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Discussion Starter #1
Our move date is getting closer. We are relocating to France from Bermuda and are really trying to downsize. Any advice on how to travel with important paperwork? And what is really needed? I keep seeing threads on here about how you need to have proof of everything from your life before France.

I just read the other thread about not really needing my SS card but will have it and my son's.

Here is my list of what we have to bring with us--what is really needed? (Some obviously are…)

Just for reference: I am American and my husband is British. My son has both UK and US passports.

Passports
Marriage Certificate
Birth Certificates
Work Permits (for living & working in Bermuda--soon to be expired)
Social Security cards
Proof of residence in Bermuda (utilities statement--do we need this??)
Health paperwork from Doctors here
Insurance paperwork for valuables (do I need a form to bring these belongings into France?)

Thank you for any advice!
 

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You will also need ....

RIBS - bank identification. Each time you set up an automatic bank payment (gas; electricity etc) you will need one. IF you already have a French account there are usually one or 2 in the back of the cheque book. Online you can download as many as you like. I always carry one or 2 in my wallet.

Passport photos - certainly necessary for the carte vitale (health care). I'm always amazed at how often I need one, or two, or three. I'd go for 6 for each member of the family - perhaps others here will comment on this.

Frankly, I would bring all possible papers with you, in hand hand luggage, don't run the risk of them getting lost at airports. While I think it's unlikely you will need all the docs you mention - one day someone will ask for the least likely.

DejW
 

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If you are moving "permanently" to France, it's a good idea to bring your social security cards. (The poster who asked about it is only coming over for a year.)

The main thing to consider when deciding which documents to bring with you is whether or not the documents are something you can order an official copy of (usually online). Let's take your list for starters:

Passports - you need to have these in hand on arrival, so yes, definitely!
Marriage Certificate - can probably be obtained as needed (official copy)
Birth Certificates - best to obtain when needed - in France you often need to produce an official copy dated within the last 90 to 180 days - often with an apostille.
Work Permits (for living & working in Bermuda--soon to be expired) - no real need
Social Security cards - replacements can be a pain to get, so bring them with you (it's rare you need to produce the actual card, but if you're here for the long haul...)
]Proof of residence in Bermuda (utilities statement--do we need this??) - can't think of any reason why you'd need this
Health paperwork from Doctors here - might be nice to have a copy of your records/file to share with your doctor here once you have one, however most doctors I've dealt with here will politely review it, perhaps make a few notes and then hand it back to you to hold onto (traditionally, folks here hold copies of their own medical records, x-rays, test results, etc.)
Insurance paperwork for valuables (do I need a form to bring these belongings into France?) - if you're shipping your stuff, you should have a list of the items in the shipment with current values and approximate dates of acquisition (to clear customs on arrival). For valuable items, that are subject to separate insurance, you'll want receipts to authenticate their value (and your ownership). For general household items, your shipment list should suffice in case of insurance claims. If you've purchased anything within the last year or so, bring the invoice if you have it. (I think the rule for Customs is six months, but in case of question you may want to be able to "prove" you bought something more than six months ago.)

Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you--I mentioned the utilities thing because I had read a thread about someone needing their proof of previous residence when they were applying for something? (I can't remember what for though!)
My insurance property is basically I have my wedding ring and some electronics insured, and my violin and viola. I have proof of purchase for these as well as values. Will I have to pay any taxes or duty on these? I'm a professional musician, my instruments are quite valuable.

We are not currently shipping anything directly to France. We have things stored in England at my in-laws and will not be bringing over a lot until we find a house to live in permanently, so I suppose at a later time I'll need to do customs for those things.
 

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Probably simplest to attend to ID photos in France (except if the size for your passport renewals is different).
Bring your tax records, at least for the statutory period you are required to retain them in Bermuda - they can come in handy for many reasons.
Proof of residence in Bermuda could potentially be useful, but your tax records should suffice for that.
Work permits for Bermuda could be useful should you ever decide to return.
Drivers licences of course.
It's really not possible to foresee everything and requirements change all the time - I would say better safe than sorry. I wish I had brought a bit more paperwork with me, it would have made life a little easier.
 

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Basically, if you're immigrating to France you have one year from your arrival to import your household goods with no customs duties to pay. (VAT is separate - but only on items purchased within six months of your arrival.) You'll need to show your visa (with entry stamp), titre de séjour (depending on your visa type, probably the sticker in your passport that "validates" your visa) and the list of what you are importing.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Slightly tongue in cheek, but based on experience of living in France for 15 years.

You will need a small piece of paper carefully placed in your wallet/purse etc where you can find it easily. You need to write on this paper "SMILE" and "DON'T PANIC". You will need to refer to this paper sometimes, particularly in the early days in France.

If other posters here disagree then I'm very happy to engage in the debate!
 
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