What to do when you get here.
Transferring the services - Just before you complete the purchase of your property make an appointment to review the property you are buying and meet with the Vendor (and Agent as translator if required). At this time you can read the meters together (take a photo of the meter where possible) and find out any quirks of the house, where the stopcock is, etc. Ask the Vendor who their electricity account and water account is with and if possible their client reference number which will make it easier for the various authorities to change the accounts in to the new owners' names.
If there is a gas cylinder you will need to start a new contract with the supplyer. Some homeowners own their gas cylinder and others lease it. This needs to be discussed before the Compromis de Vente and inserted into the contract. Before completion the gas supplyer needs to do a written estimate of the value of the remaining gas in the cylinder so that you can sort out the financial settlement of the contents – the same applies to any oil left in a storage tank.
When you transfer the services into your name you will need to supply a Relevé d'Identité Bancaire (RIB) to set up a Direct Debit arrangement (Prélévement automatique) from your account.
If you are transferring a gas contract into your name a representative will probably want to come and visit you at your property to discuss the various types of contracts available – this is mainly to do with whether you want an automatic top-up or you want to telephone each time you would like a delivery and whether the house is full-time or a holiday home.
Paperwork - Please remember NOT to pack all your paperwork or put it into storage because you will need it many times when you arrive in France. Keep out your passports, birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates at least!
Health - If you have any existing health concerns ask your GP to provide you with a letter outlining your history and current medical requirements, including any prescriptions, and then pay to have this translated into French – this will ensure a seamless transfer of medical care.
Before you arrive in France you need to look into health cover. Whether or not you qualify for this when you arrive in France will depend on your position – your age, whether you are retired or an early retirée of if you are going to work. In general, if you are retired or working you are eligible but if you have taken early retirement you probably wont be covered under current regulations. You need to ask for an E106 in the UK which will cover you for up to 2 years in France.
Once you are registered and in the health system in France you will need to declare your Médecin traitant (GP). For further health investigations and appointments you can contact the specialist yourself.
In Northern France there is currently a shortage of dentists so ask for recommendations and waiting times before you settle on one. Again, if you are undergoing specific treatment in the UK ask your dentist to put it in writing and get it translated.
School – There are a few International Schools in France. If you specifically want your child to go to an International School you will need to research your areas before you come. The 2 most popular choices are the local Public or Privé (private) Schools. The private schools are heavily subsidised and it will probably cost about 70€ per term per child. You need to go to the Mairie in the town or village where you are buying to register your child and he/she will tell you which catchment you are in and give you details of the local school. There is a School bus service in most areas.
Opening a bank account – You need to open your account in France – there is no guarantee that even a dedicated Expat department like Crédit Agricole will let you open a bank account from a distance. You will normally need to make an appointment to go in. I recommend that you wait until you have found a property and then open a bank account in the local branch so that you establish a relationship with your bank manager. You will be asked to see proof of your address (a Compromis de Vente is OK), a Utility bill from your UK address, passport, 3 last bank statements and all of your personal documents including passport, etc. Most banks will have someone who speaks English.
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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