Just like any big project, successfully moving to France needs preparation. To guide you through the twists and turns of such a project, let’s start with the “to-be-solved-before-leaving” issues checklist.

Leaving the country where you have been living for a few years, where you have built a strong network of friends and professional relationships is not that easy. Even if you just got your dream job here in France, that you are going to make new friends and meet new colleagues, you might feel a bit anxious. No worries, it’s a big change in your life, so it DOES make sense you would! Fortunately for you, you might have already been through similar situations, so you know this new adventure only requires a bit of preparation. First, you need to focus on your personal and family organisation, before you leave and remotely, by carrying out a few formalities that would be much harder to deal with once in France.

ACCOMODATION

What you need to think about:

Prepare your moving out: see the “Moving out” file

Find accommodation in France: temporary or permanent: see the “Find accommodation” file

Cancel and clear your contracts and housing insurance: see the “Contracts and subscriptions” file

YOUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION

Ask your children’s current school:

  • A certificate of deletion
  • A school report with comments from the teachers and grade reports

Get in touch as early as possible with the French school you wish to send your children to, to check the availability. For international schools, you might want to start as early as January/February for a seat in September.

ADMINISTRATION

For French nationals:

Since February 2016, the website modernisation.gouv.fr offers a simulator which gives a full personalised check-list of all the administrative formalities you will have to go through depending on your situation. Check it out at this link (in French only)

You need to contact both the administrations of your current location and French administrations:

  • Contact the consulate of your current location to let them know that you are leaving, and send your consular registration card
  • Require from the local authorities, the embassy or the consulate, a change in residence certificate to prove that you have lived abroad.
  • If you have paid taxes abroad, do not forget to ask for a tax exemption from your Tax Office
  • If your current location is in the European Union, have your local organisms fill out the “E” forms intended for French social organisms, especially the E301 (Pôle Emploi) and E205 (Retirement).
  • If you were covered by a “caisse de sécurité sociale pour français à l’étranger” (Social security fund for French expatriates), ask them to sign you up for the CPAM if your new contract is a French employee contract

If you are from the EU, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, the Vatican, or Saint-Martin:

  • If you have already been hired, your employer will take care of the formalities for the work permit.
  • You will then need to declare your arrival to the OFII, Office Français d’Immigration et d’Intégration (French Office for Immigration and Integration), as soon as you arrive in France.
  • Note that expatriates from Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria will also need a residence permit, which is not compulsory for other members of the UE.

For any other nationality:

  • If you have already been hired, your employer will take care of the formalities for the work permit.
  • Once the work permit has been delivered, you will need to apply to a residence permit.
  • You will then need to declare your arrival to the OFII, Office Français d’Immigration et d’Intégration (French Office for Immigration and Integration), as soon as you arrive in France.

If you have lived within the European Union: 

  • Have the local authorities fill in an « E » form for French organisations, notably the E301 (for Pôle Emploi) and E205 (for your retirement).

YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

Keep in mind that moving out is a great change in one’s life. Whether you are coming back to France after a long stay abroad, or simply moving to France for the first time, get ready to live emotionally-charged times.

France, your relations, … everything might be completely different from your current life, and you will change too. Don’t expect to have any similar experience to what you have had before: everything changes, and that “skin” of yours that you have travelled in for the past few years might not be the best fit for your new life.

Think of France as a brand new country, where everything is to be discovered and mastered, including the language.

You need to prepare such a project with your family: it is capital that each member agrees with or at least understands what is about to change.

One of you is going to sign a new contract, and the other one will have to deal with the sensitive mission of guiding and accompanying the family while having to think about his or her own future. Speaking through these topics is fundamental.

ORGANISE A RECONNAISSANCE TRIP

You might already know France, but going on a leisure trip with your family or spouse is important to positively start checking out where you are going to live and work. During these few days in France –ideally a week-, you will have the opportunity to organise a few visits for your accommodation.

And once you are there? Check our “Arriving in France” information page