If you are hoping to become resident in France or move to France after Brexit, the first step is to apply for a French long-stay visa. Visa applications can seem complicated, but with careful planning and preparation, you can speed up the process and ensure you have everything in place for your transition to France. Here, our partners at Fab French Insurance offer five tips to help you apply for French residency.
1. Open a French Bank
One of the first steps is to open a French bank account. You will experience many issues down the road if you cannot get some bank details (IBAN) that start with the holy grail “FR…”. For example, many insurers will only accept bank details from a French bank account and nothing else.
If you already have a French bank account, but are not yet living here or not yet known as a permanent resident, then tell your Bank you are now here permanently, and they will change your designation in their files.
2. Take Out Health Insurance Suitable for a Residency Application
You’ll need some private health insurance as part of the French long-stay visa application process. To be accepted for French VISAs (Carte de Séjour) or for Residency applications, a policy needs to meet certain criteria. Our partner provider FabFrenchInsurance have plans that have been battle-tested, but if you look elsewhere, you need to make sure you have a comprehensive plan that covers hospitalisation, emergencies and some outpatient benefits (amongst other things).
For residency applications, you need to have a permanent plan so don’t go for “time-limited” plan, which would cover you for 3 or 6 months. Aim for a minimum of 1-year commitment so that the French prefecture will consider it as “permanent”.
Don’t worry about the 1-year commitment either, as some policies can be cancelled once you’re accepted into the French system and converted into Mutuelles (top-up health insurance).
3. Check Your Home Insurance
If you are a second-home owner in France, you should make sure you have your property insurance set up as a “Résidence Principale” and not “Résidence Secondaire” (or anything else).
Contact your local Mairie to tell them that your home is no longer a “Maison Secondaire” or if you’ve just arrived make sure you “wave in” (even virtually) to ask them for an attestation confirming you are now resident here (which may be used as proof of arrival in France at a later period).
Make sure all your utility bills only carry your French address now (including your bank details of course).
4. Register for French Social Security
If you’re British, you can contact the UK DWP to say you are moving and ask for the S1 (if you’re eligible). Note that S1 holders don’t need to have health insurance.
5. Don’t Forget Your Car Insurance
Legally speaking you need to import your vehicle to France if you are driving a foreign-registered vehicle. Make sure you get started asap as it can take a little while to complete and of course take out some French Car Insurance too (some providers like FabFrenchInsurance.com can even insure you under British or foreign plates until the vehicle gets officially imported).
Many other things are different in France when it comes to insurance (for example, builders need to have a 10 years insurance policy, and house insurance must be taken out by both the landlord and the tenant), but these first steps will get you on the way to your new French lifestyle and more importantly, help secure your French residency. Godspeed!