Along with its recent rapid increase in popularity as a permanent residence destination with many of the expat community, comes a lot of inaccurate and incorrect information about the basics of moving to France.
Don’t despair, in just sixty seconds we can clear up some of these popular urban myths about being an expat in France today.
Myth Number One – High VAT rates make living in France very expensive
Whilst at first glance, many current U.K. residents are deterred by the high V.A.T. (value added tax) on most goods and services in France, one needs to also consider the implications of this tax. France has relatively low barriers to entry economically and as such has developed an extremely competitive free market environment boasting world class goods and services at comparatively competitive prices.
One may also consider that this high V.A.T. has also created a safer living environment as well as free basic education and healthcare, making France a top contender for value for money and quality of life.
In conclusion, France offers a comparatively affordable lifestyle when all factors are considered.
Myth Number Two – France has many barriers to entry for Expats
If you are moving to France permanently, or for more three months, you will have to apply for a French Visa or a French residency. As with all visa and residency applications, this includes a clear criminal record and meeting certain basic requirements. For permanent relocation, you will have to apply to the “SécuritéSociale.”
Generally, when compared with other popular expat destinations, France offers a very responsive visa service, and these can usually be obtained within three months. Once residing in France, all nationalities are required to register with the local authorities, and this may take slightly longer and be a more involved process than the initial visa application. Outside of Paris, it often depends on the legislation of your specific region within France as to the finer details of this compulsory registration process.
Myth Number Three- France is an inhospitable environment for English speakers
Though there are elements of truth in this myth, one possible barrier to entry for expats, is that it is of utmost importance to have a basic understanding of the French language. Particularly if you intend to study or work in France, it may be worth considering well in advance of your move.
However, bringing your French language skills up to date is easy and affordable. Particularly in a highly competitive job market, a good command of French is essential. Even the large and popular French recruitment websites require a basic knowledge of French to get started. The French themselves are rather infamous for preferring to speak French over English!
It is not difficult to find an online, or physical French tutoring facility in your area, to meet your specific needs. French is a popular language and the demand for French language schools has created an abundance of facilities to learn French at your convenience.