Moving to France
Are you you thinking about moving to France? Here you can find a checklist of the most important tasks you will need to complete before you make your move. We also cover some of the tasks you will need to complete after you arrive.
Get the right visa for France
Start your preparations for moving by ensuring you have the right documentation. Depending on your citizenship, you might require a visa in order to live in France. In this guide we cover the types of visas you will need when moving to France.
Find a home in France
France is a beautiful and varied country - from the bustle of Paris to the scenic countryside. Once you've pinpointed your desired region, the next step is securing a place to live. Whether you plan to rent or buy, the French property market can be intricate. Take time to understand the nuances of the process and whether you might benefit from professional help such as using a relocation agency.
We list six things to think about before buying a house in France for those interested in purchasing a house and also have a beginner's guide to renting property in France for those looking to rent a property in France.
Prepare important documents for France
France's administrative processes require a lot of documents. Before your arrival, ensure you have recent ID photos, photocopies of identity documents, copies of your birth certificate - you may also need proof of health insurance and tax return records. Fortunately some of the more laborious administrative tasks have moved online in recent years, smoothing the process for newcomers.
Open a bank account in France
For many financial transactions, a French bank account is crucial. In this guide we detail everything you need to know about setting up a bank account in France including what proof of residency, address, income, and identity are required. If you encounter challenges due to your citizenship, internet banks like Wise or Revolut can offer convenient solutions.
Set up a mobile phone contract in France
If you intend to stay in France for an extended period, it's advisable to get a mobile phone contract. Acquiring a French phone number can smooth all aspects of French life - from coordinating apartment viewings yo subscribing to key services and managing utility bills.
Validate your driving licence to drive in France
If you plan to drive in France, it's essential to check the requirements for exchanging your foreign driving licence for a French one. The process varies based on your original licence's country of issuance.
If you have an EU/EEA licence you probably won’t have to exchange it for a French permit, but anyone else moving to France permanently will at some point need to get a French licence.
Secure your healthcare in France
While France boasts an excellent public healthcare system, it's essential to register for a carte vitale social security card (which can be done after three months of residency). You may also need to consider getting a private health insurance policy (mutuelle) for added protection. Most people in France have this top-up insurance, and if you're an employee your company will contribute to the cost.
Prepare a French CV
Tailor your CV to align with French standards, including a headshot, bio, address, date of birth, professional experience, and education details. Ensure your qualifications are recognized in France for a broader range of job opportunities.
The Local’s jobs section is a great place to see what jobs are available.
Learn the language
Depending on your circumstances, full fluency in French might not be necessary, but making an effort to learn the language is polite and practical. Language skills ease bureaucratic tasks, enhance cultural understanding, and promote social integration. Explore language learning resources like Duolingo, Babbel, and French-language media to bolster your skills.
In this guide we cover how easy is it to move to France if you don't speak French?
Moving to France from the UK, US, or elsewhere
Many of The Local’s readers contact us to ask what steps they need to take when moving to France from the United States or United Kingdom. Consequently we have put together specific guides for people moving from those countries. We also have a more general guide for anyone planning to move to France from a non-EU country.
Ready to read more? Check out our Moving to France section where you can find our latest news and updates about moving to France.