How to Move to France from the US

According to data released by Statistica, in 2021, approximately 87,000 people moved to France and other European countries. Out of all the European countries, France is often considered one of the best countries to live in. This beautiful country is known for its rich history, culture, cuisine, and spectacular attractions.

Here are some other articles that might help you plan your move:

  • Best International Movers: The international moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances. These are the top international movers.
  • Ship your car overseas: Taking your car with you? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle and is experienced.
  • International Moving Costs: Moving internationally comes with its own set of expenses. Learn more about the specific costs associated with an international move.

If you are still deciding to move from the US to France, you’re likely finding the task daunting, but it needn’t be if you’re armed with the right information. Moving to a new home from one’s home country is an adventurous endeavor that, if done correctly with the right moving company and the correct visa, can be a pleasant and rewarding experience.

Should you be uncertain about what you need to do, what type of visa you need to apply for, why you should move to France, and where you should live, this guide will likely be helpful. We’re going to discuss these topics and more so that your international moving experience is as straightforward as possible while still being enjoyable.

What are the best International Movers?

Company Price Vendor Type Quoting options Storage Minimum Move Size
JK Moving Services $$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom
North American Van Lines $$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom
Allied $$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom

How To Move From The US To France

Moving from the USA to France can be difficult if you don’t carefully plan your move down to the last detail. Unlike a few other European countries, moving to France can be more complicated because of the many French visa options and their specific requirements.

Yet, even though this sounds like a task you’ll find difficult to conquer, moving from the US to France is possible because of the different visa options available to Americans. Below we have briefly spoken about the various French visa types you could apply for if you want to stay in France or move to this country and become a permanent resident.

France Visa Information

About a decade ago, it was quite challenging to obtain a French visa since it was difficult to determine what documentation you needed to source from a French consulate in America. This problem has since lessened with the wealth of visa information readily available on the internet.

Yet going through many sites trying to get the right visa information can be a hassle. That’s why we have briefly explained the most popular types of French visas available that you could potentially complete an application form for when you’re ready to commit to an international move.

A Student Visa

If you’re an American who wants to live in France while you study, you must apply for a student visa. To apply for this type of French visa, you will need to have an acceptance letter from the institution where you will be studying.

Depending on how long you will be studying in France, you will have to apply for one of three visas: either a short stay student visa, a temporary long-stay visa, or a long-stay visa. When you apply for your French student visa, you will have to do so at a French consulate in America or through Campus France, a French institution promoting higher education.

Additionally, you will also need to pass certain language requirements. If you’re going to be studying in English, you need to take one of the English proficiency tests like C1 Advanced, IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic.

Moreover, if you plan to stay in France for longer than a year starting from your second year of studies, you will be required to apply for a Titre de Séjour or a Carte de Séjour (CDS), an official residence permit for France.

Spouse Visa

Like other European countries, France offers a spouse visa for those who wish to join their partner in France. However, the granting of this visa is conditional based on the nationality of the spouse, the length of time they have been in France, and the type of permit they have. Should your spouse not be a European Union/EEA/Swiss citizen, the conditions we mention below will have to be met.

  • Your family member needs to be living in France for 18 months or longer or hold a valid one-year permit.
  • There needs to be adequate accommodation for you and your partner in France of at least 236 to 301 square feet of space. However, this will depend on the city and region.
  • You will need to have sufficient funds to support yourself with funds equal to the monthly minimum wage in France.

A Work Visa

There are many different types of work visas available for expats who want to work in this country in France. However, each of these work permits has its own requirements and conditions. Below we have briefly listed a few of the France work visa requirements that American expats will have to meet if they want to work in this country and potentially qualify for French citizenship after five years.

  • Short stay work visa: If you apply for a short stay work visa, you want to only work in France for 90 days or less. On average, this visa costs $70, but if you’re an American citizen, you won’t need this visa, but you will need a work permit arranged by your employer.
  • Long-term work visa: If you’re an American who intends to work and stay in France for more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa. On average, this visa costs $99. If you have family members whom you would like to accompany you, your employer can start the “accompanying family member” procedure when they complete your application.

A Talent Passport Visa

In most instances, the work visa you are eligible for in France will depend on the length of your contract, the type of work you do, and whether you have a job offer. However, if you fall under the Talent Passport visa category, you might not need a work contract to qualify. Below we have briefly listed the categories that fall under this visa.

  • Skilled recent graduates.
  • Company representatives.
  • Researchers and scientists.
  • Employees of what is deemed to be an innovative company.
  • Highly skilled workers.
  • Financial or economic investors.
  • Artists and performers.

