Bonjour, New Life! A Guide to Living & Working in France


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Bonjour, New Life! A Guide to Living & Working in France

Embrace your new French adventure! From visas to property, integration tips, daily living and more… we look at how to make a successful move to France. Sarah, a senior advisor with CA Britline, shares her insights.

“While many dream of living and working in France, some actively embrace it to make it a reality. At CA Britline, clients tell us key factors are France’s better work/life balance, more affordable property as well as the challenge of a new project and lifestyle.

Living and working in France though is quite different from spending time on holiday; so it’s critical that you plan your move carefully, thinking through all the options including where to live and how you will earn money to support and enjoy your new life.

The French Visa process

An essential starting point is to verify your eligibility for full-time residency in France; EU/EEA citizens maintain the right to live and work in the country. If you have a UK passport you need to meet the criteria for a long-stay visa. A French talent passport (or visa) may be an option if you have highly sought after skills or experience.  Check out the French government’s visa wizard for further details. Since Brexit, it is more difficult to get UK professional qualifications recognised in France and the EU; you may need to take additional training or an exam.

Finally, before making a commitment to purchase a property, make sure you thoroughly understand and can meet France’s long-stay visa requirements.

Buying a property

Buying a home in France is quite different to the UK; not only in terms of the types of property but the financial aspects too.

If you are planning to use all your cash savings to buy and renovate, remember that in France you cannot borrow against your home. Therefore, if the monthly repayment is affordable it could make sense to take out a mortgage instead, keeping back some of your savings.

Opening a gîte or chambre d’hôtes is a popular option for many Britons. It is tricky though to live off this kind of rental income alone, so work it out financially – and consider other supplementary ways of making a living.

Another tip when thinking about property: size isn’t everything! Large gardens – and houses for that matter – are often very attractive, however think about the practicalities. What suits you now may be a real challenge in later life.

Children and Education

If you have a family, the age of your children, where you live and proximity to schools/ community facilities are important considerations. Learning the language is another factor; younger children generally adapt more quickly than older children.

Daily living and integrating in France

It’s also important to understand that things do not work the same way in France as the UK.

Working hours are different, and in smaller rural areas particularly shops still close for lunch.

Learning the language is also really important… not everyone can speak French fluently; however, if you make no effort to learn French, you will live a very singular life – missing out on some great opportunities or simply having a chat with your neighbours.

Final words

Don’t follow pipe dreams! In planning your move to France, be honest with yourself. What are you able – and are prepared to do? You need a realistic plan as to how you are going to survive – and thrive!

CA Britline – your next step to Living and Working in France

CA Britline’s friendly team of English-speaking advisors can help you with all of your daily banking needs in France. CA Britline provides documentation and other services to our customers in English. Check out also our useful guides for anyone considering moving to France.

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