When we started to prepare to move to France I scoured the Internet looking for tips on how best to organise it and I think I’ve managed to come up with quite a comprehensive list of things to do; so I thought I’d share them here. Obviously if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear from you.
- I’ve been making appointments with our healthcare providers so that we can have these conversations in English before we go. From watching my parents deal with the beaurocracy of moving to France, and how exhausting dealing with a second language can be, I want to limit as much as possible our initial, technical conversations. So this means we’re currently having eye appointments, dentist visits and other essentials done this side of the water. See health paperwork too.
- We’ve already obtained our cat’s pet passport, but I need to book her in for a sedative to help her travel.
- Create a folder for all your important documents. From what I’ve read and witnessed from people I know who already live in France it’s a beaurocratic country. Therefor quick access to the most important documents is a necessity. I’m actually putting ours together at the moment, so I’ll update you on this during the week. It’s worth noting though that some people have said that it’s good to have these main documents in an accessible format, but also be sure to keep a copy in case something disastrous should happen to it during the move – you never know! This means that you can maybe get on with those essential moving in tasks with photocopies (if they’re accepted) whilst you wait for official copies to come from the UK. It may be worth thinking of a set of paper copies and scanning these documents too.
- You have to inform your local council when you move abroad. This may involve cancelling any direct debit payments for your local council tax or, if you pay it in one go, getting a rebate too.
- If, like us, you’re moving to France with your little ones you can continue to claim child benefit. You can get details about CAF here. I haven’t gone so far as to cancel our child benefit yet, so I’ll tell you about it when I’ve done that too, just in case anyone’s who’s researching the move wants an idea of what’s involved.
- One of the things I’ve had to specifically arrange and not just collate is our medical records. I’ve paid £10 per person to have the salient points documented for us to give to our French doctor when we arrive, and I’m arranging to have the children’s translated. We have our dentist appointments next week and they’re going to let us know if we need our dental records too.
- You can have your mail redirected even to an international address for up to a year and, unfortunately, with a fee.
- We also need to cancel our DD for the tv licence. If you’ve paid in full in advance you can claim this back.
- My husband has already cancelled our Amazon Prime account (I’m trying to watch as much stuff before it goes 😀). If you have any similar subscriptions you need to consider how much notice you have to give and time it right.
- We need to let HMRC know we’re going with a P85 (?). That’s one for Le Marie then!
- As we have a child she requires insurance for school, so this needs to be arranged.
- As we’re renting out our house we have to arrange renters insurance and ensure we have insurance for our French property.
- We have to arrange health insurance too, but at present we’re just relying on our EHIC cards.
Cars and Driving
- There are lots of entries on what is required in terms of driving licences and vehicles, but I found this government site which I assume has up to date information. It states that If you spend longer than six months of the year in France with your UK-registered car, you must register your vehicle with the French authorities, going through your local prefecture to do so when you arrive.
- UK-registered vehicles being driven in France must comply with all UK requirements for road tax, MOT, and third party insurance covering the full time period the vehicle is used in France, up to the six-month limit.
- It may be advisable to register our UK licences at the same time with the local town hall or prefecture. If it is lost/stolen/destroyed they will have proof that we held a UK licence which will help in the process of replacing it with a French licence, as there needs to be proof you are entitled to drive. Or we could consider just changing our UK one for a French one. As a UK licence needs to be renewed every 10 years – this cannot be done if you live abroad. However if you ever need proof of your entitlement to drive you will need to apply for a ‘Certificate of Entitlement’ from the DVLA.
- As we are moving ourselves we’ve already bribed freinds to help and hired a van. We’ve booked a 7.5tonne van for our 3 bedroom house. This means that we can’t go across on a fast ferry and we had to book the ferry through the freight line. We’ve also booked a car crossing and cabins for the journey (always handy with little ones – if it’s a rough crossing it’s better to have somewhere they can stay stationary).
- I’ve double checked our cat box is up to the journey, decided it wasn’t and bought a new one. See above about cat sedatives.
- We’re in the country so we need to arrange internet access. I’ll update you on this later too as it appears it may be a little complicated.
- As we’re renting somewhere that has no phone we’ve had to decide whether to have one put in. We decided against it, going for mobile access only. Again, I’ll update you on this when I find out more about it.
- Of course we’re renting our house out so its a little different, but we’re now getting our house ready. We’re gradually going through the house and doing those pesky jobs to make the house in good order.
- We’ve just spent the weekend making the garden presentable.
- Over the last couple of months I’ve been packing away things that aren’t needed now. For us this means our crystal (we can’t really use it as the children are too little), pictures on walls we need to paint, out of season clothes etc (more ideas here). As we’re moving to rented accommodation I’m starting to make a list of things that we will need to take there and things that we’ll store in our parents basement when we’ve arrived.
- As some of our stuff will be stored I need to order some builders polythene to keep the damp out.
- I’ve been taking a good look at our furniture to decide which will come with us and which is more advisable to leave behind. I have a lovely cabinet that I’d previously hand painted myself, but I’m afraid no matter how well I wrap that it may not make the journey, so my friend has offered to give it a home.
- Books, DVDs and CDs are definitely coming with us. Even if they’re bulky and heavy – they’ll be necessary for those long, winter nights.
- Of course, there’s the leaving your house deep clean.
This is how far we’ve got – if you have any tips, let me know!