Life in France 

Tips for emigrants 

France is a country which has much to offer for emigrants in a variety of different ways. Be it the world famous French cuisine with its baguettes, cheese and sea-fruit, or with desserts such crème brûlée and crêpes. Furthermore, through its variable landscapes which range from white sand beaches on the Mediterranean coast to mountain chains such as the Alps, France offers something for everyone. Also the French life style appeals to many. Moreover, France has the advantage of being easily accessible to Germans, as it is also a member of the EU and therefore shares an open border with Germany at which the entry to France is already possible merely through an identity card or passport. Also the French culture, society and geography intrigue visitors to explore and move to this country, where not only world-famous metropolises offer attractive places to live, but also smaller towns and rural areas can be of interest, depending on one’s occupation. An important factor that potential emigrants should consider, is that French people place great importance on foreigners speaking French. Consequently, it is recommended to acquire at least basic knowledge of French before moving to France, be this through evening courses or online. This knowledge can then be deepened through everyday life in France or at specific French schools.

Living in France 

In principle the search for accommodation in France differs only slightly from that in Germany. In France, as in Germany, a salary statement is needed which should be at least three times the amount of the monthly rent. It is also required to have a French bank account, this however, can only be requested once French residence has been acquired. This vicious cycle can be broken through the landlord writing a provisional residence certificate, which normally allows you to open an account. However, foreigners occasionally have to provide a French guarantor for this, who also earns at least three times the monthly rent. In addition it is necessary to apply for a social security number which will also act as tax number. For this purpose, various documents are required which must be translated; these include identity card or passport, proof of residence in France, proof of the previous health insurance and birth certificate. Similar requirements also apply to the registration of a car for which, in addition to some French documents, also German-language documents, such as the purchase contract, the vehicle registration or proof of the German general inspection are required; for this, the German documents must be submitted as a certified translation.

Working and studying in France 

The French labor market offers opportunities for German specialists, above all for those working in the fields of industry, environment and energy. However, also commercial staff in the field of tourism are sought after, as well as specialists in the areas of finance and accounting. In order to apply, a CV and an application are necessary just as in Germany, however it is also possible that other documents, such as employment certificates are requested. These in turn, must must be made available as certified French translations. Furthermore, students, should they try to apply for a full degree abroad, need to provide certain documents in French; here, above all, the high school diploma stands out, because it is required everywhere due to it serving as a university admissions authorisation. Since the high school diploma is considered an official document, this translation must be done by a sworn translator. In contrast to the high school diploma, further required documents depend on the respective university. The admission to French universities for a semester abroad is carried out mainly via either the German university at which one is currently enrolled, or through an exchange programme such as ERASMUS, which usually only requires a letter of motivation, recommendations from lecturers and proof of one’s own language skills. Also, in order to obtain a complete education at a French university as a foreign student, it is necessary to have a certain level of French.

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