Suzanne in France

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Moving To France From The UK

Whilst this article is primarily for residents moving from the UK to France, there are many points that are the same for any other non EU nationals wishing to do the same. Before we get into the new regulations with regards to declaring your goods and listing your items, here are a few things that you may wish to consider when moving to France.

Have A Massive Clear Out

This may seem obvious but you will be surprised at how much stuff you can accumulate over the years. Start to think about this some months before your move and make a start in advance. This will also save you money on quotation costs and will get you focused as to what you really do need/not need to bring with you. Please bear in mind that some goods may be more expensive in France, so you may wish to bring plug adaptors and then change the plugs over upon your arrival. Do some research with online stores in France to get an idea as to what white goods will cost you.

Get Several Removal Quotes/Consider Moving Yourself

Removal quotes can vary enormously and it will depend upon you wishing the firm to do everything eg packing, dissembling and unpacking etc at the other end. You may well consider this to be money well spent, in particular, if you have other things to take care of eg pets, children or both. They will also take care of all the necessary French paperwork which you may wish to do without. We would suggest you get at least 3 quotes to compare.

You could also consider hiring a truck for a week and maybe make a few trips over.

Make Sure You Have Addressed All Your Health Care Requirements

Make sure that all family members have their EHIC/GHIC Global UK Health Insurance cards and that they have not expired. Or order some more if they are near expiry. Whilst the UK has left the EU, these cards are still valid. You will still need to look into health insurance as they only cover a limited amount, for example, emergencies. You may also wish to have a supply of all your regular prescriptions, a recent eye check, dentist check, glasses and any other medical needs you may wish to get up to date. France’s healthcare system is excellent and you will need to register with a Doctor but there will also be a lot to do in those first few weeks.


If you are selling your home, make sure you have a re-direction with Royal Mail to a UK address. This can actually be extended after the first year for another year. You an also buy an address if you prefer – simply google this or change your address to parents/family. There may be a few companies that you have forgotten to notify of your change of address to France.

Credit Cards/Bank Cards

Like the EHIC – check their expiry. If your card is about to expire then they will simply send it to your new address but you have moved country. If you don’t already, change your bank statements to online so that any unnecessary post it stopped.

Open a French Bank Account

If you haven’t already done so, you will need to open a French bank account but it is relatively simple to apply for. There are numerous banks to choose from, however, many choose Britline (a subsidiary of Credit Agricole) as you can message in English and speak to an advisor in English. This may be helpful if you have a limited knowledge of French. French banking is different to that of the UK. Generally speaking, banking is not free eg cheque books issued, cards etc and there are limits to how much you can transfer. It can also take 2/3 days to set up a new payee. So please bear this in mind if you need to make payments quickly.

Sort Out Your UK Bank Accounts/Credit Cards

Some banks are okay with you having a French address and a UK current account/credit card. But you may wish to check this first and maybe change accounts if your bank does not support this. You may also wish to apply for cards that have favourable exchange rates. A little bit of research will ensure that your accounts are not closed when you least expect it. You may also wish to open children’s savings account, when they reach 17 it automatically switches to an adult account. So if they need to go back to the UK (visiting friends/family/study) they will already have a UK bank account.


You will need to decide whether or not to import your car into France. We have written about this here. You will also need to consider your insurance requirements, how to sell your UK car and whether or not you wish to purchase a French registered car in France or in the UK.  There are a few places that do sell French registered cars in the UK. You may have more than one car, a van, trailer, camping car etc. You may wish to sell one of your vehicles prior to your move. Have a think about how many vehicles you need, especially if you are living rurally.

Stock Up With Some Favourites

France is a wonderful country and has everything you can buy in the UK and you won’t be short of good quality food produce. However, there may be some things you wish to bring over (providing it is allowed) that are not readily available. Natasha, one of our team members, was a keen baker and brought over mixed dried fruit, black treacle, golden syrup, rolled oats and her children were fans of the high strength juice. Most Brits do like to bring a big supply of tea with them. Yes, you may be in France but a few home comforts do not go a miss in those first few months!


Following Brexit, personal goods moving from the UK to France are subject to VAT and custom duties on first and second homes. You will be able to bring your personal goods eg furniture etc without paying additional fees providing you list all the items. New items less than 6 months old will be subject to VAT and custom charges. You can have up to a year to bring your possessions over and you cannot sell those possessions during your first year in France. You will need to list all your items with their value on the French Government’s form.

For second home owners the rules allow for a personal allowance but does not permit ‘commercial items’ that is to say, things that are not considered to be traveller purchases.  We have listed some very useful links below that will give you all the information you need. Essentially, you must list your items and give values when you move to France.

We hope you have found this to be useful and we wish you all a Bonne Route !

French Customs In English

French Property.Com – Moving Goods To France Post Brexit

French Entrée Website – Moving to France Customs

French Entrée Website – Rules For Second Home Owners





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