You’ve been thinking about it for a few years and feel that 2024 is the ideal year to move to France. But it still feels quite daunting or blurry for now - where should you start? In this article, I’m sharing 10 decisions you need to make in order to move to France in 2024.
1. Is it the right timeframe for you and your family?
Some years are better than others to move. For instance, if your children are about to start at a key school level or take some important exams. Or whether you need to be available to care for an elderly parent or a loved one. Sometimes the move appears to be just at the right time, as there are no major complications in the way.
2. What is your ideal location?
France has a variety of lifestyles and climates to offer. What is your ideal environment: are you a townie or a countryside pumpkin? Do you prefer to have culture or international schools around? Do you prefer to live by the mountain or by the seaside? Do you need a hot or mild climate? These questions will help you narrow down potential geographical locations to half or a quarter of France.
3. Will you need to work?
This is a major decision with a potentially big impact. Are you planning to come over to France as a tourist for a year? Will you work remotely with your current employer or will you go freelancing? Each decision has an impact on the type of visa required for your move to France. It will also help you plan ahead to negotiate with your current employer or adapt your existing business situation.
4. What will you do with your current home?
What are you planning to do with your home: rent it or sell it? Will you need to sell some furniture, ship some over to France or store it somewhere? Does any decluttering need to happen before this is possible? This is a major part of moving to a different country and it will take a lot of organising. Making decisions about our current home will however free up some mental space, leaving your time to focus on the visa preparation.
5. Which are your favourite top 3 French cities to live in?
This one sounds easier than it actually is, as it involves lots of research online or a good knowledge of France's geography. Identify your top three cities where you would enjoy living based on the criteria identified in question number two. Look into the houses and flat rentals or sale market in these towns. Organise a family vote or each compile your top 3 and compare your choices. Why did you choose those cities? It will give you extra clues as to what is important for each of you. Why not plan a short family holiday to go and check if these towns for real?
6. Decide which visa works best for you
Evaluate the best visa option for each member of your family based on your plans. Remember that you won't be able to switch your Visa once you are in France. So make sure it fits your plans for the next 8 to 12 months. Get professional advice.
7. Prepare your finances
It's time to get your finances in order. You will need to provide proof of your resources for your visa application. You also want to assess how much you will need to support your lifestyle in France. Do you have savings? Will your property rental generate extra income? Do you need to save for a few moments before this project becomes realistic? Do you also want to include a travel budget once you are in Europe? Work on your personal budget by looking at your cost of living in France (rent, utilities, food, schools, maintenance costs for your existing home). I find it easier to work on a monthly budget to assess the costs. Then apply to a yearly spreadsheet to reflect the seasonality or personal projects.
8. Prepare your visa application
Whether you are coming as an employee, a student, self-employed or long-term visitor, this step will take more time than you think. The sooner you start preparing your paperwork the better (check your current passport expiry date, get copies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate divorce, diplomas, etc.). For a Freelancer, for instance, this would be working on their business plan and financial plan way before the online visa application.
9. Involve the whole family
As your plans become clearer, start involving each member of the family, plus your close friends or professional network. This will enable everyone to project themselves and to support you in the first stages of your move. Why not organise a monthly French night: cheese board, French words and talking about your future life. This will boost your motivation when your dream project looks so far away.
10. Decide on your moving date
You have now looked into some very practical topics. It might even feel daunting realising how much work is involved in this short article! This is absolutely normal. Make sure you spread this work over a few months. Based on what remains to be done for steps one to nine, adjust your ideal moving date to France. Moving your project a few months later may initially sound disappointing, but if it saves you your sanity, you will be pleased about it! Decide on that ideal date and work on your retro planning.
Get support for your move to France in 2024
If you feel stuck, slightly deflated or frustrated, it’s probably a sign that it is time to look for external support. You can’t have all the answers and searching the web for 3 hours after a full day’s work won’t fix it.
It’s time to ask for advice from a professional to:
- Assess your options.
- Identify your roadblocks.
- Make some decision based on facts.
Here’s how I can help you move to France in 2024
Book a Power Hour - This is my block burster service where we have a 360 on your situation and identify your options. Get input from a French business expert and get ready to move to the next step. Here’s my availability
My French Business 1-to-1 Coaching - Get my support for 3 months to skyrocket your business project and visa application. Preparing a move to France while working is challenging. You have to find the energy to put in the extra hours in the evening or at the weekend. It often feels like things aren’t moving forward.
Get my support with a weekly or fortnightly call for 3 months. We’ll check on your progress, bounce ideas, get feedback and get directions. Plus get the market insight for a French business advisor who worked with French entrepreneurs for 10 years. Read more about My French Business 1-to-1 coaching and book a Discovery Call.