Things to Do When You Arrive in France


     Migrating is such a big word. Well, just imagine all the emotions attached to it. In fact, this blog is a spin-off of that thing. All those paperworks- the visa, organizing the property you left behind, the goodbyes to your family and friends, and in my case, quitting my job, etc., can really challenge your guts.

I worried for many things and sometimes, or a lot of times, over nothing. I was relieved of all these after getting out of the arrival area of Charles de Gaulle Airport. However, business wasn’t done yet. A new chapter called “Living in France” has begun and we need to play the rules.

Here are the things that you should be prioritizing as well aside from visiting the Tour Eiffel, The Louvre etc.…

1.   Take a rendezvous at the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration.

This can be done by sending the form “Demande d’Attestation-OFII” that was given to you by the French Embassy when they issued to you your visa. Click here for more information.

2.   Process your proof of residence or the “justificatifs de domicile”.

The earlier the better. All the administrative stuff that you have to do for your immigration require your proof of residence. The following are some of the accepted documents:

·        quittance de loyer (rent receipts);
·        electric, gas, water and landline telephone bills with your name on it;
·    attestation d’hébergement (proof of accommodation) accompanied by a proof of identity document of your host (or your husband). This is not always honored like when you open a bank account and when your exchange your driver’s license. 

3.   Get a transport travel card.

I love my Navigo Pass for Ile-de-France. It’s a taste of freedom since it will give you unlimited travel by bus, subway, RER and tram around the Ile-de-France. There’s a lot of things to visit here in Paris and especially the chateux in the suburbs, so give it a go. You can choose its weekly, monthly or annual flat-rate. To view the tariff, please click here.

They will ask the following documents:

·         Titre de séjour
·         Passport
·         Justificatifs de domicile (attestation d’hébergement will do)

4.   Get a sim-card.

Well you’re here and you need to be connected. The main mobile service providers in France are Orange, SFR, Free and Bouygues. So check their rates and promos.

5.   Open a bank account.

Money, it’s a gas! Remember that Pink Floyd song? When there’s money, there’s a bank. We need a bank. Unlike in the Philippines where we can exist without a bank account in some instances, here, even the homeless have a bank account. For the salary, for the social health insurance, etc.

6.   Apply for a Carte Vitale.

Who wants to be sick? Being homesick is enough. But hey, hey, hey…we will be taking the metro, the bus or the tram and we will be sharing breath with our fellow commuters including those with flu.  We’re not 100% resistant to illness. It’s better to be assured. Please click here for additional information.

7.   Exchange your foreign driver’s license.

Being able to drive here or anywhere is autonomy. There are also beautiful villages in France where the buses don’t go, literally, so it’s really good if you can take the wheels.
You have one year from the date of the validation of your visa by the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Integration to exchange your foreign driver’s license. For a more detailed information, click here.

8.   Register with Pole Emploi.

France offers a lot of services as well as assistance to develop our professional life here and If you are a job-seeker or working for not more than 75 hours per month, you could register as a “demandeur d’emploi" at Pole Emploi. You will be assigned a counselor to help you realize your projects here in France.

Following are the benefits that a “demandeur d’emploi" may avail of free of charge:
·        Guidance and counseling on your professional life
·   French language courses with certain associations linked with Pole Emploi
·        Formations or trainings
·  Free access to museums and other cultural establishments including but not limited to the Louvre, Opéra Garnier, Museé d’Orsay...
·        (I’ll tell you more when I’ll find out some more…)

9.   Enroll in a French language course.

C’est obligatoire! Being able to speak French will give you wider access or opportunities to employment, trainings, and education should you want to further your studies. Aside from that, learning a new language will stimulate your brain and may slow down our brain’s degradation.  

10.  Have your diplomas recognized.

The “reconnaissance d’un diplôme étranger” is a process of evaluating your diplomas to determine your educational attainment.  The Centre ENIC-NARIC France is the one which issues the “attestation de comparabilité. The process costs 70€ and may take four (4) months.

You may make your request and submit the scanned copy of the following documents at this site.

·         Proof of Identity (passport)
·        Your diploma in the original language
·        Proof of the duration of your studies issued by the establishment
·        If your documents are in English, German, Arab, Spanish, French, Italian or Portuguese, there is no need to have them translated.

**The size of each document must not exceed 2mb. You can find the        detailed instruction here



I hope this helps...

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