How to Move to France I Living in France I Move to France I Relocation Guide for Expat to France Relocating to France
If you are relocating an executive to France or if you are relocating to or within France yourself, you have found the right relocation and immigration specialists. Helpxpat provides professional relocation and immigration solutions tailored to the needs of international executives.
Moving to France
Expats moving to France will find plenty of reasonably priced, comfortable housing options. The standard of accommodation in France is similar to other Western European countries, with comfortable but small living quarters dominating the housing market.
Relocating services in France
For the past few years we have consistently relocated corporate executives to live in France and their families to, and within, France. We are responsive and professional, and always operate with care and sensitivity towards our client’s needs.
Home Search in France
Searching for a new property in France can be stressful, time-consuming and very frustrating, often requiring that you view numerous properties that don’t meet your requirements. Helpxpat will save your time by assuring all properties closely suit your needs and reporting back to you with an itinerary. Our consultants in France have considerable market knowledge and negotiation skills.
A safer option is to use the services of a relocation agent, who will be able to speak the language and understand the local nuances of the France property market. Housing in France varies from studio apartments and condos to cottages, farmhouses and even chateaux. It is generally best for expats to know well in advance the type of accommodation they’re in the market for.
Types of accommodation in France
The type of accommodation available in France depends largely on the region. Most cities offer apartments and studios, while as one travels further from the cities iconic French châteaux, farm cottages and stone houses are more readily available.
Expats should be aware that unfurnished accommodation in France, as opposed to other destinations, does not usually include any white-label appliances, like refrigerators or washing machines. Air conditioning is not a common feature, except in the south of the country, while an adequate heating system is essential for the country’s cold winters. While shipping furniture to France is a viable option, expats can rest assured that they won’t have much difficulty finding furniture after arriving in the country. Paris in particular is wonderfully shopper-friendly, boasting a famous range of second-hand and antique stores as well as a number of modern superstores.
Some of the types of accommodation available in France include:
By far the most common type of accommodation in French cities, apartments are usually rented out on a monthly basis. They vary in size from small studio apartments to sprawling high-end condos, with an equally vast range in price.
Cottages are more common in the rural areas of France. These are usually for sale, but some are rented out on a short-term basis for holidaymakers, especially near the coastal regions in the south of France. Cottages in rural France are also frequently available as renovation projects. These can be bought for a low price, but are usually in need of considerable restoration.
Cottages vary considerably in price depending on their condition, location and size. They can be suitable for expat families planning to live in France for a long period of time or those who want to avoid the fast pace of city life.
Expats with a slightly larger budget may consider buying a stunning chateau, many of which have rich histories dating back to the middle ages. That said, most have been renovated over the years and have all the amenities expected of a modern home.
How to find a home in France
One of the best ways for expats in France to find accommodation is through relocation company
Expats may find it difficult to secure accommodation in France before moving into the country, as most landlords and property owners prefer doing business with people they’ve met. It is usually also best to see the property in person with a reliable relocation agent before committing to a lease.
Due to extremely high competition among potential tenants, some of the best properties available may not be advertised publicly hence a reliable relocation company is a must for home finding in France. This option is also good for expats who are in a rush and don’t have time to browse the market themselves.
Most expats will probably decide to rent property in France. Expats will find that housing costs are mainly determined by location. The golden rule is that the closer the accommodation is to the city centre, the higher the rent will be. As a result, it is not uncommon for expats to seek accommodation in slightly outlying districts of French cities. These areas often offer bigger properties that are in better shape and boast more creature comforts, such as air conditioning and double glazing, than anything available in the downtown areas.
Expats should note that, should they rent property in an apartment building or government-subsidised housing complex, their monthly utility bills will more than likely be included in their rental fees.
Finding a property to rent in France can be a little testing. Expats may need to provide three recent payslips to prove that their monthly salary is at least three times the rent value. This is primarily a result of the many French laws in place protecting the tenant once a lease is signed. Furthermore, estate agent fees can be as high as one month’s rent.
Choosing a right school in France
The education system in France may be more complicated than most expats may be accustomed to, but it is generally nevertheless of a high standard. There are a variety of school types in France, including public, private, bilingual and international schools. Parents will need to consider the language barrier, cost and curriculum before deciding which type of institution will be best for their children.
International schools in France
Many expat parents choose to send their younger children to their local nursery school, as it is practical and free of charge. Children of this age tend to overcome the language barrier quickly and as there are few formal educational demands, the difficulties of reading and writing in French are irrelevant.
There are many international schools in France, though most are located in its large commercial centres such as Paris. These schools generally either uphold the teaching language and curriculum of an expat’s home country or subscribe to the International Baccalaureate curriculum and teach in English. Turnover rates for both teachers and students tend to be high in international schools in France, though this is largely the result of expat families not living in a country for more than a few years at a time.
While educational standards and school size tend to vary, high tuition fees are generally constant. Nevertheless, international schools in France are ideal for expat families who would like to maintain consistency in their child’s education, who plan to stay in France for a short time, or who have high school-aged children looking to attend university in their home country.
Visa and Immigration in France:
Residence permit (carte de séjour) for France
A residency permit is required of all expats in France, except EU citizens, who are planning to live in the country for more than a year. Expats have two months from their initial entry to apply for this card, but it’s best to start the process no later than one month into their stay.
To get a residence permit, expats must have entered France on a long-stay visa. They can apply for their residence permit at the Service des Étrangers section of their local préfecture. Foreigners have reported that the required documents for application vary depending on the préfecture, as do the appointment policies. Some allow scheduling online, while others require scheduling via telephone or in person, if at all. Expats are advised to make an appointment as early as possible to avoid complication. Once all documents have been submitted, expats will be given a récipissé de demande and a date for the required French medical check-up, which includes an x-ray. Applicants must take the medical confirmation certificate back to the préfecture to complete the final step of the application process.
Relocation agencies in France
Helpxpat specialise in helping people move and are set up to relieve employees of the issues that occur when moving to France and we offer a wide range of services and provide aid in every aspect of your relocation – from visa struggles and work permits, to transport and finding housing.
Relocating without any assistance and help can quickly evolve into a matter of frustration, confusion and surrender – Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!
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