You want to leave France, but you do not know yet how to proceed? All you need to consider concerning utilities or others when leaving France.

Water, Gas & Electricity

Even if providers generally suggest easy ways to end your contract by phone, it is safer to signal your wish to end it in writing.

Write to your provider’s customer service or its local office by registered letter. Don’t forget to mention the gas or electricity consumption statement at the time of the letter. This measure will allow you to prove your sending and the level of consumption.

Do not hesitate to ask the provider to confirm the end of your contract and to come and read the meter.

The provider will send you the ending invoice within several days, taking into account the statement of consumption you mentioned if the meter hasn’t been read. The final invoice will state if there is an outstanding payment.

Good to know: Generally, providers will send you a check if you paid too much. As it may cost you an important fee to cash a cheque abroad, insist on a bank transfer if your French bank account doesn’t remain open.

Banking

When every other step has been made, your final bills have been paid and when you do not need your French bank accounts anymore, think about closing them. To do so, you can either set up an appointment with your banker or send him a registered letter with all the documents showing that you are moving abroad. You will have to give back your payment means (checkbook, cards), so always ask for written confirmation, even if you close your bank account at the counter. Besides, do not forget to communicate the IBAN and SWIFT (BIC) numbers of your new bank account so that the remaining sum on your French bank account will be transferred to your new bank account.

You left France some time ago and wonder if money is left in an inactive account.

Since 2014, the CICLADE website has allowed you to find out whether you have sums left in inactive accounts. An account is considered inactive under two conditions:

  • The absence of transactions on the account for 12 consecutive months, except those initiated by the bank (collection of fees, payments of interest, etc.). Only frozen accounts, by court order, for example, are an exception.
  • The lack of manifestation of the account holder (or his legal representative) towards the bank during these 12 consecutive months. He/she must also not have carried out transactions on another account opened in his/her name in the same agency.

These 12 months are extended to 5 years for savings, term, and securities accounts, for example. Further information in French.

Credit Cards

Your credit card companies need to be informed you’re moving. Also, you should check if your French credit card will be widely accepted abroad.

Post Redirection

Post offices propose to redirect your mail towards your new address abroad. This service can be subscribed to for six months or one year. Fees vary. Please note that the following correspondences will not be redirected: goods, mail with Declared Value, and mail mentioning “Ne pas faire suivre”. To subscribe to this service, go to your post office or the internet.

Telephone & Internet

We can find out how to terminate your landline phone and internet contracts in our communication article.

Cancellation Procedures For Insurance Contracts

The French law on emergency measures to protect purchasing power facilitates the cancellation of consumer insurance.

Currently, the notification of termination is usually made by registered letter or directly at the insurance representative. If the contract is concluded online, the consumer can usually contact the insurer online for the cancellation.

As of June 1, 2023, at the latest, the consumer will be able to terminate the insurance contract online, thanks to a “cancellation button”, whether or not the contract was initially concluded electronically.

Good to know: Since 2015, for certain types of insurance contracts (in particular, motor and home insurance) which are subject to automatic renewal, the consumer may cancel, at any time, without cost or penalty and notice, at the end of the one year from the conclusion of the contract. The law also obliges insurers to inform their customers between 3 months and 15 days before the termination deadline of the approaching anniversary of their contract. Consumers can then apply for cancellation before the tacit renewal of their contract if they wish to change. The cancellation is effective one month after receipt of the letter from the insurer. The insurer must send a notice of cancellation within 30 days.

In the future, consumers will also be informed about the date on which the contract ends and of the effects of the cancellation, on a durable medium and within a reasonable time.

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Administration

Facts on taxes, social security, and social allowances in a nutshell.

Taxes

You must inform your tax center that you are moving and give them your new address for your tax declarations to be transferred to your new address. For information on the remaining residence tax, check out our article on renting in France.

The Social Security

Inform the Social Security office with which you are affiliated. If you wish to unsubscribe from the French Social Security, do not forget to send back your “Carte Vitale”. In any case, it will be necessary for you to communicate your new address.

Social Allowances

If you benefit from social allowances for your flat etc., you have to inform the public body which gives you this allowance. If you unduly go on perceiving these allowances, you can be held legally liable.

Departure Checklist

Are you considering moving abroad for personal reasons or advancing your career in research? Follow our checklist before leaving France.

