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I would like to move to France (Paris most likely). I have French citizenship and I speak fluent (though rusty for now) French. I will not have a job lined up and I plan to look for one.

My biggest concerns are about getting an apartment and bank account. I've read about the obstacles to the traditional renting of an unfurnished apartment. I am fine with and would probably prefer something short-term (3-4 months) and furnished anyway. Are there people who do vacation rentals? How do these usually work? I read that one should not pay from abroad but it seems risky for the renter to accept that you won't pay until you arrive there. Are these kinds of rentals unofficial or "under-the-table" so to speak?

Is it possible to open up a bank account if I don't have a lease? Are there certain banks that are a little more lenient about these requirements? I'm probably more concerned about the bank account considering I don't see how I will be able to get paid without one!

I know France is very bureaucratic, but there must be a way to do this. I can't be the first person to move to France without having a job lined up first.
 

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There are plenty of vacation rentals available - or, if you're shooting for Paris, rentals of furnished apartments in or near the city. Furnished apartments and houses are treated more or less like hotels, so you can book them from abroad (possibly with a deposit required to be paid up front). There are also the apart-hotels, kind of like the suites hotels you get in the US - with kitchen facilities and intended for longer term stays while you're getting yourself established. FUSAC has several advertisers that offer furnished flats in Paris for "extended stays": FUSAC - Petites annonces pour anglophones de Paris

You don't actually need a lease to open a bank account, but you do normally need either a job contract or three months of back pay slips. Otherwise, you can open a "non-resident" account (which has some restrictions) and convert the account once you find a job and have a permanent place to stay. The banks are pretty strictly regulated and most of them have pretty much the same requirements, however you normally need an appointment to open a new account and depending on your "conseiller" you may be able to work out acceptable terms for opening the account.

Most of all, make sure you are registered with your local French consulate in the States before you go. You'll need to have your French carte d'identité and passport - and obtaining them in the States before you go will reduce one set of bureaucratic hassles once you get there. (Your carte d'identité is what the bank, landlords, employers and other officials will need to see.)

In France, you get paid once a month so you'll have a bit of time to set up a bank account after you've found employment. Expect to spend several months looking for work. Depending on the type of work you do, the hiring process can often take 3 months or more after your initial application and successful interview. Depending, too, on your age and qualifications, the job market here can be pretty dismal, or you should be ready for a succession of CDDs (short-term job contracts) if that's the best you can find at first.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response.

I've read that one shouldn't send money up front for apartments due to fraudulent listings. Is there a way to know which of the short-term apartment listings that take foreigners are legitimate? The extended stay places look legitimate, but they also seem to be considerably more expensive.

You don't actually need a lease to open a bank account, but you do normally need either a job contract or three months of back pay slips. Otherwise, you can open a "non-resident" account (which has some restrictions) and convert the account once you find a job and have a permanent place to stay. The banks are pretty strictly regulated and most of them have pretty much the same requirements, however you normally need an appointment to open a new account and depending on your "conseiller" you may be able to work out acceptable terms for opening the account.
I will not have three months back pay slips. Does one receive a job contract for CDD positions? I will have to look into the non-resident accounts. Can you deposit wages into a non-resident account?
 
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