The complete guide to moving back to France
Just like when you move abroad, returning to France requires some preparation. Find out all the steps you need to take to pack your bags and return home to France after living abroad for awhile.
6 min read
Just like when you move abroad, returning to France requires some preparation. In our guide, find out all the steps you need to take to pack your bags with peace of mind and return home to France after living abroad for awhile.
Returning to France—covering the admin
You may not always think about it, but there’s a lot of admin involved in returning to France after living abroad, and this shouldn’t be overlooked. To make the arrangements that’ll cut down on stress, here are the things you need to remember.
Update your situation with the French consulate
Before returning to live in France, have yourself removed from the register of French people living outside France, as well as from the electoral roll. You’ll be able to register again at your new residence. To do this, you’ll need to complete this form and return the document with a copy of your ID and proof of address. You can also do this online.
If you’ve been living outside the EU for more than 12 months, you’ll also have to declare the repatriation of your personal belongings to customs. Finally, if any civil acts have been registered abroad (marriage, birth, etc.), make sure these have been noted in the consulate registry.
Changing your registered address
Don’t forget to communicate your new French address to the organizations and authorities in your country of expatriation (social security, tax office, town hall, gas and electricity supplier, etc.).
Closing your bank account
If you have a bank account abroad and want to close it, remember to transfer all your funds to your French account. Don’t forget to transfer any direct debits and transfers, and give your bank details to the companies concerned.
Before returning to France, you should also think about canceling any contracts that you’ll no longer need, like phone contracts and insurance coverage, as well as gas, electricity, and internet. Make sure you give the necessary notice so you don’t have to keep paying for your subscription once you’ve left.
Taking care of your taxes
When you return to live in France after living abroad, you’ll need to pay your taxes here—whether your income was earned in France or abroad—by completing the 2042 tax form. You’ll also need to declare any bank accounts that were opened or closed abroad during the year, as well as any life insurance taken out abroad, by completing the 3916 form.
Depending on your situation, there are several options you can choose from to access French social security:
- If you already have an employment contract, you’ll be covered by French health insurance. Visit your local CPAM (public health insurance body) to run through the formalities for your insurance.
- If you’re unemployed and receive benefits from the employment office (Pôle Emploi), you’ll also receive health insurance coverage.
- If you don’t have a job and don’t receive unemployment benefits, you can benefit from Universal Health Protection (Puma) by completing the S1106 form.
- If you’re still receiving welfare benefits (for unemployment or health cover) from your country of expatriation within the EU, you’ll be able to use your European health insurance card.
Check this website to learn more.
When it comes to your driver’s license, you might find yourself in one of several scenarios:
- You’ve exchanged your French license for a foreign license within the European Economic Area or have obtained your license in one of these countries. In this case, there’s nothing you need to do, as you can drive in France with this document.
- You’ve exchanged your French license for a foreign license outside the European Union. In this case, you need to apply to restore your driving rights so you can drive for more than one year after taking up residence in France again.
- You obtained your driving license in a country outside Europe. In this case, you’ll need to apply to restore your driving rights to be able to drive in France.
If you return with your vehicle from abroad, you must also register your vehicle within one month of your return to France.
Your life, upgraded
Returning to France after expatriation—updating your professional situation
Before you leave, gather all your documents relating to your professional life abroad (employment contracts, pay slips, employment certificates, training certificates, etc.) and keep hold of them.
If you’re looking for a job, you’ll be able to receive unemployment benefits from Pôle Emploi if you’ve lost your job abroad. To receive this aid, you’ll need to complete the U1 document if you’re returning from a country within the EU (which you’ll need to request from the employment office in your country of expatriation before you leave).
You’ll also be able to receive benefits if you’re already receiving unemployment benefits in the country you’re leaving. For EU countries, you’ll need to complete the U2 document to receive these (which, again, you’ll need to request from your local employment office before you leave). Finally, if you suspended your unemployment benefits before going abroad, be aware that you keep your right to these benefits for 3 years.
Whatever your situation, you’ll need to acclimatize to the habits and customs of the world of work à la France, redo your CV, and learn to “speak the language” of French employers. To give yourself a leg up, you can read our article on how to get your first job in France.
Returning to France—changing accommodation
Finally, let’s go over one of the most crucial steps to any major move: finding housing! Be careful to give your notice well in advance at your previous residence to avoid paying double rent. Likewise, you’ll need to terminate the various contracts taken out in relation to your home far enough in advance (like gas, electricity, and internet).
Next, you can start your search for an apartment remotely. To do this, you can:
- Contact a real estate agent in France, who can advise you directly
- Register on remote rental platforms like Flatlooker
- Ask for a virtual visit to the property on a Skype call, for example
Once you’ve found your new accommodation, don’t forget to take out home insurance, which is compulsory for tenants. Likewise, it’s advisable to take out liability insurance, although this is often included in comprehensive home insurance. Learn more about compulsory and voluntary insurance in our article.
So, ready to take the big step and return to France? To go further, you can also read our article on the best French cities for working remotely.
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