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Accommodation

If you are leaving rented accommodation:

  • Make sure that you give notice of your intention to leave the accommodation you have been renting well in time! Inform in writing your landlord (or the letting agency) of your departure by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt (“lettre recommandĂ©e avec accusĂ© de rĂ©ception“) in compliance with the contractual notice period stipulated in your rental agreement – normally 1 to 3 months prior to your moving-out date. Please remember that your deposit will not be returned if you fail to comply with this procedure.
  • Schedule the exit inspection with your landlord (or the letting agency) to get back the rental deposit. Your moving-in deposit may not be fully returned if damage has been done to the property during your tenancy and repairs are needed before the property can be let again. If the deposit is not fully returned, the landlord (or the letting agency) must provide you with receipts for expenses. When you move out, you have to leave the keys with the landlord (or the letting agency).
  • Notify the energy suppliers (gas and electricity) of your departure date and check the requirements for terminating contracts.
  • Terminate contracts with all the other service providers: water supplier, landline and mobile telephone, television, internet, and house insurance (by phone or by sending a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, depending on the companies).

Your full name

Your address

Your email address

(address of phone company)

SFR (example)

Service de résiliation

TSA 13920

62978 ARRAS Cedex 9

…………… (place of residence), le …/…/202…(date)

OBJET: RĂ©siliation de mon abonnement SFR

Mes références:

Numéro client (ou de contrat): …….

Numéro de téléphone: …….

Madame, Monsieur,

Je bénéficie actuellement d’un abonnement (specify name of plan) pour mon téléphone portable et internet depuis le …/…/20… (provide contract start date).

Je viens, par ce courrier, vous informer de ma volonté de résilier mon abonnement à la téléphonie mobile et internet SFR sous le numéro de contrat …… (provide reference contract number).

En conséquence, par ce courrier posté en recommandé avec accusé de réception, je vous demande également de stopper les prélèvements automatiques sur mon compte bancaire …… (provide IBAN).

Conformément à ce qui est stipulé dans la clause « Résiliation » des conditions générales de vente applicables, cette résiliation doit être effective à compter du ../../202.. (provide end date)

En vous remerciant d’accusé réception du présent courrier.

Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur, Madame, l’expression de mes cordiales salutations.

(Signature)

Administration

Notify the following administrations of your departure :

You can notify all those administrations in one single step online.

You can also inform La Poste of your change of address. La Poste will redirect your mail abroad, so you don’t miss any important mail (paid service).

Letter To The Tax Office

Your full name

Your address

Your email address

Centre des ImpĂ´ts de Rennes (example)

2 Bd de Magenta

35000 Rennes

………… (place of residence) le …/…/202… (date)

OBJET: déménagement à l’étranger

Mes références:

N° identifiant fiscal: …… (tax identification number)

Madame, Monsieur,

Par la présente je tiens à vous informer de mon déménagement à l’étranger le …/…/202… (moving date)

Dans ces condition, je vous prie de bien vouloir enregister mes nouvelles coordonnées ci-dessous:

Full Name

Full address

Country

Je vous saurais gré de prendre en compte ces nouvelles informations pour ma prochaine déclaration de revenus.

Veuillez agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.

(Signature)

Bank

Do not leave France with debts or unpaid bills.

  • Close your bank account: it is not always possible to do so before departure because your rental deposit will be paid into your account after departure, and so will your final salary. In addition, health insurance reimbursements may also occur after you have left France and possibly tax payments. Arrange with your bank to schedule a remote account closure after your departure.
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Family

  • If your children have attended school in France, remember to ask their school for certificates of registration and school reports.

Health

  • Notify your complementary health insurance (“mutuelle“).
  • If you are leaving France for a temporary stay in the European Economic Area, ask for your EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card).
  • If you or a family member have been undergoing medical treatment, request a medical report from your French medical professional to continue the treatment.

Cancellation Letter For Health Insurance

Your full name

Your address

Your email address

(Address of health insurance company)

GROUPAMA agence de Rennes (exemple)

156 rue de Rennes

35000 Rennes

………….. (place of residence) le …/…/202… (date)

OBJET : résiliation de mon contrat d’assurance santé n°…………………….

Mes références :

-N° Client / identifiant : ……………… (information available on insurance policy document)

-N° Souscripteur : ………………

-N° Contrat : ………………….

Madame, Monsieur,

Conformément aux dispositions de l’article L113-16 du Code des Assurances, je souhaite résilier, dans un délai d’un mois à compter de la présente notification, le contrat d’assurance santé n° ………………. (provide health insurance policy number) pour le motif suivant : déménagement à l’étranger le …/…/202…(provide moving date)

Veuillez trouver ci-joint les éléments justificatifs de ce changement de situation*.

