Moving to France


If you are from a European Union (EU) country, the formalities associated with moving to France are minimal. Others may require a visa. Learn more about the steps to take before and after you arrive in France.

Administrative formalities

Do you need a visa before arriving ? EU nationals do not need a visa to enter France.

Visas are also not required for short stays of less than 90 days by :

- nationals of Schengen area countries,
- individuals holding a residence or travel permit from a Schengen area country.

Schengen area

The Schengen Agreement allows free movement of people between signatory countries, which include : Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

A country can therefore be a member of the Schengen area, without being a member of the European Union (Iceland, Norway) and vice versa (United Kingdom).

Visas are also not required for long stays of more than 90 days by nationals of :

- European Economic Space (EES) countries,
- Switzerland, Monaco and Andorra.

If you need a visa, visit the French embassy or consulate in your home country.

- La Maison des français de l’étranger (assistance for French citizens living, working and travelling abroad)
- Foreign embassies and consulates in France

For complete visa information, visit :

- Le Ministère des affaires étrangères et européennes(Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs)

Do you need a residence permit once you have arrived ? Nationals of the following countries are not required to obtain a foreign residence permit :

- EU countries,
- EES countries,
- the Swiss Confederation.

A valid passport from your country of origin is sufficient to reside in France.

In all other cases, you must apply for a residence permit within 2 months of arriving in France in order to stay for more than 3 months. Your local Prefecture or Sub-Prefecture can assist you with this process.

Useful tip
Minors (those under 18 years of age) need only a document de circulation (travel permit), which can be obtained at your local Prefecture. A residence permit is not required.

Health insurance in France : Sécurité sociale

If you reside in France for more than 3 months, you can benefit from the same health insurance as French citizens through the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM). Each individual covered by the CPAM is assigned a personal account number and receives a carte vitale (health insurance card), which provides health coverage information to healthcare professionals such as doctors and pharmacists. If you are a salaried employee in France, your first employer is responsible for processing your Sécurité sociale registration within 8 days of your start date. Your account number will remain the same, even if you change employers. If you are self-employed, you must initiate this process yourself.

Working in France Work permits are not required for citizens of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Space (EES).

Useful tip
Sécurité sociale does not cover 100% of healthcare costs. For more complete coverage, including dental, optical and hospitalisation expenses, it is recommended that you purchase a complementary health policy to ensure full reimbursement.

Finding a home in France

Buying a home

Purchasing real estate in France is a lengthy endeavour. If you can, start the process before you arrive ! Learn more about buying a home in France

Renting a home

In France, furnished and unfurnished dwellings are typically rented on a monthly basis, with rent payable in advance. When signing a lease, you must prove that you have sufficient income and provide a deposit of no more than 1 month’s rent to the landlord (In general, your income should be at least 3 times your rent.) To leave a rental property, you must notify the owner 3 months in advance via registered letter and indicate the date by which you will vacate the premises.

Opening a bank account in France

If you plan to stay in France for more than 3 months or wish to work, opening a bank account is essential. Learn more about banking in France

What about a driving licence ?

Confirm the validity of your foreign driving licence and the steps required to exchange it for a French licence. Once you take up residence in France, you have 1 year to exchange your licence at the nearest Prefecture. In addition, your vehicle must be insured.