Moving to France checklist

02nd March 2017
Moving to France checklist

When making a long-term or permanent move to another country, there are a lot of things to think about to ensure a seamless transfer. We recently took a look at some of the things need to be considered before a move to France – such as the red tape, healthcare, accommodation, etc – and suggested a checklist might be a useful way of ensuring that no stone is left unturned when it comes to planning the relocation. Here we have put together some of the key items that should be included on this checklist.

Take some French lessons

While many people can speak English, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily will. Showing willing in using the local language can help with integration into a new community.

Key documents to gather

Make sure the following documents are all together: passports, birth or adoption certificates, marriage certificate, health insurance cards, insurance policies, medical records, academic records and employment records.

Update a will

A last will and testament should be up to date and particularly in terms of inheritance. We recently covered the changes to inheritance law and how it affects EU expats.

Affairs to settle

There are a lot of people to tell about a permanent or long-term relocation. Ensure that the bank, the council (for council tax settlement), HMRC, utility providers, service providers, the DVLA, mortgage provider, insurance providers, doctors and dentists and so on are all aware of the move with plenty of notice so that final bills can be prepared where relevant.

Get a moving service

Research moving services to safely relocate essential furniture, valuables, art and jewellery to France. Find out more about Cadogan Tate’s experience in moving private and business clients to France on the website.

Arrange healthcare

Your European Health Insurance Card will cover necessary medical treatments in the short term, but it’s not designed for expats. Health insurance is mandatory and allows access to the healthcare system, though this doesn’t cover 100% of fees, so a top-up private insurance may be required.

Register with a doctor

In France, register with a local dentist and doctor, so that these services are in place before treatment is required.


All water, electricity and gas need to be set up in France, and cancelled in the UK to avoid being liable for two lots of bills.

Mail redirection

Mail from a UK address will need to have a redirection set up while details are switched over with relevant companies.

Deal with pets

If family pets are also being moved, make sure that all vaccinations are up to date and it is microchipped, and that the Pet Passport is up to date. An approved container will be needed for transport. Research certain breeds and animals that are banned in France or require special treatment.

Open a bank account

It is useful to have a French bank account, and some banks will allow an account to be opened before the move. Generally, banks will require ID and proof of address in France, and it can take 10 days from opening an account to getting a bank card and chequebook.


Register with the local tax office to ensure that you are sent a tax return form and avoid penalties for late or non-payment. Social security will also need to be paid.

Sort insurance

If renting a property, then the landlord may require proof of insurance against contents and buildings damage. If buying a property, appropriate insurance will also need to be in place from the outset.

Arrange services

A phone line and access to the internet are likely to be essential. As in the UK, there may be package deals for calls and data, so it’s worth shopping around. A TV licence is also required.

Sort a car and required permits/insurance

A car can either be shipped from the UK or bought in France. Registering a French car is easier, but it is possible to use a UK car although it will have to be issued with new French plates eventually. The car will need to be insured (see our article on this). A UK driver’s licence is valid as long as it doesn’t have any endorsements, restrictions or suspensions, though it can be exchanged for a French one if preferred, and an exchange is essential if a driving offence is committed.

Kit out the car

If stopped by police for any reason, the following documents and items should be available in the car: driving licence, car papers, insurance documents, MOT certificate, personal ID, a high-visibility jacket, a warning triangle and French-approved breathalyser.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers the main bases that should be considered when planning a move to France.

If you’re moving to France, find out how our international removals team can help to arrange packing, storage and transportation on your behalf.

Information correct at the time of publication. 

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