Je vous prie d’agréer Madame, Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distinguées.

(Signature)

*(enclose supporting documents)

Employment 

  • Notify your employer of your departure and ask for your end-of-contract paperwork.
  • If you are registered with PĂ´le emploi, notify PĂ´le emploi.
  • Ask for any work, internship, or studies certificates and recommendation letters.

Documents To Keep

The list below is not exhaustive and is provided for informational purposes. For the French government’s official document regarding which documents to keep and for how long, click here.

Original and scanned copies should be kept for most documents.

Documents To Keep Permanently

  • Residence permit(s) (copies)
  • Naturalization paperwork, if applicable: certificate of French nationality and naturalization decree (ampliation)
  • Birth certificates(s)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Judgment of divorce certificate
  • Diplomas and qualifications, as well as grades records
  • School certificates of attendance
  • Employment contract(s)
  • Payslips
  • All pension-related documents
  • Medical records (vaccination documents, x-rays, medical test results)
  • Scanned copies of bank records 

Documents To Keep For Five Years

  • Rental agreement(s)
  • Rent receipts
  • End of tenancy inspection report (Ă©tat des lieux)
  • Utility bills (electricity, gas, and water)
  • Workplace accident report(s)

Other Documents To Keep

  • Income tax returns – 3 years
  • Insurance contracts, renewal notices, and termination of contract letter(s) – 2 years
  • Receipt issued by internet provider confirming the return of modem router (box internet) – 2 years

Do not hesitate to ask your EURAXESS Centre for advice or a personal meeting with someone who can help before you leave. 

72% Of Young French People Want To Move Abroad

In 2018, 7 out of 10 young French people (18-24 years old) plan to move abroad. The causes of this decision would be their wish for adventure (46% of their answers) and their search for better career opportunities (40.4%).

Compared to the results observed two years ago, 51% of 18- to 24-year-olds would be more likely to move abroad. But young people are not the only ones who want to live abroad. A third of French people are more likely to emigrate than they did two years ago. If we look at the data, we go from one million French expatriates worldwide in 2000 to more than 2 million in 2017.

Most French people would be looking for a lower cost of living (44.3% of the respondents) or a better standard of living (43%). Last but not least, 23% of the French planning to leave want to do it for life. According to this survey, the most considered destinations are Canada, Portugal, and Spain.

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And After We Leave?

Other recent surveys have been conducted on French expatriates around the world.

Among expatriates having already leaped, 46% would say they would not consider returning to France soon. More than half of French expatriates would reside outside France for more than five years. In a panel interviewed by My Expat in 2016, 23% reported living abroad for between 5 and 10 years, and 39% had lived there for more than ten years.

The causes of these expatriates’ departures are mainly family: 32% of expats report having followed or joined someone abroad. The taste for a new culture and the desire to change one’s life come next. In fourth place are opportunities for professional careers as a cause of eviction.

The preferred destinations for expatriates are Europe: 32% of the French expatriates were registered in the continent and Asia. There were 26% of French expatriates in Asia in 2016. North America came in 5th place with only 8% French expatriates.

It is difficult to name the preferred destinations of expatriates, as this varies greatly depending on the panel surveyed. But no matter your destination, it’s always a unique and rewarding experience for our expatriate clients. And Mondassur is making every effort to provide them with international health insurance that will allow them to live peacefully.

Biggest Reasons NOT To Live In France

It’s easy to come up with a hundred reasons why you SHOULD move to France — some aren’t so serious, like the fantastic and reasonably priced wine, bread, and cheese. It’s simple to extol the virtues of living abroad in France. There are many, and I do it frequently. But it is always important to me to show both sides of what life can be like abroad, not just the bright and happy parts. To that end, let’s jump right into some reasons NOT to live in France.

Many of the points I make below apply to moves elsewhere, even within your own country, and are not limited to moving to France.

So, do not move to France if:

You Do Not Plan On Putting Some Effort Into Learning The Language Beyond The Basics 

Contrary to popular belief, the French do not speak English fluently. Outside of major cities, knowing French is essential. Especially if you intend to stay in France for more than a semester or have a job contract, I’d recommend learning French to a solid intermediate level or higher. It is necessary to integrate, to be a part of your surroundings, to show respect, and to thrive.

