EXPLAINED: The bureaucratic boxes to tick if you plan to leave France permanently

A blue sign with yellow stars indicating the French border with Germany
(Photo: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen / AFP
Reader question: I’ve made the difficult decision to leave France and move back home. Are there any official bodies I have to tell?

For any number of reasons, people who have moved to France later decide to leave – job contracts or placements end; family members fall ill; people move on, move out, move back. 

Whatever the reason, thousands of people pack up their lives in France just every year. And yes, this is France, so there are certain bureaucratic steps to take.

The tax office

The taxman needs to know you’re leaving the country. You can inform them of the fact and date of your departure online, by logging into your Personal area on the website. Remember, income taxes in France are paid the following year, so don’t be surprised to receive tax forms at your new, non-French address.

It is especially important to contact them if you continue to earn some form of French income, such as a salary or pension, which may – under international conventions – still be taxable in France.

Meanwhile, if you have a French pension, you should contact your pension provider. You should also contact the international pension centre in the country you’re moving to. You can find the UK international pension centre here.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to talk to a financial adviser who understands the tax system in France AND in the country you’re moving to before you move. Organising your finances at both ends is recommended.


If you are registered with the French healthcare system and have a carte vitale, you need to tell Assurance Maladie that you are leaving France. What you need to know is here, and the declaration you to complete is here (pdf)

Broadly, if you are moving to another EU country, or one in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, you can ask for a form that allows you to carry over your health benefits from France to your new home.

France also has bilateral health agreements with a number of non-EU countries. A list of those countries, and further information on what to do, for health purposes, if you’re moving to a country with or without a healthcare agreement with France is available here

It’s probably a good idea to tell your GP (médecin traitant), too.

Social security

The same applies if you receive unemployment benefit – you need to tell your Pôle emploi office that you’re leaving France. Give them a leaving date, so they can work out when to stop payments to you. 

If you’re heading to another EU country, the equivalent of Pôle emploi in that country can take into account periods of work in France. You can also keep your benefits for a certain period. 

You can find further information on your benefit rights – including the forms you need to complete – here

And, if you get child or housing benefit in France, you have to talk to CAF and tell them when you are leaving the country.


If you have children who attend school in France, you need to inform the headteacher of the school. They will supply all the documents you require for moving schools. Of course, you’ll need to register any children into the education system in your new country.

La Poste

La Poste will forward any letters to your new address for up to 12 months. Click here for more information.


Don’t forget to check current Covid-19 rules on entry to the country you’re moving to. If you’re moving to an EU country your French vaccination certificate code will integrate seamlessly into your new country’s domestic health pass (if they use one).

Member comments

  1. You forgot to mention the UK visa you’ll need to get for your EU citizen family members. Without that you won’t be going back together.

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