Documents for France

Sometimes I feel like I’ve gathered my life into this 3-inch folder. And it keeps getting thicker.

The process of entering a new country seems never-ending. Once I’ve crossed a hurdle, there looms another. This week it was my cart de sejour. What a relief! But now I need to start thinking about changing my driving permit.

Sometimes I haven’t had the papers I’ve needed, and it’s more difficult to get them once you leave the States, or more expensive to have them delivered, so I had the idea to create a list of documents I’ve needed or thought I might need. I’ll add to it as needed. And if anyone has other suggestions, feel free to comment and I’ll add them to the list.

Oh, and sometimes you need these translated into French.

Documents from Country of Origin:

  • passport (and many photocopies)
  • birth certificate (many photocopies)
  • social security card
  • driver’s license
  • medical records
  • vaccination records
  • proof of address in country of origin (phone bills, electric bills)
  • financial statements: retirement accounts, bank accounts, insurance, tax documents, pay stubbs for 3 to 6 months, proof of income
  • health insurance records
  • marriage certificate, divorce papers
  • diplomas, transcripts, French language certificates or other proof of language study
  • resume or CV
  • work contracts
  • important phone numbers
  • contracts, agreements, records for any outstanding properties or other incidentals in country of origin (for example, I needed to have my contract for my storage unit with me so I could renew over the phone; car title; house or mortgage records).
  • Demande De VISA Pour Un Long Sejour (application for long-stay VISA)
  • Demande D’Attestation OFII (this document must be certified by the French Consulate in your country of origin and presented to the OFII in your French prefecture in order to obtain a carte de sejour)
  • Prepaid Flat Rate Mailing Envelope (for return of your passport and long-stay VISA)
  • head and shoulders photo (size differs in France, so read all instructions carefully for requirements)
  • Power of Attorney (I left these in case I needed someone to deal with business in the States in my absence. It turned out to be necessary. If you have real estate, you need a separate POA that states very specifically the liberties of the person in your stead, and must be notarized and filed in the precinct where the real estate presides; at least this was the case in Virginia.)

Documents in France:

  • proof of address (It’s a good idea to put a cell phone or some other bill in your name at your French address. Everything was in my husband’s name, so it was often complicated.)
  • proof of income (work contracts, pay stubbs, bank statements)
  • French bank card (open a bank account in France as soon as you can)
  • Livret de Famille (if you married in France)
  • Acte de Mariage (equivalent of a marriage certificate; certified by the local Marie)
  • Titre de sejour (record to show you paid taxes upon entering France; required for carte de sejour and auto insurance)
  • Certified D’Attestation OFII (this document must be certified by the French Consulate in your country of origin and presented to the OFII in your French prefecture in order to obtain a carte de sejour)
  • long-stay VISA
  • national identity card of spouse (if you are married to French national)
  • passport of spouse (if you are married to French national)

More helpful information: French Moving Planner