Moving and Packing Tips

Guide on Moving to France from the UK

The United Kingdom and the French Republic have had strong connections from the 19th century until today. The treaty between both countries started with the Entente Cordiale, which was a series of agreements signed between the UK and France in 1904.

What’s living in France like?

Image source: depositphotos / By happyalex

The French language is the origin of the word “entrepreneur”. From the French word “entreprende” (undertake) and the English word “enterprise”. In today’s business ecosystem, that has to mean something. Officials are really working to improve the business development conditions in the country. Foreign investments peaked last year, and France is actually passing laws to encourage startups.

If something unexpected happens and you are tricked by something or someone, the process in court will be executed in a manner that well suits foreigners. Every stage is translated into English. The dispute itself is taken under judicial systems designed to operate in international business law.

Job opportunities are available even if you are not planning an entrepreneurial endeavour.

The social system of France is well-developed. Every person that is legally living in France gets social benefits. The state will even give you back 75% of your GP cost (€23 / £20). Universities are either free or inexpensive. The state can also provide benefits for rent and children born in France. In essence, it is a good country to start your family life.

For those of you seeking a peaceful place to live after your retirement. France has some villages and small cities that can provide you with the necessary silence and relaxation. They can also offer a unique charisma, beauty and many art galleries.

France could turn into a new home for everyone. The country is rich in museums, historical places and culture.

If you prefer big-city living, are always on the move and are always on the rise, then Paris is your place. Do you want a peaceful rural life, busy day-to-day life and friendly neighbours? Go to Côtes d’Armor. Which is right on the coast, as a little extra.

There are things to know before moving from the UK to France. As a professional, when it comes to international removals, we researched and obtained experience from clients whose knowledge we share in the rows below.

Living in France after Brexit

Do I need a visa to move to France from the UK? It may be necessary to obtain a visa if you plan to move to France and work there. You can find information on getting a visa and working in France as a foreign national under the French government’s guidance (in French). You may require a UK police certificate when applying for a job.

UK residents do not need a visa to visit a Schengen area country for 90 days in a 180-day period. This applies to France as well.

Residence Permit (Carte de Séjour)

When it comes to a residence permit, you can apply for it after you enter French territory. You have to apply within two months of moving to France. Your kids can stay in France as long as you are permitted to do so.

Both governments are working together to ensure that expats from the UK in France, and the other way around, continue to live as they have lived so far, even after the initiation of Brexit.

You can search for the specific procedure in the town you select as your future home. Every “préfecture” (district under authority) has a slightly different procedure. Be patient as, with every bureaucracy, it might take time.

Driving in France after Brexit

Can I drive in France with a UK driving licence? If your UK licence is first issued before 1 January 2021, it will be recognized in France for the duration of its validity.

French driving licence

To continue driving in France after moving and having a driving license issued by a non-European country, you need to exchange it for a French driving license within one year.

Working in France

From January 1, 2021, British citizens working in France or a French overseas territory for more than 90 days will need a long-stay visa.

Some jobs may require a criminal record check from the UK.

You can apply for your criminal record check by filling out a form.

If you are a holder of a permanent resident permit (Carte de Résident, CR) in France, you automatically have the right to work in France.

You must apply for a work permit if you have a provisional stay permit (Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour, APS).

Different types of French work permits:

  • Temporary residency permit (Carte de Séjour Temporaire, CST) – This permit specifies your line of work and where you are allowed to operate.
  • Temporary work permit (Autorisation Provisoire de Travail, ATP) – This applies when you live and work in France, but your pay is from a company outside France.
  • Seasonal work contract (Contrat de Travail Saisonnier) – You need this permit if you are on some form of “Work And Travel” within a specified period.

The economy of France is currently flourishing, especially regarding startups and small to medium-sized businesses. There are also great conditions for the development of tourism. The overall state and the number of investments from other markets make France a preferred place to build a career.

Note that while you are a “temporary resident” of France, you may still have to pay UK taxes. Resolve this matter before your move.

This can be accomplished by filling a “P85” form, with which you tell the “Revenue and Customs” (HMRC) that you are planning to live and work outside the UK. The HMRC will send you a reply with how your taxes will be affected.

For your convenience, France and the UK have a “Double Taxation Convention” which can prevent your income from being taxed twice.

