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Day to Day Living in France


Day to Day Living in France

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Day-to-day Living in France

How is the social security system (sécurité sociale) organised?

The system is divided into three main schemes:

  • Régime général - for employed people (salariés), which accounts for around 80% of the French population
  • Régime social des indépendants RSI - for artisans, shopkeepers, and professionals.
  • Régime agricole - for farmers and run by MSA

If I have a French registered business, will I be entitled to a French pension (retraite)?

Social security payments are mandatory. Part of these payments (cotisations) include your pension. There are different types of pension available to you and you can pay top up points for your pension to build it up quickly. This is great if you enter the system at a later stage but still want to receive a full pension.

The pensionable age is 60 years old and applies to both men and women.

How much will I pay towards my pension?

It is not a fixed rate. It is calculated using the figures submitted in your tax return: the more you earn the more you pay.

When I retire in France, when I have ceased trading, will I be able to claim for a UK pension as I have paid into the system prior to moving to France?

You need to inform HM Revenue and Customs and then you can apply to pay Voluntary National Insurance contributions and will later be entitled to receive a UK pension when the time arises.

HMRC Residency (Newcastle)
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ
United Kingdom
Tel: 0845 605 5999
Fax: 0845 366 7828
Minicom: 0845 366 7805
For all of the information you can visit their website:

Where can I go for free help and advice in relation to Social security payments, health contributions, tax, etc?

There is an organisation called CER France with offices located throughout France. They provide free advice on all financial aspects of business and accountancy. To find your local office visit their website

Will I be entitled to claim for French Family Allowance?

You can only claim for French family allowance if you have two or more children. You will have to inform the DSS that you are no longer resident in the UK. They will issue you with a form to state that you are no longer receiving Child Benefit from the UK.

There are numerous CAF (Caisse D'Allocations Familiales) offices in the main cities around France. To find your local office visit their website:

To apply for family allowance you will need to take with you:

  • The form issued by the DSS
  • Passports for all of the family members.
  • Completed CAF form (Déclaration de Situation)
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • French Bank Account details (Réleve d'Identité Bancaire)
  • Registration form - Extrait du Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés issued by Greffe du Tribunal de Commerce
  • URSSAF Notification
  • Income Tax Declaration
  • Carte de Séjour (this is optional)

A representative from CAF will then come to see you at your home. Following the completion of the application you will then receive a card (carte d'allocataire) and notification of the amount you will receive each month. The amount you receive will be calculated with the figures of your earnings and how many children you have. CAF will send you a form (Déclaration De Ressources) for completion every year.

CAF is responsible for everyone except rural or agricultural businesses. MSA supports farmers and their families in relation to health, family allowance and retirement services.

How do I register a vehicle in France?

You can either visit your local mairie or prefecture. Each departmental capital (departments have the equivalent to a capital city e.g. Rennes for department 35) has a Prefecture, which is a government building that is responsible for issuing driving licenses, French ID cards, Carte de Sejour, re-registering vehicles, etc. If you have all of the correct documentation the Prefecture will issue you with the carte grise - registration form including the registration number (numéro d'immatriculation) immediately. You will have wait longer for the Mairie to submit the paperwork on your behalf.

You will need the following documentation:

  • Demande de Certificat d'Immatriculation - request form (available from the Prefecture/Mairie)
  • ContrôleTechnique - CT (French equivalent of the MOT certificate). The headlights will need to be changed as the optics shine in the opposite direction in France. This is valid for two years
  • Certificat d'Acquisition - To prove that the VAT has been paid. This form available from the Hôtel des Impots- local tax office and you will need to take the receipt for the vehicle, UK log book and passport. The registered keeper of the vehicle must be sign this form
  • Valid Passport of the person registering the vehicle
  • Utility bill (telephone bills are not accepted.
  • UK vehicle log book
  • Attestation d'Identification Pour Vehicle Importe - Find the French head office of your make of vehicle and write to the asking for this form. You must include the registered keepers details and the UK registration number. They will write back asking for payment for issuing the form. Once they have received your payment (French cheque) they will send you the form including all of the information of your vehicle
  • Payment (Cash or French cheque)

How much is car tax?

There is no charge for car tax.

Can I keep my UK driving licence?

After two months of being resident you have to change your UK driving licence for a French driving licence. You will need to visit your local Prefecture with the following paperwork. While you wait, your paperwork is processed and your French licence is handed to you directly. Your Vehicle classifications will be translated and your UK points will be added.

You will need to take the following with you:

  • 2 identical passport photo's
  • Both parts of your UK licence
  • Valid passport
  • Utility Bill (telephone bills not accepted)
  • Payment - cash or cheque (approximately 45 Euros)

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