French Connections: A how to guide for relocating to France

Scenic view of several terraced houses in street at French Connections, France

Living in France is a dream come true for many people across the world, but it's always a good idea to seek advice before taking that step. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Moving from one house to another can be a tricky business, but how about moving to another country altogether? 

When you’re relocating to France, there are a number of vital factors to consider that you may never have come across before. Purchasing property, fully registering yourself and any family members with the appropriate authorities and tackling logistical challenges that may occur along the way requires a comprehensive understanding of the French system. 

Relocation specialist Diana Nyerges, from French Connections HCB, answers some common questions about moving to France. 

Bird's eye view of French town with green fields at French Connection, France

French Connections HCB can help you to find your dream home in France, and guide you through the entire process of relocation. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Q: What are the first steps I need to take before relocating to France? 

A: France is a wonderful but very particular country, and its regulations and processes can be more stringent than countries such as the UK if you want to move here. It is important to plan ahead and not wait until you arrive before doing the paperwork and making the necessary arrangements.  

One of the first tasks you’ll need to do is to get an address in France, whether you’re looking to buy a property or rent in the first instance. Having an address is a must for getting a visa if you are planning to stay in the country for more than 90 consecutive days.

Q: How can I buy property in France? 

A: It is important to think carefully about where you want to live – do your research and visit a few places to get a feel for the local area. The process of buying a property in France is different to countries such as the UK and US, which is why having someone on hand who has knowledge of the market is crucial. For example, we can arrange visits to preferred areas, match you with local estate agents and put you in touch with great notaires (lawyers) who are government-appointed and can ensure the legal process of buying and selling a property is actioned appropriately. 

Q: What are the main challenges? 

A: One of the main logistical problems is financing. Opening a bank account in France can be tricky as you’ll need a social security number and specific documentation, such as your birth certificate. You will also need to understand, or at least have guidance through the French tax system and arrange health insurance – we have specialist financial advisors who provide expert advice. 

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Q: What else do I need to consider? 

A: If you are planning to work in France, you will need a work visa or work residency permit. If you are moving with your family and have children of school age, it’s also advisable to do research on local schools and look into the enrolment process.  

There are specific requirements regarding bringing vehicles into the country. If you want to bring your car with you, we can work with shipping agents and assist with the paperwork to help you navigate the process. You’ll also need to register your vehicle and if you are non-European, change your driving licence within the first year of your residence.

Old manor with ivy on walls and trees in garden at French Connections, France

Whether you need assistance with visa paperwork or carrying out a property transaction, French Connections HCB are on-hand to provide a comprehensive service package. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Q: How can French Connections HCB help? 

A: The bilingual team at French Connections HCB can provide step-by-step guidance of the entire relocation process. We offer every client a free initial 10-minute consultation to help us understand what they need so we can advise on a variety of bespoke relocation packages. We always go above and beyond to make moving as simple as possible and help you realise your dreams of living in France.

Flexibility is an integral part of the services we provide, as we understand that the needs of every client will differ. Whether it's navigating the very specific school enrolment system for children, communicating with customs in order to bring vehicles to France or working through insurance paperwork, we aim to build a sense of reliability and trust with all of our clients. 

For more information, contact info@frenchconnectionshcb.com or +33 1 85 65 74 98. You can also visit frenchconnectionshcb.com.