The minimum wage in France is actually one of the highest in Europe. After January this year (2018), it has moved up slightly to €11.07 / £9.52 per hour, which is around €1,645 / £1,414 per month after taxes.

French healthcare system

Speaking of healthcare, pay attention to the vaccinations you need to do before leaving the country and those you need to do after moving to France from the UK.

If you are suffering from any medical condition that requires the systematic acceptance of any medication, remember to take your prescription with you. Check the drugs in your medicine here to see if you can carry them while travelling.

If your medicine contains a drug from category – 2, 3 or 4, you must carry proof that it was prescribed. This proof can be in the form of a letter written and signed by your doctor. The letter must explain your condition and when and where to carry the medicine.

If you want to have extra quantities of your medication while you find a way to get it in France, you have to fill out this form.

Anyone living and working in France must have a health insurance card (Carte Vitale), which he will need when seeking medical help. For any questions regarding your French health insurance rights, you can call the advice line of the l’Assurance Maladie. They can assist you in English. Just call 0 811 36 36 46 (from France) or 0033 811 36 36 46 (from outside France).

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Cost of living in France

The cost of living in Paris is roughly 3% cheaper than living in London. That is not a meaningful difference at first glance. A percentage of that sort can easily shift over a month. So let’s check some prices. You can calculate your own cost of living in France.

Food prices in France

A traditional baguette from a well-established bakery costs around €1 / £0.86. The essentials on the table, such as bread, milk, eggs, chicken and fish, are not expensive. Even when you compare the prices with the minimum wage.

Food Prices Euro / Pound

ProductPrice in €Price in £Unit
Eggs€2.59£2.2610 pieces
Bread€1.37£1.201 piece
Milk€0.96£0.84per litre
Beer€1.72£1.50per litre
Chicken€9.15£8per kg
Tomatoes€2.29£2per kg
Potatoes€1.49£1.30per kg
Apples€2.29£2per kg
Bananas€1.94£1.70per kg

A dinner for two in a local pub costs roughly €45 / £40. If you decide to go to a restaurant, you stand to spend €90 / £70, which depends on the area and the restaurant.

A meal during your lunch break can cost you around €17 / £15 however, if you go with fast food, you can cut the expenses to around €8 / £7.

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Paying bills in France

You need around €150 / £131 a month for utility bills. That includes water, electricity and gas for a property of 85 m2.

This bill tag can cover a couple without a child. If you plan to move to France alone, your monthly utility bills drop halfway. In this case, you can even look for a smaller apartment, which is common and with around 50m2 of living area.

Living in the smaller apartment will cost you around €80 / £65 a month in utility bills.

Renting in France

Image source: depositphotos / By photography33

The rent cost is €1,250 / £1,090 monthly for a three-bedroom residence. For a single-bedroom apartment, rent will set you back €572 / £500 a month.

Prices vary with the location, as you would expect. Properties that are in close range to the city centre have a higher rent price.

Fuel cost in France

Driving your personal car in France has some additional costs. Your gasoline cost is €1.75 / £1.50 per litre (Diesel €1.95 / £1.30).

When it comes to buying a car, you should look around for deals from official dealerships. A Toyota Corolla with standard equipment comes with a price tag of €21,000 / £19,000.

Ford has immense success in the UK. The “Focus” here costs around £20,000 / €22.700 (depending on equipment and engine), and in France, the same car would be €25,000 / £22,000.

If you are going to France with your own vehicle, note that you must register it within six months of your arrival. During that period, you can drive around with your UK number plate and documents.

List of documents and items that you should have on you while driving in France:

  • driving licence – UK or French
  • car papers
  • insurance paper
  • MOT/Control technique certificate
  • passport or ID (ID of your passengers)
  • high-visibility jacket
  • red warning triangle

French motorway tolls and fees

Driving from the UK through France may cost some extra, considering the toll taxes in France.

Additional charges to French toll taxes:

  • Getting your car in France on a ferry – around £50 / €57, depending on the number of passengers, the day of the travel and the ferry route. Discounts are available and are something common, so look for them.
  • Getting your car in France through the Eurotunnel – the cost goes around £100 / €114 depending on the date you choose. This is for a car below 6 ft with no trailers and with no return date.

Lastly, the toll taxes in France. Let’s just say you take the Eurotunnel to Calais and you want to go to Paris. You must pay a toll tax of around €23 / £20. A journey all the way to Lyon will net you another €80 / £70 in toll taxes.

