Table of contents
Key information for moving to France
1/ Residence permit
If you wish to move to France, you must go to the town hall in the commune in which you are residing, within three months following your arrival, with your valid passport or identity card. Failure to do so will result in a fine. You will immediately receive a registration certificate (attestation d’enregistrement).
You are not required to have a residence certificate (titre de séjour). However, you may request one from the préfecture in your place of residence (or from the sous-préfecture, the town hall or the police station, depending on the département). For this purpose you must present a valid passport or identity card, as well as supporting documentation depending on your status:
- If you are employed: an employment contract, a work certificate or proof that you are self-employed;
- If you are retired or not active in the work force: proof that you have sufficient resources for you and the members of your family, and that you have health-maternity insurance;
- If you are a student: proof of your registration at an educational institution and a certificate for health-maternity insurance; you must also declare, on your word of honour, that you have sufficient resources for yourself and, if applicable, the members of your family.
The residence card is provided free of charge. A receipt will be given immediately. The residence card is valid for a maximum of five years, with the exception of students (one year, which can be renewed).
After five years of uninterrupted residence in France, you will have acquired the permanent right to live in France, and will no longer be required to justify the conditions for your stay (proof of sufficient resources, for example).
2/ Vehicle registration
If you move to France you must have your vehicle registered within six months following your arrival in France.
You must first go to the tax office (Direction générale des impôts – DGI) in your place of residence in order to obtain a registration certificate for a land motor vehicle coming from the European Union (certificat de véhicule terrestre à moteur en provenance de l’Union Européene). If your vehicle is second-hand (more than six months old and with more than 6,000 kilometres driven prior to its arrival in France), you will already have paid the VAT in the country of purchase and will not have to pay it again when the vehicle is imported into France. However, you should also ask the tax office for a tax exoneration certificate (certificat fiscal d’exonération), 1993-VT-REC. This document is required for registration of your vehicle with the authorities in your préfecture.
In order to obtain these certificates, you must present the following documents:
- Original and copy of the bill, or of the equivalent document, from the seller of the vehicle;
- Original or copy of the registration certificate (grey card) obtained abroad;
- If these documents are not in French, a certified translation might be required.
N.B.: If your vehicle is new (less than six months old and with fewer than 6,000 kilometres driven prior to its importation), you must pay the VAT in France (and, if necessary, request the reimbursement of the VAT already paid from the appropriate authorities in the country of purchase).
In order to register your vehicle, you must go to the closest préfecture to your place of residence with the following documents: proof of your identity and residence, documents received from the tax office (DGI), as well as a European conformity certificate (certificat de conformité européen) for your vehicle – available from your dealer – and a technical control certificate (certificat de contrôle technique) if your vehicle is more than four years old. In order to obtain your French grey card (carte grise), you will also have to pay a registration fee.
Note: Beginning in 2009, the present procedure for vehicle registration in France (Système du Fichier National d’Immatriculation) will gradually be replaced by a new procedure (le Système d’Immatriculation des Véhicules). After this date, each vehicle will receive a life-long licence plate number. You will also be able to request the grey card and pay the various fees directly with the sellers of vehicles (garages, dealers, independent sellers), instead of only at the préfecture.
In France the VAT for the purchase of vehicles is 19.6%.
Key information for obtaining insurance in France
1/ Automobile insurance
In France third party liability auto insurance is compulsory. An insurance certificate (vignette) will be provided by your insurance company, along with the insurance attestation (green card). The vignette must be attached to the windshield/windscreen of your vehicle.
There is a bonus/malus system for auto insurance in France. When you take out your insurance policy, you must provide the insurance company with information about the usual drivers of the vehicle, any accidents that have occurred during the last five years, as well as any bonus/malus applied the previous year. This document will be provided, on request, by your insurance company in your country of origin.
In the event of an accident involving a vehicle that is not identified, not insured, stolen or insured with a bankrupt organisation, you can request compensation from a French guarantee fund: le Fonds de garantie des assurances obligatoires des dommages.
2/ Home insurance
Third party liability private insurance is not compulsory in France, but it is strongly recommended. Third party liability rental insurance is compulsory for renters (except for company and furnished residences – Art. 7g. al.2 of the Law of 06/07/2008). It is usually required by the owner when a lease is signed. In any event, this insurance is strongly recommended.
3/ Health insurance
In order to register with the French social security system, you must apply to the local health insurance fund (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie – CPAM) in your département of residence. You must provide proof of insurance cover from your country of origin (form E104 or European health insurance card if you are a student, or form E121 if you are retired).
2 & 4 rue de Pied de Fond
F-79037 NIORT CEDEX
Contacts : Direction de l’International
Laurent MILLARDET – Phone: + 33 1 55 31 62 49
Fax : +33 1 55 31 65 42
200, avenue Salvador Allende
F-79038 NIORT CEDEX 9
Phone: +33 5 49 73 74 75
Fax: +33 5 49 73 73 59
66 rue de Sotteville
76 100 ROUEN
Phone: +33 2 35 03 68 68