Coming to France
To come and live in France you must have a valid passport. In addition, all non-European nationals wishing to settle in France must obtain a long-stay visa (visa long séjour).
- Obtaining a visa
Before travelling to France, you should obtain a visa from the nearest French Consulate in the country where you are currently living.
Citizens of EU member states, Switzerland, Andorra, Liechtenstein and Monaco only need a valid identity card or passport.
- Obtaining a resident permit (Carte de séjour)
Once in France, you can apply for a resident permit within 3 months if you are non EU national or if you are Romanian or Bulgarian (this rule should change in 2011).
If you are staying less than 3 months, there is no need for a resident permit.
For information about documents and process, please contact your employer directly or look on the government local authority’s website (La Préfecture).
Please note that there is a specific process for scientists called “convention d’accueil” – please contact your employer.
For more information, click here (website in french) or contact your employer.
Opening a bank account
To open an account, you need to provide the bank with:
- your passport or identity card
- proof of residence or electricity bill
- residence permit (if applicable)
- a proof of employment from your employer.
You will then be given a Relevé d’Identité Bancaire (R.I.B.), which is a statement of your bank details.
Please be aware that most banks charge you a small monthly fee for on-line account management.
General information available here.
Reference web sites:
Ameli.fr: French social security website
fnak.fr: web site of the Kastler foundation, information about health insurance in French and English.
We recommend that you contact the Human Resources Service of your employer for more specific information.
Services and information provided by the “Mairie”
Your town’s mairie (city/town hall) represents the French government locally and can provide useful information on different topics. Please contact them for the following:
- Legal formalities (passport, ID card, marriage, birth certificate, driving licence, elections …)
- Rules and regulations on town and country planning (if you wish to make an extension to your house for instance)
- Information on local activities and events (clubs, sport, culture, tourism, …)
- Social amenities (village hall, gymnasium, waste reception centre, …)
- Information about schools, childminders, etc.
Driving in France
All vehicle owners in France must be in possession of a valid driving license, the vehicle registration document (known as the ‘carte grise’) and a certificate of motor insurance.
- Driving license in France
In France the legal age for driving is 18. However, before you can drive you must first pass the written driving theory test and the practical driving test, after which you will be issued with a full driving license.
To find out whether your foreign driving license is valid in France, contact the Préfecture de l’Isère, driving license Department.
- Vehicle registration (carte grise)
The carte grise is a document proving that your vehicle is registered. It is issued by the dealer if you buy a new car or by the Préfecture if you import your vehicle. For more details, check: http://www.isere.pref.gouv.fr .
Please note that you should always have your valid driving licence, carte grise and insurance certificate with you when driving a car.
Taxes in France
- Income Tax (‘impôt sur le revenu’)
Anybody considered to be resident in France is subject to the same obligations as French citizens. It is your responsibility as a resident to declare your annual revenue. You can get information about taxes on: www.impots.gouv.fr .
- Other taxes
Council and property taxes
- the taxe d’habitation – council tax paid to the local authorities and charged on anyone living in an apartment or a house (renting or owning) on 1st January of the current year
- the taxe foncière – property tax paid by home owners.
The amount of tax due depends on the type and size of dwelling and its geographical position.
- Television licence. Every owner of a television set must pay an annual TV licence fee, called redevance. You will receive this tax invoice at the same time as the council tax (‘taxe d’habitation’)
Please note that when you leave France, you must have proof that all taxes due have been paid.