International Moving: Move to France or From France

moving to france and from france

France is known for its beautiful landscapes, iconic architecture (past and present), heritage sites, work-life balance, leisure (joie de vivre), friendly climate and beautiful places such as the French Riviera and the Eiffel Tower. It’s also rich in diversity. Moving to France is a good initiative, especially if you’re a retiree with free time, an American expat, a student, or you just want to stay in Europe for sometime. 

International relocation can be a daunting task, but we have helped simplify the process with this comprehensive guide. We’ve also provided practical advice on how to find reputable international moving companies to help ship your belongings to your new home in France. If you are moving from from France back to the US, you are covered as well.

Thing To Do Before Your Move To France

Before we begin to discuss your move to France, let’s begin with the basic issues associated international relocation such as visas, work permit and every other thing you need be set.

Visas & Work Permits

US citizen can travel to France on visit without a tourist visa. Even a three month tourist visa won’t be required for Americans. However, if relocating to France to live and work, you will definitely require a long stay visa and such as the ones below:

  • Spouse visa if moving to France to be with your partner. Or If you are a French citizen but your spouse’s nationality is different.
  • Student visa if your move to France is to study.
  • Talents visa is a type of work visa that allows you to live and work in France.
  • There is also Au pair visa which allows a young person (age 18 – 30 ) to stay and work with a host family in France.

Most of the long stay visas can earn you a residence permit once you arrive in France. If you also desire to move temporarily to other EU countries while in France and therefore, you will then apply for an EU Blue Card.

French Culture and Learning to Speak French

You don’t have to wait till you get to France before before you learn to speak French or understand the French culture. The best way to fit into your new life abroad is to speak the local language and get along with the culture.

Moving to France: Learning French

Besides, while some cosmopolitan jobs can allow you speak English only, many other jobs will require an appreciable understanding of the French language, especially if it requires dealing with the French government and its agencies often. Therefore, you need to learn French.

Another good thing about the culture is you are only required to work for 35 hours a week, meaning you have the time for other business and leisure. There are about twelve national public holidays in a year in France, and states can have additional holidays as well.

Apart from language, you should also get familiar with French cultural norms and etiquette so you can limit the culture shock and fit in easily. For example, work is 35 hour per week and lunch period is longer than normal. There are also specific market days if you want to get fresh items.

Living Costs In France

For example, compared to the cost of living, food and clothing is cheaper in the US compared to France while healthcare system is cheaper in France. Average earnings are higher in the US whereas utilities, clothing, transportation, and real estate cost more in France. 

French Riviera

You should also get familiar with the taxation system, social security and health insurance in France. As a permanent resident, you will be required to file tax returns by end of May or in June. 

If you work in France, you and your family are entitled to the French social security system which is comprehensive and includes:

  • Government pension contributions
  • Health, maternity, paternity, disability and death insurance
  • Occupational accident and illness insurance
  • Family allowances, and
  • Unemployment benefits

As soon as you move to France, you will also be required to get a health insurance to use French healthcare system. You might also need a private health insurance plan apart from the universal healthcare only covers about 70% of most medical costs.

Before you make your move to France, you can open a non-resident French bank account and regularize it when you get there. The bank account makes it easy to move the funds you will need to get started with your new French life. 

Understand the French job market

If you are moving to France for employment,  whether you already have your work contract offer or still job hunting, you need to be familiar with the work regulation in France and by extension, the European Union. 

Once you have a work visa and residence permit, you can apply for jobs in France. Prepare your CV and tailor it in France-style, also ensure you have a French translated copy done, preferrably by a native French speaker. Only send an English CV to a job posted in English. Even if not required, always attach a French copy to every application.

The sectors with the most in-demand jobs in France are health and social care, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, professional services, construction, accommodation, and food sector.

All employment related matters in France are regulated by the French Labour Ministry. The average gross salary in France for full-time employees in the private sector is 2,998 EUR (3,362) while net is 2250 EUR (2524 USD). The minimum wave is 1,498.47 EUR (1,681 USD). France notably is the second largest economy in the European Union.

If moving to France to set up your own business, you will have to register at Centre e Formalités des Entreprises (CFE). There are different CFEs in France based on the nature of your business.

You can also work in France as a Freelancer under a system called portage salarial or you can join a worker’s cooperative. In both cases, you are required to pay 7 to 10% of your monthly earnings.

Self employed people are also included in France’s social security scheme which also covers for health, family allowances, pensions as long as they send their contributions to the scheme.

If your work will require working in other EU countries while you stay in France, you will be required to apply for the blue card, which is a kind of EU work permit. You can apply for this as well when filling your residence form.

Generally, the French business culture is formal and conservative, therefore expect to deal with hierarchies in your job or business schedules. 

