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Moving to France
A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to France
Do you dream of walking down beautiful Parisian boulevards or owning a vineyard in the Champagne region? This guide explores the steps to take for a smooth relocation to France, including any requirements for moving to the country. It will cover important issues, from learning Français to increase your chances of finding a job, to how to how to find your ideal home in the country. For instance, did you realize that it is better to house hunt before the summer, as tourists drive prices up and many estate agents vacation in August?
Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.
Relocating to France involves more than finding a house near to your favorite pâtisserie, though this is a great benefit of moving to the country. It can be hard to move here, especially if you do not speak French and want to settle in the countryside. However, a straightforward immigration system and extensive transportation infrastructure means that the practical elements of moving here alone or with family can be achieved with the correct planning.
Whether your chosen destination is the bustling City of Lights or a quiet town nestled along the French Riviera, this guide covers the key things to know when moving to France. We cannot tell you why moving here is a great idea for you, but we do cover what you need to do in order to make your dream a reality. After you have read this guide, you will be able to identify what you need to do to move to France, such as which type of visa and work permit you need and how to apply for it. You will also understand how to register for social security and other state-run benefits such as public education and healthcare.
Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.
There are many things to keep in mind during the process of moving to France, particularly shipping and storing your household goods. Learn how to breeze through the customs process when you arrive in this section of the guide. We provide essential information and stress the importance of having the right paperwork. For instance, EU citizens will be able to pass customs duty-free as long as you can provide detailed records proving you have paid VAT on the items you are transporting. If you are moving to France from outside the EU, you should expect to pay VAT and duty tax on all items. This process will require authorization before arrival and can take up to a month so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to take care of this before your move.
We understand that relocating with your family includes furry friends, so if you are moving to France with pets you will also need to read this section of the guide. We cover everything you need to prepare for your pet to move with you, including ensuring you have proof of their current rabies vaccination and that they are microchipped. You may also need to provide a pet passport or a non-commercial EU health certificate from a vet, and should be aware that regulations regarding pet immigration change depending on which country you are coming from and what type of animal you are bringing with you. For instance, Staffordshire terriers, Pitbulls, Mastiffs, and Tosas without pedigree are banned in France.
This section also covers important information relating to the vaccinations required to enter France. Depending on the country you are arriving from, you may need to have specific vaccinations. Be sure to consult a medical professional well in advance to ensure that you are up to date with Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, and Rabies. Some of these may need to be administered in multiple doses or within a particular timeframe, so make sure you know what you will need well in advance.Read Guide
Finding work in France can be a challenge if you are not prepared, but our guide ensures you have all the necessary information on how to get a job here. For example, when you apply for a job, it is a good idea to send a translation of your CV in French. This might help you get a job that pays above the average salary in France, which is 3,000 EUR (3,550 USD) gross (or 2,250 EUR (2,700 USD) net) for a full-time, private sector employee. Once employed, you can look forward to France’s social security benefits, which are among the highest in the EU.
In this section, you can also learn about French business culture, which tends to be formal and conservative with an emphasis on hierarchy. If you are more interested in self-employment in France, we also cover how to set up a micro-enterprise to make sure that your income is recognized by the state, including registering at the social security office to get your tax ID number.Read Guide
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Did you know that most people rent, rather than buy, their accommodation in France? This is great for expats as there are lots of rental choices, including different types of houses in rural areas and apartments if you are living in a city. For instance, if you decided not to move your household goods with you, it is possible to find furnished houses and apartments for rent in France. Furnished apartments tend to be rather old, however, and unfurnished places provide greater legal protection and a longer minimum lease—typically three years.
Expats learning about housing in France will also learn from this section about the average rent across the country and how to organize your utilities. There are also plenty of tips and tricks for how to rent in bigger cities, such as Paris, where it can take many months to find your home away from home. This means booking a short-term rental before you make the move is a good idea, so you have time to find your ideal property.
You should also read this guide to learn how to buy a house France as a foreigner, including a look at the average housing prices across the country. May to July is the best time of year for house hunting in France as many real estate agents are on vacation in August. September to October is not a good time to look for a place in a university town, and the French housing market is also particularly slow around the Christmas season.Read Guide
This section of our guide explains the healthcare system in France, one of the best in the world. It is important to understand as all legal residents and non-residents are eligible to join, regardless of employment status. However, it may take several months to meet the residency requirements to benefit from public healthcare, so plan to purchase private health insurance in France to cover this gap. Once you are part of the French healthcare system, you will also be eligible for a European Health Insurance Card that reduces hospital costs across the European Union.
You will learn that the hybrid French healthcare system is paid for by both the state and the individual. The state covers 70% of the cost on average. Prescribed medicine purchased from a pharmacy may also be eligible for 15-100% reimbursement from the state depending on how necessary it is. Importantly, this section also covers how to find a doctor in France and giving birth in the country. Did you know that all medical costs during pregnancy are covered in France? New moms are also guaranteed a minimum of eight weeks of maternity leave.Read Guide
Opening a bank account in France can be relatively easy thanks to the popularity of online-only banks and international banks. A non-resident bank account in France is available for expats who do not have residency, while expats with residency will have a broader range of banking options available to them.
The best banks in France include those with multiple branches throughout the country such as BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, Credit Mutuel, and La Banque Postale, among others. If you are under 26, the best bank account to open is a no-fee account which is sometimes available in some branches.
Most expats in France are required to pay income tax. France’s tax rate is 30% minimum on income for non-residents. The French VAT is 20%, which is above the OECD average but still below certain European nations, such as the Scandinavian countries. Our Banks and Taxes section can help you master the ins and outs of France’s banking and tax system.Read Guide
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This section looks at the public education system in France, which is free and open to any child legally residing in the country. From childcare to the higher education system, we explore the best options for expats. For example, international and private schools in France are a popular option for children born overseas. Parents wishing to enroll their children into the international school system should be aware of the need to apply early. For expats with older children, we look at the higher education system in France. The country boasts 75 public universities and some of the best schools in the world, as well as relatively low tuition fees.Read Guide
Finding work in France can be a challenge if you are not prepared, but our guide ensures you have all the necessary information on how to get a job here. For example, when applying for a job, it is a good idea to send a translation of your CV in French. This might help you get a job that pays above the average salary in France, which is 2,998 EUR (3,350 USD) gross (or 2,250 EUR (2,500 USD) net) for a full-time, private sector employee. Once employed, you can look forward to France’s social security benefits, which are among the highest in the EU.
In this section you can also learn about French business culture, which tends to be formal and conservative with an emphasis on hierarchy. If you are more interested in self-employment in France, we also cover how to set up a micro-enterprise to make sure that your income is recognized by the state, including registering at the social security office to get your tax ID number.Read Guide
Living in France is not cheap, particularly if you make your home in Paris. One thing expats can appreciate, though, is the excellent public transportation in France. Getting around the city and country is very easy by train or bus. There are also a lot of affordable connections to the rest of Europe from France, making international travel accessible and affordable. If you do choose to opt for driving in France, it is essential to make sure that you know the local traffic rules before setting out in your car. Check out our Living section to learn more pros and cons of living in this country, as well as practical tips such as how to get your local driving license.Read Guide