France and its paperwork!

PAPERWORK. AND LOTS OF IT. When I arrived in Paris, after a quick plane journey from Exeter and navigating through Charles de Gaulle airport, I came to the foyer, my new home for the next 6 months. With two big suitcases, and a tired look on my face, I was expecting a quick “bienvenue” and to be shown to my room so I could take a nap. Don’t be fooled like I was. The next two hours were painful, and involved filling out and signing document after agreement after declaration … The French are meticulous with paperwork, a little OTT some may think, but I guess it’s all necessary. I was, suffice to say, quite overwhelmed by all the papers, and before you ask, no, I had never done this in English before let alone in French. But here is what you need to know in order to avoid the mayhem I endured, which the French call standard form-filling …

The likely documents you will receive on arrival are as follows:

  • an attestation de résidence en foyer which is proof and confirmation of your arrival at where you’re living.
  • demande d’aide au logement otherwise known as “CAF” – I’ve got on to this separately as it’s an important process, so make sure you check the post “The CAF”!
  • attéstation d’hébergement which is basically the signed contract between you and your landlord.
  • Locapass these are basically forms you sign that mean if you for some reason can’t pay your rent when demanded, this company will pay on your behalf and then you pay this company. All to keep the rent flowing.
  • certain agreements to sign that basically say you won’t make a mess or burn the place down, I also had to sign a document to say I wouldn’t misuse the communal computers in the foyer.

Things you should bring with you for when you arrive:

  • Passport, which I assume you’ll already have with you!
  • National insurance card (EHIC), or copy of proof of insurance
  • Work contract
  • Proof of being a student – this could be a student card or a written and signed attéstation from your university.
  • If you’re not a student, then some foyers ask for proof of employment for the previous year.
  • Proof of grant, for example your Erasmus grant, this will be called an attéstation de bourse.
  • A RIB (bank slip giving your bank details)

Of course, everywhere is different, and if you’re moving into an apartment instead then the process could be different depending on the landlord. But I hope for those soon to move to this amazing city will now feel a little more prepared! Don’t be disheartened, once the paperwork is out of the way you can start to really make the most of living in Paris!

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