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What is 'France Services' and how can it help foreigners in France?

The Local France
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What is 'France Services' and how can it help foreigners in France?
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne (R) applauds during an inauguration of the France Services space on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, in May 2023 (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

Figuring out French admin can be tricky - especially as more and more procedures move online - but you might be able to get your questions answered with in-person assistance at a 'France Services'.

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The France Services network began in 2019 and the goal is to make sure that everyone in France - particularly those in rural areas far from other government offices - has access to administrative assistance from the state.

There are 2,600 France Services offices in France and you can walk in and request help without an appointment - the principle is that everyone should be within a 30-minute drive of a France Service office.

The role of the staff is to provide help with French bureaucracy and admin tasks that relate to the state - so things like driving licences, tax declarations, healthcare and benefits. They don't provide assistance with private companies.

What can you do there?

There are plenty of tasks agents are qualified to help with. France Services is a good place to start if you are confused - even if the agent does not have an answer for you, they ought to be able to point you in the right direction, plus France Services has a partnership with several French admin bodies. 

While they may not be able to help with all bureaucratic procedures, agents should be able to assist you in filling out your French income tax declaration or registering for a French driver's licence. You can also ask general questions or clarification about how French admin procedures work.

READ MORE: Explained: The help available for older people in France

They don't provide any extra services - everything that France Services does is also available directly from the government agency - but they help you to navigate through the frequently confusing world of French bureaucracy, whether that is knowing which agency to approach, explaining your rights or helping you fill in a form.

Online help - More and more French administrative procedures can now be done online and in fact some can only be done online. If you're struggling with this - either because you have a poor internet connection, don't own a computer or aren't comfortable filling in online forms - France Services staff can help you.

They might help you navigate government websites or fill out a government form or dossier online. They can also help you to create an email address, as well as print or scan documents needed for an online file submission - and in fact a key part of their role is ensuring that people are not excluded by digital-only services.

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Healthcare - Whether you need help filing for a reimbursement from a doctor's visit or you are pregnant and unsure how to notify the relevant admin bodies, workers at France Services should be able to put you on the right track. For foreigners, you may also be able to get assistance requesting your first 'carte vitale' or changing your address.

READ MORE: How to get a carte vitale in France and why you need one

Finding work - You can get help to register as a job seeker and, if you are unemployed, to update your situation each month. You can also get help accessing your personal space on the pole-emploi.fr website and learn about the opening hours and nearest locations for 'Pôle emploi'.

Dealing with legal issues or disputes - While France Services cannot offer you legal advice, they can put give you a list of people to contact in the legal field - like lawyers, victim support associations, and mediators. Similarly, if you need to request legal aid, they can help you fill out the online form. 

READ MORE: How France's new neighbour dispute rules work

Requesting government benefits and aid - If you want to apply (or find out if you are eligible) for disability or housing assistance, you can get help with the application at a France Services. Similarly, if you want to request state aid to pay for any renovations - like an energy refurbishment (eg heat pump) or help making your home mobility-accessible, in November it became possible to get help with these subjects France Services.

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For those nearing retirement, you can also get help applying for your French pension.

Where can you find one?

To find a France Services near you, simply put your address into this interactive map created by the French government.

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Comments (1)

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wendy 2023/12/14 00:36
I read this article so when i got confusing directions from ANEF for my visa i called France Services. They couldn’t answer my question, didn’t volunteer to find the answer and provided me with a phone number to the prefecture that gives the hours and then hangs up. Oh well.

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