An Au Pair Visa

If you have always dreamed of working with children and would like to move to France temporarily with the possibility of becoming a French citizen, you might want to consider an au pair visa.

To apply for a French au pair visa, you need to be between 17 and 30. Besides having all the necessary paperwork, you would need for a traditional visa application. You will also need to have an au pair contract in your possession. This contract will need to be approved by the French ministry of labor.

Additionally, you will also need an invitation from a host family, and you will need to sign up for language courses for the duration of your stay.

A Tourist Visa

Interestingly the process of tourist visas for US citizens is changing in late 2022. US citizens will be able to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver to enter and travel France for all short stays of up to a maximum of 90 days. Conveniently, this application is wholly electronic and can be requested in only a matter of minutes.

After the waiver has been approved, it is valid for three years, and American citizens can enter France and other European countries without needing to apply for a Schengen visa.

The Process Involved With Moving To France

When considering moving from the US to France, there is a specific process involved that you will need to adhere to if you want your move to be successful. Below we have briefly discussed the process so that you have an idea of what an international move is like.

You Need Certain Documentation

As is common with all types of international moves, you’re going to need documentation. Have a look at the following documentation you will need to produce when moving to France.

  • Birth certificate with your parental affiliation
  • Driver’s license
  • Valid visa
  • Car registration documentation and car insurance paperwork
  • Marriage certificate if you’re married
  • Any relevant medical documentation
  • Your educational records
  • The last two years’ worth of private health insurance documentation and tax returns

The Tax Situation You Need To Know About

After moving to France, you will still be required to pay your property taxes in America. The US government will deduct approximately $107,600 from the income you earn in France, and you will also need to pay tax to the French government in many instances. That’s why it’s vital to consider consulting with an accountant about your income taxes before you move to France from the US.

You Need A French Bank Account

If you’re planning to move to France, you need to open up a French bank account. Most major service providers in France require you to have a French bank account; otherwise, many of your applications will be rejected.

Setting up a nonresident French bank account isn’t too difficult. You can update your account details when you have officially moved to France and have an address.

You Need To Acquire French Healthcare

When you move to France, you will be required to obtain healthcare. Most people opt to use the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Malai, a public healthcare option. Additionally, you could be offered this insurance for free, depending on your financial situation. To sign up for public health insurance, you will need the documentation we spoke of above.

Contrat d’Intégration Républicaine (CIR)

All Americans who want to settle in France will need to sign the CIR. The CIR is a mutual contract that ensures US citizens and other nationalities seamlessly integrate into French society.

During a CIR contract interview, you will be assessed to determine if you require any assistance during your transition into French society. You will have to meet the terms of a CIR contract if you wish to obtain a residence permit.

Temporary Residency

If you wish to stay for an extended period of time in France, you will need to apply for temporary residency. A temporary residence permit is valid for up to one year, and if you wish to stay longer than a year, you will need to renew it. If you live in Paris, you will need to go to the police headquarters to renew this permit.

Permanent Residency

In France, permanent residency cards are valid for up to ten years and are renewable. However, if you leave France for more than two consecutive years, you will officially lose your permanent resident status. Additionally, after five years, you do have the option to apply for the EU long-term resident card, but this is only available to applicants who have held the European Blue Card.

How To Move Your Things From The US To France

When you plan to move to France, one of the most important aspects you need to figure out is how to move your things from the US to France. Fortunately, you will have two options when moving your things: sea freight and air freight.

Air Freight

If you need your belongings as soon as possible, you should consider air freight. However, you need to note that this mode of transportation can be up to 18 times more expensive than sea freight. Often this choice is best if you plan on only taking a few of your belongings with you. Yet, it is also an excellent choice to move any priceless or valuable items.

As we mentioned before, transporting items via air freight is expensive. On average, to transport 550 pounds via air freight from New York to Paris, you should expect to pay roughly $2,600.

International Air Freight Companies

  • Bansard International.
  • Click Moves.
  • Sanelo.

Sea Freight

If you don’t need your belongings quickly when moving to France, you should consider sea freight. Not only is this option far less expensive, but it also offers either a shared container or an exclusive container option.

On average, to transport a three-bedroom house’s belongings from New York in the US to Marseilles in France, you should expect to pay roughly $1,300. However, it will take approximately 18 days to transport your items instead of a few days.

International Sea Freight Companies

  • Armishaws.
  • Schumacher Cargo.
  • Kuehne-Nagel.

Why Are People Moving From The US To France?

Did you know that according to data, an estimated 26 percent of American expats choose to move to a European country? If this is the case, why are so many Americans choosing France? For the most part, Americans are choosing to move to France because of the relaxed work environment and romantic relationships, and family ties.

