Moving to France permanently in November- some advice needed

Hi everyone

after 18 years of dreaming of this day - we are finally about to achieve it.

We move permanently to France in early November having owned our French house for 5 years today as a holiday home we are giving up our jobs, sellign our UK haouse, packing our worldly goods and coming to live in our tiny mountain village in the Midi Pyrenee.

I discovered this forum this morning [I am a member on a couple already but this one seems far better somehow!]

The advice and guidance I need are associated to the following points:

Health - I know we need to get the S1 from Newcastle but what do we do with it once we are actually in France as have seen loads of different 'advice' so would like to know from someone that has done it in the last year if possible as rules and regs keep changing over time. How do we register with a GP, and can anyone advise me on good top up health insurance [I know all about pre existing conditions and what to do about those]

I am an insulin dependent diabetic and currently have an insulin pump - any advice from pumpers really appreciated as worried re the cross over and want to make sure I do not get it taken off me and can get the supplies

Car: exactly what do we have to and when re re-registering our car - a 2004 UK registered exactly as it should be RAV4

Driving licence - I am on a time limited UK driving licence and this will need to be renewed at a UK address however I will not have UK doctors so cant do that so will need to transfer and get a French one - how do I do this?

Registering as an Auto entrepreneur - seems there are loads of options re skill area etc - can anyone tell me what my OH will do as he is a tree surgeon and gardener and I understand these are not for the AE route.

I would love the right website addresses if possible [especially if they will translate as my French is OK but not good enough for legal and technical stuff yet!]

looking forward to hearing from anyone re these issues


OK no problem - I think the diabetes thing is not very well documented so will be interested to see what happens as I understand that in France they want more people to use Insulin pumps in any case so will be fascinating finding out about the cross over.

My current pump is an acu check combo and will eb 3 years old in march next year and would have been replaced by the PCT in any case then as they say that 3 years is the maximum that the pumps can be trusted to work accurately [personally it is superb and my control has improved beyoned recognition since i have had it [after a terrible coupe of weeks when i first got it and wanted to chuck it under the wheels of the next bus at times!]

My husband said to me Lesley you are in Sat nav mode adn you are following the road even though you know the vehicle is too big to go down it - use your head and dont be a slave to it. After that I have never looked back and now live a full adn happy life with diabetes as a slight problem instead of being a diabetic and having my life controlled by the condition every second of the day. I cannot recommend them enough for any insulin dependent diabetic.

I will keep you up to date..............

Excellent, clear and concise steps - thank you for that advice - I will print this out and use as a reference aid. Thanks so much

Thanks to all your very helpful advice, the car pack is now prepared - we have proof of the cars legality [from Toyota] , receipts, MOT's [just in case] proof of no claims bonus etc etc, plus a new fire extinguisher, set of bulbs, 2 very snazzy [!!!] reflective jackets, a warning triangle and last but not least a set of breathalysers to accompany us in the car. Now all we need to do is get there and get the lights changed, get the French MOT and take the docs to get it registered and Bob's your Uncle! I will let you know how 'easy' it is in the Ariege in due course!

We set off for france on 7th November so will likely do the registrations in January.

By the way we have found out that GAN will insure a UK registered car but not sure for how long so 'technically' may not actually need to do much at all, although will then have to continue to have it MOT'd in the UK I would have thought? To me it is as long as it is short and by preference I think as we will be living in France I prefer to have everything French as will be far easier in the long run although I do understand that some people would prefer to keep their car UK registered if they can - particularly if they are thinking of selling it in the UK or going back to the UK with it within a short period of time [up to 3 years for example]

We are in the process of making the move right now.And you may be able to help with something else: we don't know what to get our 26 year old daughter as a birthday present - have you got a catalogue and do you do mail order?

Goodness - yes - when do you make your final move?

We will be transfering everything in November this year so that we can get some pre Christmas sales in because we make hand crafted toys and fantasy clothes, soaps and body products, and jams and chutneys [that will be me as an autoentrepreneur] whilst Rob will do gardening and tree felling and stuff like that.

I am thinking of setting up a blog so that people can laugh at us as we stumble along!

Hi Lesley,

Vivienne and I bought our holiday home in southern Tarn 7 years ago and, like you, are now in the process of becoming France resident. We are encountering similar challenges to you [except not auto-entrepreneur,as we are retired] and it would be good to share our discoveries as we go on.

Indeed Jacqueline. Not sure how it works in the UK, but in Ireland the insurance company is obliged to send a letter each year confirming the No Claims Bonus prior to renewal date. Fortunately, I had kept these so was able to prove more than ten years (actually, touch wood, have never had a claim in over 30 years). Like you we got a decent reduction, and at renewal, got a refund for the mileage not used.

Just a thought on insuring your car in France. If you have any no claims bonus built up on your UK car insurance, obtain a letter from them to say you have this, as this will reduce your car insurance payment in France (it doesn't matter that it is in English) We did this when we bought our car in France and we got a substantial reduction (sorry can't remember exactly how much but I do recall being pleasantly surprised!)

Hi Lesley and welcome to SFN.

My husbands and my french was very poor when we arrived but we were recommended Credit Agricole (Britline) Bank where everyone speaks fluent English (make sure its Britline as this is a separate bank from the normal one). They were so helpful when we arrived we have stayed with them. They explain all the assurances you need from House, Car and all levels of top up mutuelle aassurance, we found them very competitive.

As far as a mutelle is concerned as you are a Diabetic, at present I believe you are exempt from paying for your medication for this condition. You just need to take your S1 form to your local assurance maladie office but I would recommend making sure you take several photocopies of anything you hand over as paperwork often goes missing with administrative matters here. We send anything important 'recommonde' (recorded delivery).

As far as a GP is concerned, I would ask a neighbour which doctor they recommend in your village and take it from there, as you can choose who you want even if they are a little journey away. We just turned up one day to our village doctors surgery and have been pleasantly surprised with the speed of service received.

Its easy to get a french driving licence (which is valid for life and is issued free). The SFN site has links to explain how to go about this and was very helpful. My husband and I only just got our french licences 2 months ago and had no problem at all.

Hope you find some of the above helpful, if not, the Useful Links on this site really helped us.

Good Luck

Thank you - was thinkiung of setting a blog up - need to find out how to do it now though!

Will do cheers x

Sure she has a sense of humour, Sheila.

The same applies in the UK. Keep the car I. Eire country for more than half of the year and you have to register it in that country, or at least, start the process!

sorry Sheila...I just picked on the translation and had no idea that there

was a refernence to a person.

I am afriad I never read everything from start to finish...

So not something aimed at anyone.

I have invited this lady to join SFN, so perhaps the puns/jokes on her name could be kept to a minimum?

That is extremely useful Sheila sure she will get a lot of work now - I will try with the originals and if needed will call her

wafflard...perhaps a plump waffler?

There are also links to translators on the Useful links page (second item). I will add Sarah to the list asap. BTW, what a name for a translator -- a wafflard, someone who waffles?

Hi Lesley. Lots of good advice here already. I too have come up against the translations hurdle with RSI re my Carte Vitale. Emails have ping-ponged back and forth between me and the fonctionnaire, and she continued to insist she needed a traduction assermenté. I found one, Sarah Wafflard, a French lady who speaks excellent English, and she is very good. Her phone number is (+33) 961 22 37 41 and email is: I have spoken to her this morning, and she would be delighted to hear from you or any other member. I'm going to persuade her to join SFN as well!