Moving House in France

The essential facts you need and things to be remembered when moving house (around the corner or across the country) in France...

Moving house always requires planning and preparation; here are some tips and points about what must be done when moving in France. If renting property, take note of the rental notice period in the agreement made with the landlord - the notice period is usually three months.

  • Mon Service Public, French administration online, has a comprehensive guide on how to change an address with various organisations when moving house in France (in French)

Electricity

Électricité de France (EDF) provides domestic electricity to properties in France. When moving residence:

  1. Take a reading of the electricity meter on the day of vacating the property. Give this reading, together with the customer/client name and account number associated with that EDF contract for the property, to the new tenant/owner (this facilitates the account changeover process).
  2. On moving into the new property, take a meter reading then contact EDF providing this reading along with the previous occupier's customer number and name. This establishes a new account with EDF.

New tenants/owners have up to two weeks to contact EDF to establish a new account before the electricity is disconnected. A connection fee is charged when a new account is created (regardless of whether the electricity service is interrupted). Tenants/owners may request that an EDF technician read the meter on vacating a property or moving in to one; there is a charge for this.

EDF requires the following to process an account changeover:

  • Client reference number (printed on the top left hand corner of an EDF bill) and full name of the previous occupier as it appears on the bill

For further information from EDF:

Gas

Gaz de France provides domestic gas to properties in France. In some areas, the customer service of GDF and EDF is managed through the same department. If this is the case, a GDF account can be terminated with the same telephone call made to end the EDF service to submit the final meter reading.

Otherwise, take a final gas meter reading prior to vacating the property; contact GDF to submit the reading; a final bill is sent. GDF requires the following information:

  • Client reference number (nine digits at the top left corner of an invoice)
  • Mobile telephone number (or land line if no mobile number is available)

At no charge, an appointment can be made for a technician to visit the property and shut off the gas supply.

Notification of a move can be made online through the GDF website using the Demande Express service.

Water

When moving residence, contact the water supplier to terminate the contract.

Telephone and Internet

France Télécom services are supplied by Orange. Contact the local Orange office about 15 days before the move, giving them notice of termination of contract, unless the move is within the same exchange area, in which case the number may be transferred to the new address. Orange requires a notice of change of address.

Where a number changes, a recorded message can be placed on the old line informing callers of the new number.

Before the move, notify mobile phone and Internet service providers of the change of address.

Post

At least five days before the move, complete a change-of-address form (faire-suivre) at the post office (La Poste); this allows mail to be forwarded to the new address.

Mail can be forwarded to a new address in France or internationally for six or 12 months. Mail can also be forwarded on a temporary basis. To request mail forwarding, provide:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of the old address
  • Details of the new address

There is a charge for the mail-forwarding service.

Identity documents

Holders of a Carte de Séjour/Titre de Séjour should apply for the change of address stamp to be added to their residence card. This is done in person at the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture. Provide the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Carte/Titre de Séjour
  • Proof of address (utility bill - gas, water or electricity, or a rent receipt)
  • 3 passport-type photographs may be required

It is not necessary to notify passport issuing authorities of a change of address. Pencil in the change of address on the appropriate page in the passport.

Driving licence

A change of address can be handwritten on the back of a French driver's licence; it is not necessary to notify the Préfecture.

Motor vehicle registration (Certificat d'immatriculation):

Notification of change of address for the Certificat d'immatriculation (certificate of registration; previously known as the carte grise) must be made to the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture (or Préfecture de Police in Paris) within one month of moving. It may be done in person or via post.

Insurance

Notify vehicle, property, health and life insurance companies of the change of address. Home insurance can be transferred to a new property, but if the new home is a dramatically different size, the insurance premium is likely to be re-assessed.

Bank

Notify banks in writing of the new address, include account holder's names, account numbers, old and new address. Most banks will need written proof of a change of address, such as a utility bill. Allow enough time to print new cheque books.

Tax and Social Security

The French government has an online system for registering a change of address. All social security and tax details are updated. Have tax numbers and French social security numbers to hand when using this service:

Social security

Unless a change of address has been submitted to the government website, residents must notify the social security office (Caisse d'Assurance Maladie, CPAM) of a change of address so that files may be transferred to a new office if necessary.

  • When communicating with CPAM always quote the social security number (found on the Carte Vitale and on salary slips - bulletins de salaire)
  • After a change of address (or status), update the Carte Vitale by inserting it into a Carte Vitale terminal (the green box in pharmacies, CPAM offices and some Mairies)

When changing address to a different département, complete and return the déclaration de changement de situation form available from CPAM.

  • Visit Ameli to download the form (PDF in French)
  • Further information is available from the French social security website, Ameli (l'Assurance Maladie), in French.

Municipal Schools

Crèche: Contact the Mairie of the new area as soon as possible in order to enrol children. Give notice at the current crèche; be aware there is usually a one-month notice period at crèches.

Primary school: Contact the Mairie in the new area to find out which schools are in the mayoral area and arrange for enrolment. Request a certificat de radiation from the current school in order to remove a child from the school register.

Collège/Lycée: Request a certificat de radiation. This can only be given on the last day the child is attending the school. The necessary documents are transferred to the new school.

Pets

Easily overlooked is the need to update address information with the animal registry. To file a change of address for tattooed or microchipped animals, contact:

  • The National Dog Register (Fichier National Canin)

    Tel: 01 49 37 54 54

  • The National Cat Register (Fichier National Félin)

    Tel: 01 44 93 30 30

Other Contacts

  • Contact shops where credit or a frequent customer/loyalty account is held
  • Contact regular suppliers such as accountants