In addition to France having a much more relaxed work environment with many workplaces only requiring a 35 workweek, they also offer decent minimum wages. On average, the minimum annual salary for workers in France is $56,000, which is why many Americans choose to immigrate to this European country.

However, there are many more reasons why Americans are choosing this country. Below we have briefly discussed a few of the most popular reasons US citizens set their sites on France.

The French Healthcare System

Arguably one of the main reasons Americans move to France is for this country’s superb healthcare system. Globally, France is recognized as having one of the best healthcare systems, with their public system far superior to other countries, even America. All those working and living in France have access to its healthcare system.

The Real Estate

One of the biggest draws to move to France is its real estate variety. No matter where you choose to move to in France, you will be spoilt for choice. It is also incredibly easy to find a property to rent or own because most real estate agencies in France display property listings on websites and in window displays.

There are also many hotels that offer long-term stays while you search for a new home. Moreover, property in France is also considered more affordable than in the US, depending on where you choose to buy.

Multiple Climates

Few European countries can boast an array of climates like France can. The north of France has a climate similar to the United Kingdom. Yet, many areas in the south of France, such as Côte d’Azur and Provence, provide visitors and residents with around 300 days of sunshine annually. You can travel throughout this small country and experience different weather conditions whenever you please.

Affordable Education

France is an attractive destination for American families because of its affordable education system. According to numerous reports, the cost of studying in France is among the lowest globally. Interestingly, the French government subsidizes tuition fees in higher public institutions for both foreign and French students.

In addition to being affordable, the schools in France are some of the best globally, with top-notch after-care support and incredible daily four-course lunch menus depending on the school.

Travel Opportunities

Each year France sees approximately 207 million international arrivals. Many are choosing to visit and move to France because of the fantastic travel opportunities the country presents.

For example, if you move to France, you can visit a world-class ski resort or enjoy fine dining at one of the pristine vineyards. Additionally, you could even book a stay at a waterfront villa and take in the sights of the Mediterranean Sea.

Where Are Some Of The Very Best Places To Move To In France?

Before moving to France from the US, it’s crucial to determine where you should live. That’s why we have done the tiresome research for you and have compiled a brief list that features a few of the best places you can live in France.

Popular Cities In France To Move To

  • Paris – Best for those who want vibrant nightlife.
  • Lyon – Best for those who are interested in French cuisine.
  • Montpellier – Best for those moving to France with a family and wanting to settle down.
  • Provence – Best for those who want to live near the ocean.
  • Brittany – Best for those looking for an affordable city to settle in.
  • Dordogne – Best for those looking to retire.

Moving To France: FAQs

Below, we briefly provided a few of the most common moving to France FAQs.

         1. Can US citizens move to France?

American citizens are permitted to move to France for both short-term and long-term stays if their visa is granted based on them meeting the specific visa requirements.

        2. Is moving to France a good idea?

Whether or not moving to France is a good idea will depend on your own personal preferences, needs, and budget. Since France is a relatively expensive place to live, you will need to be able to support yourself according to your standard of living. Fortunately for US citizens, the cost of living is on par for the most part.

        3. Can I move permanently to France?

American citizens can permanently move to France after they have stayed in the country for a minimum of five years on various visas. Yet, you can apply for permanent residency in less than five years in certain instances.

       4. What is the difference between moving and living in France?

When you have moved to France on a visa, you are not automatically a permanent resident. You will have to wait five years to become a permanent resident unless you are on a specific visa that allows for permanent residency after a shorter period of time.

       5. What are the advantages of moving to France?

There are numerous advantages of living in France. The main advantages include an excellent healthcare system, incredible food, fine dining opportunities, a proven property market, beautiful weather, and many spectacular historical and cultural national attractions.

      6. What are the moving costs?

How long it takes to move to France from the US is dependent on many factors. For example, how you plan to move, how you plan to travel, and the cost of your visa. Additionally, how much it costs to move also depends on whether you’re transporting any vehicles and if you’re moving on your own or with your family.

On average, a visa costs $70, a shipping container $1,300 for a three-bedroom house, and flights cost $933 one way. That means you should expect your base move to cost roughly $2,303 per person.

       7. How long does it take to move to France from the US?

How long it takes to move to France from the US will depend on the type of visa you applied for and when you can get your belongings, and yourself transported to France. In most instances, it takes between 15 to 20 days for a French visa to be approved, but it can take up to two months.

        8. How much is the cost of living there?

In France, the cost of living is on par with the US in many areas, but the cost of essentials is significantly higher. For example, food, fuel, and clothes are much more expensive in France than in the US. However, overall the US is approximately 1.4% more expensive than France to live in.

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