Checklist: Five things to do when you first arrive in France as an expat

Checklist: Five things to do when you first arrive in France as an expat

The logistics of moving and buying abroad are a job in themselves but once you make the move it’ll be a little while longer before you can crack open the champagne and take it easy.

There’s a great deal to organise and plan so let’s take a look at some of the things that are often overlooked.  

Get a new SIM card or phone

Getting a French SIM can cut down on your costs

If you are travelling from one EU country, such as the UK, to another you’ll be able to avoid paying additional roaming charges to use your mobile phone.

After Brexit what will happen to roaming charges (and an abundance of other things) will depend on what is agreed between the UK and the EU.

If you are moving to France from outside the EU then you are likely to face these charges – which in some cases can be substantial.

To avoid this get a French SIM. In most cases you can keep your current phone, providing your mobile phone provider is happy to unlock your phone in order to use it abroad.

Another option is to sign up for a French phone contract.

Get a bank account

If you’re planning to stay in France long-term, you’re going to need to get a French bank account and a RIB (find out more about the RIB here).

There are plenty of banks available, offering different services to pretty much every need. Most banks also offer student accounts if you need one.

You will need to provide proof of address, photo ID and proof of employment/student status.

Banks may require additional information. You’re best checking the bank’s details for the particulars.

Get home insurance

In the UK protection in general tends not to be mandatory.

However in France it is compulsory for renting. Even if you aren’t renting but have a mortgage you. will be obliged to have home insurance.

Should you own the property outright you will need at least part-liability insurance. You have a choice however about whether to get a full policy but it is recommended.  

Get health insurance

British citizens are used to having the NHS on call without the fuss of registering for health care.

Until the end of the Brexit transition period you’ll benefit from reciprocal health care – providing your EHIC card is up to date.

However if you are planning on being in France for the long term you should sign up for a carte vitale.

We have a guide about visiting the doctor in France here.

Register with your embassy

Registering with your embassy is important for securing visas, documents, passports during your stay in France. This is of particular importance if you are from outside the EU.

This is also the place to go in an emergency such as losing your official documents or passport.