The amount you pay on each toll position depends on where you are heading and your vehicle type. To have a precise estimate of the price that you will have to pay, use a toll tax calculator.

Ready to take the leap? Learn more about our international removals service.

Life in France

Image source: shutterstock / By View Apart

French people love life and cherish the beauty in every moment. You can feel that when you ask about their favourite wine or their loved ones.

Life in France has a bit of everything. If you prefer a busy and engaging life in the big city, you will probably choose Paris as your new home. And if you prefer to enjoy spending your time at the local market, working in the garden and living in a friendly small-scale community, you will probably opt for a French village or a small city somewhere away from Paris.

As a newcomer, you will most likely feel out of place at first. You just have to learn how to enjoy the little things in life. A couple of new friendships with locals can be the start of a pleasant new experience in France. Those new friends can share experiences that can make you rediscover France and find your place in it.

Regarding your professional life and career, you will have enough job opportunities and social benefits as a French resident. In a way, life in France might strike you as a bit more relaxed than anywhere else. And a bit more in order, especially when it comes to living in Paris.

Public transportation is well-sorted and cheap. France has a policy of limiting emissions in big cities. Other means of transportation are encouraged. The price for a monthly pass for the metro in Paris is roughly €75 / £66, but discounts are available regularly.

What about the food? You must be well familiar with the famous French cousins Beef bourguignon, Ratatouille and Escargot (snails), so we won’t waste time on that.

It is important to note that the youth in the country is pointed towards healthy eating habits. The menus in every school cafeteria are prepared with the help of dietitians, and fruits are a large part of them. Regarding fruits and veggies, they have substantial displays in every supermarket and are inexpensive.

British expats in France

There is a large number of Brits living in France. They naturally form British communities. Each of these communities has the purpose of connecting, gathering and helping British nationals.

You can find a community in every major city. Some of the most popular places for Brits are Paris, Brittany and Lyon. You have a high chance of meeting fellow UK expats in those areas.

According to data from France’s National Statistics Agency (INSEE), there are 160,000 British expats living in France.

The regions of France with the most British expats:

  • Ile-de-France region
  • Poitou-Charentes
  • Bretagne

The regions of France with the least British expats:

  • Island of Corsica – Brits had enough of living on an island.
  • Champagne-Ardenne
  • Franche-Comté

Take note that native French citizens would love to embrace you in the community if only you try to learn a bit of the language and interact with them.

Locals tend to stay at bay from small groups of anglophone people. It is comforting to have a fellow national by your side in times of trouble. But remember that the locals can very much turn into valuable friends with extensive knowledge about life in France. No one else can present such information to you.

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France essentials

Should you learn French before moving?

It is a great idea to do so. Knowing some French before your move to France makes it easier for you to find a job.

The benefits of learning the language will not limit only to having a better chance of a job interview.

It makes your day-to-day life in France far easier. French people love their language, and situations in which you are understood but not answered, only because you ask in English, are not something uncommon.

Knowing some basic French will ease your search for new friends and connections. Some native friends will be a big help in your endeavours.

Moving to France with kids

Nothing is stopping you from moving to France with your kids. If you are permitted to stay in the country, so are your kids and family.

If you plan a trip outside the EU, they must apply for a DCEM (Document de Circulation Pour Étranger Mineur). This will permit them to return back in the EU after your vacation.

Voting from France

You can still exercise your right to vote from outside the UK. All you have to do is register here. You will be expected to register again only if you change your marital status or your address. Otherwise, you can vote multiple times with one registration.

Set on moving to France?

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Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH

In conclusion

If you particularly enjoy sunny weather, good food, and wine, France is a strong contender when it comes to choosing your new home as a British national.

It is far enough for you to feel away from anything bothering you in the United Kingdom. Still, France is close enough for you not to feel too stranded from your country of origin. You are always flying away from home, wherever you decide to live. But, if it is France, you are a train ride away from the UK. So close, yet so far, as one may say.

Disclaimer: Every piece of information here is meant for informational and educational purposes only. So please, do not use this as a definitive legal basis. Fantastic Services encourages you to seek authority professional counsel before you decide to act upon what you have read. For more information, check our disclaimer.

Did you find our guide on moving from the UK to France helpful? Are you an expat in France? Please, share your personal experiences in the comments.

Image header source: DepositPhotos / sborisov

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