Moving to France from UK - The Checklist
Whether it be for lifestyle, work or retirement purposes, moving to France should and will be a joyous experience but, in order to truly enjoy the benefits in the long-term, it’s important to get on top of the planning and admin before your move!
Anglo French Removals have over 30 years of experience in removals between the UK and France and has put the following guide together to help ensure the transition goes smoothly for you.
If you’re moving to France from the UK make sure you do these 9 key things before your big move:
- Organise your UK and French paperwork
- Research the cost of living
- Secure your visa, residency and work papers
- Register with the French government
- Sort your utilities, Internet and post
- Setup Your French bank account
- List emergency contacts
- Organise your move
- Embrace French culture
1. Organise Your UK and French Paperwork
While it may not be the most exciting thing about your move to France, organising your documentation is important to make sure you feel safe and secure in another country. This includes:
- Birth and marriage certificates (if applicable)
- Medical documents (incl. EHIC, vaccinations and private healthcare)
- Education and qualification documents
- UK tax documentation
- Driving license and vehicle documents
- Banking and financial documents
Making sure you have gathered this information and checked with the UK and French authorities the specific documents you need will really help you feel settled in your new home country. It’s also important you inform all of the relevant authorities of your intentions to move before you take the plunge!
2. Research the Cost of Living in France and Your Budget
Don’t just assume that expenditure will be directly comparable with your current outlay in the UK. Speak to current residents in your destination community or friends/family who have prior experience – this is a far more reliable sounding board than online forums. If you have the chance to visit the community prior to your move, treat it like a trial period rather than holiday and take note of how much you spend in an average week to help budget in the long-term.
One way to streamline expenditure is to cancel existing subscriptions (e.g. gym, newspapers, utilities) in the UK and be ruthless about the ones you set up in France. Moving home is perhaps the best opportunity to organise your life and spending, leaving funds for the things you really need or hobbies you’ll get your kicks from!
As the move approaches, try to break your budget down into shorter periods. Consider the journey there, e.g. petrol, travel fares, stopover accommodation and meals; setting in e.g. car rental, new furniture, initial food shop; and then your weekly or monthly budget for the foreseeable future.
3. Secure Your Visa, Residency and Work Papers
As a UK and EU citizen, you won’t need a visa if you are moving to France before Brexit. If you are moving to France after Brexit however, you may need a visa in order to move and live in France.
These terms will ultimately be decided following Brexit negotiations, and you should keep an eye on official UK and French government sources for more information on long-stay and short-stay visa requirements for British citizens moving to the UK after Brexit.
Regarding working in France, you won’t need a work permit as a British citizen within the EU, as you are able to work freely in the country. However, as with visas, this may change following Brexit. This may mean you will need a work permit and a confirmed place of work before you begin your move from the UK to France.
As with visas, you should check with the relevant authorities as to the requirements to work in France after Brexit.
4. Register with the French Government
As a UK citizen, it is not mandatory to register with the French government, and you do not need a registration card (carte de séjour).
However, the French Authorities do recommend that UK nationals should apply for a registration card under the current system. It is also recommended that UK nationals living in France should also apply for a registration card.
The status regarding registration cards is likely to change after Brexit so you should check official government sources to stay up to date as negotiations and the transition develops.
5. Sort Your Utilities, Internet and Post
The logical first step here is to speak with your landlord or future neighbours to see which providers they use for utilities, i.e. water, gas and electricity. Typically, French homes use EDF for electricity and GDF for gas – whichever provider you opt for, let them know of your new address as soon as possible or you may risk a first week of cold water and darkness!
Setting up a TV and the Internet can be just as easy if you know what you’re doing. TV licence fees are included within your occupier’s tax (the French equivalent of council tax). Landline telephone and Internet services can be bought as a package, much like back home, so be sure to shop around for the best rates according to your needs.
In terms of post, ask someone back home, perhaps the new owner of your UK house, to keep an eye for mail and give your new French address to redirect. It is possible to redirect more officially but you don’t want to miss an important bill that accumulates interest or late payments fees.
6. Setup Your French Bank Account
Sticking with your UK bank account may make things difficult in France, as you will be using an international bank account.
To make purchases big and small simpler in France, it’s advisable that you set up a French bank account. This is especially the case if you are buying or renting property or organising your utilities and insurance.
You can set up your French bank account before you move to France, with banks allowing you to set up a non-residency account for those without a permanent French postal address. With the prevalence of online banking, it should be fairly simple to sort out your finances before you arrive!
7. List Emergency Contacts
While we don’t like to think of anything bad happening following a dream move to France, it’s important that you make a list of emergency contacts should anything happen to you, loved ones or friends.
This includes French emergency phone numbers but also details of the British embassy and any relevant authorities in the UK and France. This will be useful in emergency situations but also if you become a victim of unfamiliar bureaucracy for any reason following your move and find yourself unsure of where to turn.
It’s also important to list contact details of family and friends in the UK and France in the event of something negative happening to you or those you are living in France.
8. Organise Your Move
Making sure your move from the UK to France is organised will help you feel so much more relaxed about your move and your new life in France.
Anglo French Euro Removals have over 30 years experience in removals to and from the UK and France. Whether you are moving home and all your belongings and need a full removal to France, or just a part removal, our team know how to get the job done.
We’re able to offer you a free, no-obligation removal quote no matter where you are moving to in France. On the day we can handle everything, including packing your items securely and loading your belongings - making your move as easy as possible.
9. Embrace French Culture
Try and develop your fluency in the French language. This won’t only make it easier to find work while in France but will make socialising and meeting people so much easier. The locals will appreciate this because, whilst a lot of them may have at least basic English proficiency, you should at least try and meet them halfway.
There are plenty of free apps to make this process both enjoyable and successful, such as Duolingo, Get everyone in the moving party involved – kids, partners, siblings, your granny – and keep it as a fun activity rather than a chore. If you know someone in the place you’re moving to or a friend knows the language, then ask them for advice, practice conversations or which words and phrases should take priority in the learning process.
Similarly, take time to understand how the culture may differ in your new home environment. You don’t need to sell your soul and become a completely new person just to fit in but, like with language, you can’t expect locals to overhaul their traditions to accommodate you. It’s important to find a healthy middle ground and take the time to get to know people and customs.
Once you have ticked off the above 9 things from our moving to France checklist you should be all ready for your big move! Don’t forget, Anglo French are able to handle your move to France and can help make the process easy and stress-free. Click here for your free, no-obligation quote, use our contact form to submit an enquiry about your planned move to France, or get in touch with our team today on 01237 431393