Retired Australian wanting to move to France


I'm planning to move to France late next year (2015) and I'm hoping to live there permanently. I'm very keen to hear from other Australians who have done the same.

I am particularly interested in people's experiences re:

1. Obtaining a long stay visa and carte de sejour

2. Obtaining health insurance

3. Opening a bank account in France

4. Regular transfer of funds from Australia to France

5. Long term renting

6. Buying a car and getting a French driver's licence

Any advice or assistance on any of these topics would be greatly appreciated.

Tony Hull

Well done Andy!

Best of luck. I have given up for a while (I am older than you so I am blaming being 60 rather than being a rissole) as no jobs on offer so am flying to France for 3 months at end of May.

Good luck with the job hunting

Applied for a State Sales Manager position in Adelaide. Looking promising. Had HR phone interview, got a phone questionnaire this coming Tuesday with an external group they use to check my profile matches the company and then a final Skype interview with National Sales Manager. All the signs are good so in theory I wil be back in Oz mid to late June. Pay is very good so the high prices back there won’t be too crushing. If it works out and I can be of any assistance give me a shout.

Helen thanks. The only way I’d be back is if I have a job to come back to. Fortunately Orthopaedic Sales often does Skype interviews so it is not necessary to be in situ.

Hi Andy, make sure you do some good research before you come back to Australia. Things here are now very expensive and unemployment is on the rise. As you probably know there is thousands of middle management and tradies coming back from the mines. I don't know what you plan to do for a living but make sure you really check it out before giving up a job where you are. If it's just a good lifestyle you are after then come on back :)

What are you looking for and I can give you a shout if something I see matches?

Geographically anywhere really but Adelaide is high on my list. Visited many times and really like the lifestyle. I was 20 years in Perth and loved it, travelled all over Oz and would like a change to WA.
Job wise I was 20 years in Orthopaedic and Spine Sales. Did the whole range from rep to management to business owner/distributor. Here in the US I have been Director of Operations for two different large up-market Vacation Rental Management companies (300 luxury houses each) running the Houekeeping/Quality Assurance and Warehousing Departments. Lots of people managing, team building, logistics and stress! Left to start my own business as a Decorative Concrete Contractor. Done renovation work in the past, did an installers course and decided to try being stressed and low paid as my own boss rather than stressed and low paid working for someone else! The wages here in NW Florida are pitiful for the work entailed. Back in Oz when I left in 2008 my basic was 120k. Here I was getting 60k to run three departments, manage 15 full time staff, 30 part timers and 30 sub-contract companies. Worked every weekend in season trying to get 300 huge fancy houses cleaned and ready between 10am and 4pm. Taught me a lot.

Lets see 3x0=? :0)

What areas are you looking in just in case I come across anything in my searches for myself that may suit you

Not exactly sure, but my understanding is that if you can satisfy the local authorities of your residency you can apply basically straight away......may need to have a suitable residency card like a Carte Sejour in France, which takes about three months. You can apply to the local Social Security organisation or to Centrelink in OZ, but would still need to satisfy them of residency.

I think you would need to have a suitable visa from OZ and then obtain a residency card.



Not looked at that but I would guess a residential address, bank account and driving license are some things that could help prove residency. Though maybe not license as, ‘I know people’ who have a French license but are not resident. Not sure if France still uses Carte de Sejour for non-EU passport holders, if so that would be something to show proof.

I’ve just sent my c.v. to three recruiters I used to deal with some years back and plan to return to Oz and knuckle down for the last decade to try and triple my current super. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing but prevents great adventures!

I'll give it a try although it is so long since I was actually a resident of Hong Kong (my first expat assignment), I'm not sure I'll remember addresses


Nor a problem. Also I use HIFX for currency transfer. They have offices in London and Sydney and are efficient, simple to use and cheap. Far far better than the High Street banks.

Sorry for dekay, go onto either car firm and say you are resident of Hong Kong. This takes you to Renault Korea here you can do the deal. All docs are sent by email anyway.

Any idea how long you have to be in an agreement country and what is required for proof of residence there

Pretty much spot on Andy.

Unfortunately in my circumstances I left before I was of pension age so will have to wait for an Agreement or go back to OZ for 2 years OR move to an Agreement country for a period of time and apply there (Italy or Spain)



Thank you . Surprisingly appropriate and helpful for my circumstances as I have just returned to Oz from 7 years away and turned 60 so can at least try to schedule things to fit their requirements (which will naturally change just before I need them :-))

Thanks again


Hi Steve,
This may not help but I did a bit more searching yesterday regarding the Australian Old Age Pension. It may not relate to your situation and if I have misunderstood the website then I apologise.
I am 53 so have almost 12.5 yrs till retirement age in Australia. Contributions were paid into the system for 20yrs but around 6 years ago I left Australia and moved to the U.S. where I re-married. Both my wife and myself are UK born but I only qualify for a very small UK pension. I have previously lived in France but not long enough for much pension there either however my parents-in-law currently live there. We both wish to move there asap but I was trying to find out come retirement age if the Oz pension could be paid there.
The are some slight contradictions in the gov info that probably can be explained in the small print but this is what I read.
Australia has for some time been trying to work out a reciprocal agreement with France but as of yet this is not concluded. Should a person who has reached retirement age in Australia move to France thereafter the gov will pay the aged pension into a French account. If you reached retirement age outside of Australia they will not. To be able to access the Australian aged pension in this circumstance you would need to return to Oz for a minimum of 2 years till retirement age is met and then you can re-locate. If you have been living permanently outside of Oz for 13 years or more before retirement age then it is possible they will not pay any aged pension if you returned or only a portion. If you return to Oz after 5 years or more you have to reapply for a Medicare card as they consider 5 years or more to have been a permanent move.
For myself it means either moving to France now and trying to work so as to pay into the system and get French benefits, stay in the US at least another 5 years to accrue enough points for A US pension, do the same in UK or return to Oz till pension time comes around and amass as much moolah as I can working.

Thanks and understand- Would be interested in the PDF though if possible

Hi Steve

Unfortunately many of the questions Andy had were personal and particular to his circumstances so better answered by PM.

While I am no expert in the field, I have experienced first hand a lot of the problems that aussies find in making the move and having worked in the financial advice and services are in OZ for over 20 years, I am in a position to help in some cases with general answers.

If you want to ask some general questions regarding pensions etc then please feel free to do so on the blog and I will see what I can do to answer where appropriate.

I have also produced a PDF booklet on "what's involved in making the move from OZ to France" particularly for those of retirement age.

Happy to assist in anyway I can because I love living here and while it has many road bumps, life in France is not too bad as long as you are prepared.

Steve if your questions are personal then feel free to PM me.

Graham R