Your Ultimate Checklist for Moving to France

Get Your Free Quote Now

"*" indicates required fields

MM slash DD slash YYYY

Jump to sectionarrow down

Welcome back to our “Customs With Katy!” International Edition blog feature, where we focus on International customs-related topics for various countries abroad, brought to you by none other than Phillips’ very own Move Manager, Katy Duncan! We’ve finished up with customs tips for UK relocation for now, so, onto the next country abroad! When moving to France, check out this ultimate, comprehensive preparatory checklist as you start preparing. As you already know, there are many factors to think about both before and after moving internationally, and so here are just four things (as seen in EXPATICA) to think about which will be of paramount value to you:


Note: again, this list is not the complete version – only a brief segment. The following tips are paraphrased excerpts from the above noted source:


A pre-checklist for moving to France

To begin, if you plan to be living in France for longer than three months (which we expect you will), certain nationalities will require a French visa to travel to the country, as well as a French residence permit. Usually, though, European and Swiss citizens moving to France can live and work without requiring a permit. With that in mind, find out if you require either a French visa or residence permit, or are looking into studying in France.

Permits are linked with your residency status, so you may need to secure work before you depart for France. Look into the various kinds of French work permits, work as a freelancer or self-employed worker in France, or, start a business in France.

Once this is out of the way, you should begin preparing the following:


Register with the French authorities within three months

Upon arrival into the country, you will be required to register with the French authorities, regardless of your nationality, and whether or not you are European/Swiss citizens moving to France.

Within three months of arriving, you will need to register with the Office Français de l‘Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) if you hold a visa de long séjour (long-stay visa). Note that you should get the process started as soon as possible, as it can take a while to get your registration processed. Otherwise, you will have to register with the local government in your area to get your residence permit, and register your residence.

Find out which French visa or permit you require as well as your registration conditions beforehand.


Open a French bank account and set financial matters

Opening a bank account will ease the payment process in France, and at times, may even be required of you (i.e. wages or rent). You may be allowed to open a French bank account before you move, but you will have to inquire at your selected bank for the processes involved. Opening a bank account in France will require you to provide the following documentation:

  • Passport or ID;
  • Proof of Address (i.e. a lease agreement), and;
  • Residence Permit

It is recommended that you have enough euro or an international bank card on hand when you first move, as you can expect to receive your bank card and chequebook a week to 10 days later after opening your account. Find out how you can open a French bank account. If you are considering retirement once in France, check out the process of retiring in France.


French health insurance is mandatory

Once moved, you are legally obligated to have health insurance in France so you can access the excellent French healthcare system. Before taking advantage of this great healthcare, most will qualify to be covered by the French state insurance (sécurité sociale), and will need to first register with CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie). If you do not qualify for the state option, or want to increase your insurance coverage, then you’ll have to take out private health insurance in France.

Also be sure to register with a doctor or dentist near where you live. You will actually need to nominate a doctor who will oversee your medical care, and coordinate your medical records. Some recommendations to use to locate them, would be to either:

  • ask colleagues, friends or neighbours for their recommendations, or;
  • look through the Pages Jaunes (Yellow Pages), under médécin or on CPAM’s online directory (in French)

Check out the guide to the guide to the French healthcare system and how to find a doctor in France for more suggestions.


Find a home and getting insurance

Landlords can request that you take out insurance in France to cover property issues such as water damage, fire, explosion, and sometimes, theft by law. If your landlord does request this from you and you fail to present it, it can be grounds to evict you (if a lease clause exists) or even buy the insurance on your behalf, and request reimbursement from you afterwards.

Prior to moving to France, you should first consider whether it is more appropriate to rent or buy a property depending on your situation. Your decision will ultimately be based on an number of factors. For more information to help you make your choice, find out how to choose a school in France, how the French education system works, and about international schools in France. Also look into where to live in France as there are many beautiful cities in which to begin a comfortable life. Keep in mind however, if you plan on renting in Paris, the housing market is very competitive and saturated especially if you are looking into living in the best central neighborhoods of Paris. Although, cheaper pricing and more space is available in top neighborhoods and towns near Paris, so you may want to consider that option as well as you make your final decision on where to live in the country.

If you have children, you will be limited to the school in the area where you live, unless granted special permission by the local mairie, so you may want to keep this in mind when choosing a home in France. For more information to guide you, check out these few resources on how to choose a school in France, how the French education system works, and about international schools in France.

For the quickest and nicest routes to take for your regular journeys in France, you’ll want to check out the local transport facilities, as well as sports facilities, and other entertainment nearby so that you’ll have plenty of activities and events available to socialize.


There are still several tips left! Keep reading through the list, or, read on…


To review: So, you’ve booked and are currently coordinating your move to France. You’re getting closer…! Now, don’t forget to visit the original article we referenced and based this post on as well. You’ve read through only four – the complete preparatory checklist contains a total of 10 items, so make sure you’re fully informed!

For additional cross-border (and international) customs tips, we also recommend that you routinely check our frequent news updates.

As always, until next time, stay safe and stay customs compliant!

Contact Us


You can, by signing up for our monthly newsletter!

Get Your Free Estimate for Moving Today