Most people visit France just for weekends or on holiday, but almost all of these visitors dream of one day moving to the country. Such moves are never simple, but if you are thinking of making the step, here are a few tips to help you make the move.
1) Sending Your Child To School - If you plan to enrol your child at a school in your commune, initial enquiries should be made at your mairie (town hall), where you will be advised on who to contact and how to complete the various formalities. Children should be enrolled before June to start school in September. Home-schooling is legal, but you must speak to the mairie if you intend to take this route. France also has private schools and some international schools.
2) Finding Work - If your life in France is dependent upon finding employment, the wisest approach is to land the job before making the move. France’s high unemployment inevitably means keen competition for jobs, so patience is a virtue and good language skills are desirable. Although you must be prepared to go to France if offered an entretien d’embauche (job interview), viewing vacancies and submitting applications can all be done online, either via the government job search site or through private agencies. You can also send speculative applications to potential employers.
3) 14th July - Without question, France’s biggest national extravaganza is what the British often call Bastille Day, but the French refer to as ‘le quatorze juillet’. Festivities start on the evening of 13th, with truly spectacular firework displays all over France and partying that is likely to continue all night and into the next day. The 14th is a national holiday, when even shops that opened on Christmas Day will almost certainly be closed. Many towns arrange fêtes, parades and all manner of street entertainments, sometimes a whole week of events. If you’re in France at this time, it’s well worth finding out what’s happening near you and going along. France’s 14th July celebrations are not to be missed.
4) Eligibility for Healthcare - If you don’t intend to work or run a business in France, and are not a dependant of someone who is in the French system, you will probably need a form S1 to entitle you, initially at least, to state healthcare. You should apply for an S1 well in advance of leaving the UK. If you’re retired, contact the DWP Overseas Healthcare Team (0191 218 1999); if you’re going to continue working in the UK, contact HMRC.
5) Healthcare – Carte Vitale - This card contains a microchip which confirms your identity and social security number. When you pay for consultations, treatment or prescriptions, you will be asked for your CV. Your reimbursements will then be refunded automatically into your bank account. If you don’t have a carte vitale, or the health provider doesn’t have a card reader, you’ll be given a document called a feuille de soins. This must be presented to your caisse d’assurance, along with proof of entitlement, to claim reimbursement.
This post was written by Schepens Removals, who are one of the leading removals firms in the UK, and who specialise in removals to France.