There are more questions than answers when you dream about moving to France

One thing you learn very quickly when you move to France is that you don’t really have a choice about the order in which you do things. That’s because you often need to have completed one step in order to advance on something else. For example, if you want to buy or rent a house in France, you need to have a French bank account. In order to open a French bank account, you need to have an address. And to have an address, you need a visa that entitles you to live there, plus medical insurance and proof of income… Confused? Don’t worry, we can help.

French Connections HCB is a team of friendly bilingual relocation experts who are here to guide you through the complexities of French administration. If you’re short of time, unsure about the language or simply don’t know where to start, we can take the stress out of every procedure quickly and efficiently using our knowledge, experience and connections in France.

Let’s start by unravelling those questions one at a time.

How do I find somewhere to live?

Where to live is the first consideration for most people thinking of moving to France and how to go about renting or buying is the most burning question. You may be wondering how to rent a place while you’re looking for your dream home, or whether it’s possible to get a French mortgage when you find something you want to buy. We can help.

Can I get a mortgage?

The short answer is yes, you can get a French mortgage and at current rates of 1% interest for 10 years and 1.2% for up to 20 years, it makes good financial sense to fund it from here rather than ask you existing bank to put up the money. In order to apply for a mortgage, you need a French bank account and a healthy financial profile. Our founder and Business Expert, Richard, has years of experience in setting up businesses for himself and for other people and is closely connected to a major French bank that welcomes new customers. Richard can offer useful information on how to go about applying for a mortgage in France and beating the international mortgage packages, which are often much more expensive than regular French deals and can require a large deposit.

Can I rent while I’m looking for something to buy?

Rentals in France and Italy work slightly differently to back home and it will come as no surprise that there is usually more paperwork involved. We can help with securing a rental, putting together a solid financial profile to boost your tenancy application and helping you to navigate the legal aspects of the contract. Depending on which area of France you choose to call home, we may also be able to suggest some rental properties. Once you have an address, you will also be able to open a bank account and we can help you with that, too.

How do I find a Notaire I can trust?

We will happily put you in touch with the Notaires who have looked after our founder Richard’s family for generations. Francoise and Rémy, the principal partners, speak excellent English and have already helped hundreds of French Connections HCB clients with property purchase. They also offer ‘Docusign’, which saves time and money if you are not yet resident in the country. Richard himself is a qualified legal translator who often liaises for our clients between the Notaires who are overseeing the property purchase and the bank providing the mortgage, which means that the entire legal process is securely covered.

How do I know which visa to apply for?

There are 17 different visas in France alone! Our team of Relocation Experts can help with every administrative hurdle from choosing the right visa, the documents you need to bring with you, transporting and re-registering your car, applying for a French social security number and, if you decide to make the move permanent, applying for residency. If you are not registered for French social security, you will need proof of health insurance for the duration of your visa. We recommend our English-speaking partner, Fab French Insurance which offers very competitive rates on all sorts of insurance (including cars) for our clients moving to France.

Can I work in France?

Yes, and there are many ways of making that happen depending on whether you prefer to be freelance, self-employed, employed by a French company, based in France but employed by a non-French company, set up your own business in France or have your own company outside of France but work legally within France. We’ll help you work out the best option and guide you through the administrative procedures to make it happen.

Can I still receive my pension when I move?

Yes, there is a dual arrangement for pensions between the France and most other countries. In the UK, the first 25% is tax free, then the rest is either taxed at 20% or 40% (depending upon your UK tax rate). In France, the pension commencement lump sum is taxed at 7.5% plus social charges of up to 8% and income taken at your French marginal rate of tax. The pension may well be taxed incorrectly in both countries, in which case you would need to apply for a refund from the UK if you were resident in France (there are HMRC forms available for this). Savings outside of France would also be taxed by the French and there are better tax free alternatives available to you if you intend to remain in France for the long term.

As this is a complex topic, our Financial Advisor, Simon, offers a consultation to help you understand your financial situation in France, which covers the implications of tax, inheritance, pensions and investments. The financial decisions you make before you move can save you a lot of money when you arrive, so it’s a good idea to book ahead of time.

How do I find a reliable removals company?

Our UK-based removals partners, Burke Bros, have 35 years of experience in moving people abroad and they can take care of everything from door to door. They also offer the choice of virtual or face to face evaluation, plus storage if you decide to look for somewhere to live before having your belongings shipped over.

These are just some of the questions we are asked, but we’re sure you have more. To discuss your specific circumstances and requirements, we invite you to book a FREE 15-minute initial consultation with our friendly team by clicking here Alternatively, you can drop us an email at info@frenchconnectionshcb.com or call +33 1 85 65 74 98.

We look forward to helping you.

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