Consider a foreigner who moves to the United States and does not speak much English. Depending on the language spoken, it is possible in some areas, but it would be extremely difficult to live a fulfilling life in the United States without speaking decent English. It would limit you, at the very least. The same thing happens in France.

I’m not saying you need to be fluent in French; I certainly don’t, but a solid intermediate level is a good goal if you stay here for more than a year. Just take one step at a time and keep these truths in mind when stressed.

If you do not intend to learn French, you should reconsider a long-term move. It is one of the most compelling reasons to avoid living in France.

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You Are Not A Socialist And Think Of It As A Dirty Word Or Anything A Country Does That Leans In That Direction 

I’m joking. In a way. If you believe in each man for himself and don’t believe in social programs, universal healthcare, and a sizable portion of your pay for social charges and taxes, this kind of thing gets under your skin. You should reconsider moving to France.

I see this a lot when people move to France because they love the idea of France but are turned off by the way of life here regarding contributing to the system for the greater good of all. France is a social democracy, and if that conflicts with your values, consider yourself forewarned. Hiring employees is costly if you run your own business. Taxes and social charges are significant. Inheritance taxes are more severe.

You Are Not Open-Minded And Cultural Differences Bring Out Your Judgmental Side, Or If You Are Very Set In Your Ways

It is important to remember that France is not our home country, so don’t expect things to be done the same way they are at home. I had to remind myself of that frequently during my first few years here. What we consider normal or the most efficient way to do something has no bearing in France because things are done differently. After all, it’s a different country!

Observing, learning, and adapting to the French way of life is preferable. And, while it’s tempting to dismiss things in France as “wrong,” “inefficient,” “dull,” or “antiquated,” if you’re moving there, resist that snap judgment — refrain from saying these things in front of French people. Learn and understand the French way of doing things, and then just go with the flow. That is the most polite thing to do. The truth is that we are all flawed people, and no one is perfect. When you first arrive in France and are still dealing with culture shock, it’s natural to pass judgment on things.

You Haven’t Done Your Research 

So many people make major life changes without doing their homework, and this is especially true when it comes to moving to France. It’s so easy to believe that life here conforms to the romanticized notions we see in the media that we do not dig deeper.

The essential truth is that life in France is like life anywhere else. Life here is wonderful, but there are advantages and disadvantages to living anywhere. It’s critical to research all aspects of life in France and see things from different perspectives to better prepare yourself, not just for the language and culture but also for things we don’t always consider ahead of time. Investigate potential sources of stress and anxiety, such as purchasing a home, opening a bank account, work culture, visa applications, taxes, and even the weather.

Surprises can be fun, but you don’t want to encounter too many surprises after investing so much in moving. Preparing by conducting as much research as possible is the best way to ensure success.

Another point I’d like to make is that many of us can do all the research in the world and be completely prepared and still struggle. It is impossible to know whether living abroad is a good long-term option for us until we try it. Living abroad is not for everyone, and visiting as often as possible may suffice.

We may have had the best intentions before moving to France and believe we will adjust easily because we have prepared ourselves. We’ll integrate, make French friends, enjoy the culture, and learn the language quickly. Then the realization is that things may be more difficult than anticipated and take longer. We could also decide to go home. Everything is fine and normal. We’ll never know if we don’t try new things and live our lives. There is no shame in making the best decision for you and your situation, whatever that is.

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You Can’t Deal With Strikes 

Yes, strikes are my list of reasons to avoid living in France. They exist, and they are not a myth, particularly regarding transportation. Striking is ingrained in the culture. It’s a common occurrence, and the French accept it. Strikes have existed since the revolution and have affected train and air traffic control, farmers, truck drivers, and others. If you have trouble dealing with disruptions to your routine, this could be extremely difficult to deal with time and time again.

You Expect A 24/7 And Fast-Paced Society

Life in France moves more slowly than it does in the United States. Even when comparing New York and Paris, the French way of life is not the same, which is a good thing. However, if you are looking for a 24/7 society where stores are open all night or very late, businesses have extended hours, and you can bank all day on Saturdays, France may not be for you.

Living here will teach you to slow down, which is a good thing when you move from a big city in the United States to a small town in France. Slower living can be a blessing sometimes, depending on your personality, what you’re looking for, and what you can adapt to over time.

Finally, don’t think you must have everything figured out before moving abroad. Living abroad does not only benefit those who plan everything ahead of time. However, take this list of reasons not to live in France seriously.