Currency Transfers to France
The exchange rate that you secure for transferring large sums, such as the proceeds from the sale of a property in your home country, will have a huge bearing on your spending power once you arrive to live in France. You should start thinking about exchanging your currency for Euros soon after you start on the road to emigration or purchasing a property. Forget moving money through high street banks, though; the best exchange rates are available through currency exchange specialists such as Halo Financial.
Previously, due to the EU’s freedom of movement pact, planning to move to France as an EU citizen was straightforward. There was no need to apply for a specific visa. Providing you were able to provide proof that you could support yourself financially, and not be a burden on France’s welfare state, then it was your right to live in France. Last year’s Brexit vote has potentially thrown a spanner in the works for British citizens. Due to the fact that the UK will soon cease to be a member of the EU, it is at the moment unclear as to whether the same freedom of movement pact will still apply. Currently, most non-EU residents will need to qualify for an EU Blue Card to reside in the country. To qualify, for this you will need to have higher professional qualifications, such as a university degree, and an employment contract or a binding job offer which offers a salary higher than the average for the same position. In truth, as of May 2017, it seems unlikely that this freedom of movement will continue after the UK has left the EU but there are a large number of French people living in the UK so it seems likely that a bilateral agreement between France and the UK will be reached. Providing you can obtain permission to live in the country, in order to enjoy the same benefits as any other French resident – including those pertaining to healthcare, employment and your child’s education – you will need to apply for a carte de séjour. This is a resident’s card which you will be given when you register with your community’s Mairie (town hall). To register as a resident, you will often need ID – such as a passport and proof of your new address. You should ideally register as a resident within three months of arriving to live in the country.
Whether you’re moving to France in search of a more relaxed lifestyle or you’ve made a career move, it is essential that you send your belongings safely and securely onto your new destination.
Having a reliable international removals firm on board is one way to avoid any mishaps along the way. Give yourself plenty of time to research companies that offer the service you require and gather quotes. Whilst many may offer a similar service, or indeed cheaper quotes, it’s worth doing your research. International removals companies are governed by an array of official bodies, which make their service adhere to strict rules and regulations.
You should always look out for the following accreditations before making your final decision:
- FAIM Accreditation, which is only independent Quality Assurance standard for the International Moving Industry.
- Membership of the FIDI Global Alliance, which sets a quality benchmark for its members.
- Membership of the British Association of Removers Overseas Group. BAR Overseas is covered by the IMMI Advance payment guarantee scheme for your financial protection.
Choosing the right removals company can take some of the steam (and stress) out of the move. Once you have decided which company is going to take care of your move they should take you through each step of the process. If you have moved house before, then much will be familiar – you will be working towards a date, deciding whether to have someone pack for you, or whether you will be doing it all yourself. International removals companies will assign you a move coordinator, who will advise you on the process and dates
and timings. If you would like further information and a recommendation of some international removal companies, please contact us and we will be happy to oblige.
The public healthcare system in France is largely funded by workers, who contribute a portion of their income towards the social security system known as Securite Sociale. There are three main public healthcare insurance funds in France that you can pay into, but the country’s main healthcare system/ fund, and arguably the one that most expats should and will join, is the CMU scheme (Couverture Maladie Universelle) – which covers around 84 percent of the population. However, it is essential to note that expats who move to France with no intention to work or who have taken early retirement will not be eligible to join the public healthcare system in France until they have either lived in the country for five years or reached retirement age. In this instance, an expat will need to seek private insurance (there is no great divide in terms of private or public healthcare in France – in terms of quality or waiting times). Most healthcare in France will come at a price – emergency procedures and treatments aside – and you will have to pay for any treatment or consultations at the time you receive it. However, if you subscribe to Securite Sociale then you will be reimbursed around 70 percent on most costs – typically around ten days after you have paid the initial cost. It is worth noting that it is totally up to you when it comes to which doctor or medical practice you choose to visit – be they private or public, so this may help you find an English-speaking doctor or practice if you don’t speak French. However, while many GPs, hospitals and clinics adhere to an agreed price of treatment, which is set by the Ministry of Health and known as Tarif de Convention, some do not – these are known as non-conventione and they can charge whatever they like. If you would like further information and a recommendation of some international heathcare companies, please contact us and we will be happy to oblige.
Although school in France does not become compulsory for children until the age of 6, when they start to attend primary school (known locally as either Ecole primaire or Ecole élémentaire), many parents choose to send their children to a type of pre-school/kindergarten known as Ecole Maternelle. Primary education in France lasts between the ages of 6 to 11.
After finishing primary school children move onto secondary school, which in France is typically split into two: Collège (middle school) for those aged between 11-15 and then lycée (high school) for those aged between 15 and 18. In collège, children are given a broad education which tends to focus on key subject areas including French, science and maths.
During this time, they are working towards obtaining a national diploma – Brevet des collèges (commonly known simply as ‘Brevet’), which is a diploma that acts as a solitary all-round qualification which is based on a student’s performance in all subjects rather than how they perform in each individual subject.
Upon finishing collège, children then move onto lycée where they will work towards obtaining a baccalauréat (often shortened simply to ‘bac’). The bac is the qualification that all those who are hoping to go on to higher education in France (definitely university) will need to obtain in order to do so. Like the Brevet, the bac is an all-encompassing qualification.
Last minute checklist
No doubt you will have remembered to hand in your notice at work, book your one-way flights and other such essentials. However, there are a host of other tasks than can easily be forgotten about in the excitement of emigration. It’s an obvious point but it’s worth checking your passport is in date; this will save any unwelcome surprises at the airport.
On the subject of important documents, make sure you also keep all relevant paperwork in one place and in a clear order so it can be easily accessed. These documents include: all correspondence with immigration departments, your medical records, school reports; references from employers; and anything else you think you may be asked for. Make sure all bank accounts and similar services that you will no longer need have been closed and cancel any direct debits. Finally, and it may sound obvious, but take time to say goodbye to all friends and family that you may be leaving behind. The stress of moving to a new country and sorting out all that needs to be done could mean that you run out of time to say proper farewells.
Need more advice?
Since 2005, Halo Financial have helped thousands of customers to take control of their currency when emigrating, so we understand the process that you’re going through. Get in touch to see how our team of experts can help you.