Popular Regions to live in France

Move to France: Eiffel Tower

Expats moving to France usually like to settle in areas where they can easily find their countrymen. Some of the most popular cities and regions you will find expats in France are:

  • Île-de-France (Which means Island of France)
  • Paris
  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
  • Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
  • Occitanie
  • Nouvelle-Aquitaine
  • Grand-Est
  • Hauts-de-France
  • Bretagne (Brittany)
  • Pays-de-la-Loire
  • Normandie (Normandy)
  • Centre-Val-de-loire
  • Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Most expats, especially Americans live around Paris and Ile-Ide-France where they can easily find employment, as well as English-speaking clubs and groups. Living in a local area or rural France challenging for expats for several reasons. 

Children Education in France

If you are a parent and wondering about schooling options for your kids when you move to France, rest assured that the public education system in France is free and open to all children legally residing in France. However, there are also international and private schools that cater for children education up to higher education level. Generally, education in France is top-notch as they boast some of the best schools in the world, and their tuition fees are relatively low.

You are at liberty to choose between public and private schools in France. However, Public education is in French. If you want a school that provides education in both English and French, you might need to take your children to private schools.

Get an International Driver's License

One of things to do to make your move to France a stress free process is to get an international driving permit before you Enter France. With that, you can drive legally in France up to 12 months before you will need a French driver’s license. EU citizens and EEA nationals can continue to use their international driver’s license indefinitely but nationals of other countries will have to convert to French license. 

Finding a place to stay in France

In preparation for your move to France to start a new life, you need to find a temporary accommodation. Even if you are hoping to buy your own home, you will need a place to stay once you enter France so you can finish your paper work and settle down to look for an ideal accommodation to rent or buy. This will require working with Real estate agents.   

Moving To France: Handling The Logistics

International relocation to France

You have secured your visa and work permits, temporary accommodation or got your new home in France ready, thanks to real estate agents. You are now ready to live with the French people and integrate into the culture.  

But one thing is left, moving your household goods and belongings to France.  This is a major part of your move and it’s not something you can handle alone. You need the services of an international mover to help you handle the logistics in a stress free process.  But before you begin to search for a mover, here are some things to know when moving to France and need to ship your belongings.

Paperworks for importing household goods to France?

Unlike some countries, you do not have to be physically present when your items are cleared through customs. You will need to show that you have lived in your home country for at least a year and that you plan to be in France for at least a year. While you will have a year to import your household goods, you will need to declare all future shipments at the time of your first shipment.

Required Documents:

  • Valid passport
  • French visa – Get this before you arrive. Trying to get one after you arrive in France will just make the process more difficult.
  • Declarations for Entry of Personal Effects and Duty Exemption
  • Valid Residence Card – “Competences et Talents”
  • Proof of Employment
  • Proof of your new residence in France, such as utility bills or a home purchase
  • Bill of lading for your overseas shipment, or, if you are a high roller, an air waybill for your air shipment

You must also provide a written declaration that you have lived in your home country for at least the past consecutive 12 months, that you have owned your household imports for at least the past six months, and that you will not attempt to transfer ownership of any of your tax and duty-free imports for at least a year after your arrival in France

As for your household goods, you will need to create a box-by-box inventory of all your belongings. A detailed inventory of your entire shipment must be valued in Euros and written in French. Here is where working with a shipper is essential.

What is the Moving Cost to France?

The cost to move a 2-bedroom household to France depends on where you are sending your goods from. If you don’t live near a major port, for example, you may need to pay for shipping overland to the shipping terminal and then for the overseas container shipping. That’s a lot of logistics to keep track of.

To ship a full container to France from New York City, for example, would cost between $7,200-$9,600. From Tokyo, the cost would be ¥1,073,300 – ¥1,436,100.

Are vehicle imports permitted in France?

To qualify for tax and duty-free vehicle imports, you must be able to prove that you have lived in your home country for at least one year and that you have owned the vehicle for at least six months prior to your move.

Most vehicles will need some level of modification to be imported to France. North American vehicles will need extensive modifications. First, they will need to be altered so that they may be safely driven on the left-hand side of the road. In addition, they will need Xenon lights, a weight detection system, and an automatic cleaning system. The cost for these modifications will be several thousand Euros.

Not every vehicle is eligible, so be sure to check with your shipper for more information.

To pass your vehicle through customs, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of French motor vehicle insurance
  • Clean title without liens
  • Proof of purchase
  • License plate numbers

If you not eligible for tax and duty-free imports, you will owe the following taxes based on the age and type of vehicle you are bringing:

  • Car over 50 years old – 5% VAT
  • Car over 30 years old – 5.5% VAT
  • Motorcycles – 9% import tax/20% VAT
  • All others – 10% import tax/20% VAT

Say oui to working with an overseas moving company

When it comes to filling out complex customs paperwork, your high school French may not cut it. Working with an overseas moving company means that you don’t have to spend your next six months juggling your packing list and a French dictionary. We can help you get packed and ensure that your paperwork is done right the first time. Contact Three Men and a Truck today to learn how we can help you get moved to France or from France without a hitch.

Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at Chris@threemenandatruck.net

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