What does the Mairie do? - The Mairie plays an important part in your community. However small your village is there will be a Mayor and a Mairie (Mayor's office). The power of the Mayor in your commune cannot be underestimated! It may only be open for a couple of hours a week. You can go there with any concerns you may have, or any questions. You can pick up a card to enable you to go to the local déchetterie (tip). You can also go there to pick up the forms and apply for planning permission, registering your car, etc. When you buy your house do go and introduce yourselves to the Mayor – they may not speak any English but you can let them know you have bought a house in the commune. It may be the Mairie that is responsible for your water supply – in which case you will need to register and pay a small fee to put the account into your name. If you are buying a holiday home ensure that you leave your contact details in the UK in case there are any problems with the house whilst you are away. Don't be afraid of the language – just go in! The opening hours of your local Mairie will be posted on the door or go online and type in the name of the commune. The Mairie is involved in where the public budget is spent in terms of road re-surfacing, the employé communale (who keeps your village tidy) and policy decisions with the committee. They are also responsible for ensuring that the Septic Tank inspections are carried out in their towns or villages via a government organisation known as the SPANC.
Motoring - Many people import their cars. The only time it can be awkward with a right-hand drive car is for overtaking. If you do bring your car over from the UK make sure that there is no duty (VAT) to be paid. Imported cars must be re-registered here within 6 months otherwise you will have problems with your insurance. You may also need to have your headlights adjusted or replaced. To register you will need to go to the local Tax office (Hôtel des Impôts) for a certificate to say that there is no further duty to pay on the car, get a cerficate of conformity and a contrôle technique (MOT equivalent but only every 2 years), insurance needs to be transferred to France and you will need details of your no claims bonus from the UK. There are conflicting reports on whether you should change your driving license to a French one. If you are stopped and you are resident in France the police will want you to have a French license not a UK one. In terms of insurance shop around and make sure the cover is what you expect.
Inheritance laws – These are set to be amended in 2015. In a ruling passed by the European Parliament recently which means that residents in European states will be able to write a will stating that they want the rules of their own country to be applied in the event of their death. This will make things very much easier especially for re-married couples with children from different relationships. You need to take specialist advice and write a will in France to avoid any problems later or at least for dammage limitation! It is a very simple process to do this with the Notaire whether you are resident or non-resident and you can even get it sorted out at the completion appointment and then pop back in to sign it when it is ready. If you are non-resident you will need to take a translator and have 2 independent witnesses. The Notaire will then keep the will and put it on to the central register. French law applies to all property you have in France including bank accounts at the moment.
Child/Family allowance – This is dealt with by the CAF (Caisse d'allocations familiales). To benefit from this you need to prove that you have stopped claiming in the UK. You are entitled to receive money if you have at least 2 children under the age of 20. There are no allowances for an only child. There are significantly higher benefits for a family with at least 3 children and as they get older the benefits go up. There is also a lump sum payment to help with the cost of buying books, etc. for your child before the “Rentrée” which is means tested.
Do you need a Visa/Work Permit? - European citizens do not need a visa or work permit to enable them to move to France. You do not need a Carte de Séjour either. Requirements are very different for people coming from non-EU countries and they should take advice before moving to France. You can apply for a Carte de Séjour at your Mairie. If you situation is more complicated you can contact the Centre d'accueil des Etrangers in Paris and register with the British Embassy in Paris too. When you have lived for a minimum of 5 years in France, full time, you are entitled to request residency – a process which can take up to 2 years.
Useful telephone numbers :
EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBERS
• 15 Ambulance (SAMU = Service D’Aide Medicale Urgent)
• 17 Police (Gendarmes)
• 18 Fire and accident service ..(Pompiers)
• 112 Universal Switchboard ....All three services throughout Europe can be contacted using this number
•114 Universal Switchboard for people with hearing difficulties
•115 Emergency Shelter
•119 Child Protection
•116 000 Missing child
•112 Emergency at Sea (when calling from land) or VHF Channel 16 when calling from the sea
To find a duty pharmacy phone 3237 or http://www.pharmaciesdegarde.com/
To find your nearest hospital use the map on the following page by putting in your department number and the treatment required : http://www.hopital.fr/
For after hours medical help (similar to the UK NHS Direct) phone 3624 or click on : http://www.sosmedecins-france.fr/
SOS Helpline (like the Samaritans) and English speaking : 01 46 21 46 46 (3pm - 11pm) or click on :http://www.soshelpline.org/
You can phone free to any emergency numbers from pay phones.
In English - 00 33 (0)9 69 36 39 00 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
In English - 00 33 (0)5 62 16 49 08 (be prepared to wait a while for the phone to be answered)
FRENCH HEALTH INSURANCE ADVICE LINE
In English - 0811 36 36 46 from France. Price of a local call from a fixed phone line from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday or : www.ameli.fr
For more information please do not hesitate to contact Suzanne
www.facebook.com/suzanneinfrance & www.facebook.com/normandyinsite
If you have questions, you can also contact Suzanne or Expatsradio.com via our contact link on every page of the site.
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