about it - and we'll share a monthly selection of practical tips. Our team is also available to answer questions from subscribers to The Local.

First steps

I'll admit it - I love lists. And if you're moving to France you will probably become a fan too, as you try to keep on top of all the tasks you need to do.

Before you make the move it's important to check out things like whether you will be able to be legally resident in France, whether you will be entitled to drive or work here and if your qualifications will be recognised.

We've put together this checklist of things to do before you move. 


If you're a citizen of a non-EU country such as the UK, USA or Canada, the chances are you will need a visa to move to France. There are many visa types depending on your personal circumstances, but it's important that you apply for the right one - otherwise you will likely be rejected. 


In-country admin

Once you arrive in France there will still be a lot to do and it's easy to feel overwhelmed - here's a look at which tasks to prioritise, and how long you can expect things to take

Learning French 

One of the most common question we're asked is whether it is possible to move to France without speaking French. The short answer is that it's possible, but you'll get more out of the experience if you try to learn at least some French.

And we find that most people do - it's common for people to arrive with only basic French, but most people really make the effort to learn once they are here.

As French classes can be expensive, we've put together some tips on how to find affordable or free French lessons


The Local's Reader Questions section covers questions our members have asked us and is a treasure trove of useful info on all kinds of practical matters. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, head here to leave us your questions.

Bon courage!


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