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Required pre-departure formalities

Required pre-departure formalities for your stay in France

During your stay in France, you will need certain documents or information for administrative procedures. Make sure you have done all the required formalities before leaving your country.

Arrive in France with all the compulsory documents

First you will need a valid passport (warning: some Consulates will require a passport with validity dates that go beyond the length of your stay in France). Also make certain you have all these required documents when you arrive in France:

  • two certified copies of your full birth certificate (your birth certificate must mention the name of both of your parents), every person travelling with you must have two copies of their own full birth certificate as well,
  • if you are married: a marriage certificate,
  • a proof of income delivered by tax authorities for the last two years, even if you had no income during that period of time.

These documents are subject to certain conditions. Read the paragraphs below to know more about the apostil, legalization and translation of your documents.

Legalization and apostil formalities

Before you leave, you need to "legalize" or "apostil" your documents unless your country is subject to an exemption. Such formalities proves the authenticity of your documents. The procedures vary depending on your country of origin. For more information, please contact the French consulate in your country of residence.

Here is a list of the relevant documents:

  • birth certificate,
  • marriage certificate,
  • death certificate,
  • diplomas...

The full list is available on the Service Public website.


Documents that have not been legalized or do not bear an apostil will be rejected by the French authorities, unless your country is subject to an exemption. To check if your documents need to be legalized or bear an apostil, please visit the Paris Prefecture website (in French).

Translating official documents into French

The required documents will need to be translated into French. You must have them translated in France by a certified translator. Ask for 3 original translations. To find a certified translator in France, you may search on the Paris Court Certified Translators and Interpreters website.

Gather the recommended documents

These documents are not compulsory but they may be useful:

  • three most recent pay slips,
  • your current work contract,
  • your immunization record (as well as that of every person travelling with you),
  • a recent account statement,
  • your driver’s license or international driver’s license,
  • if you have a social security number in a European country: your European Health Insurance Card.

If you are coming with a pet, bring its immunization record and make sure your pet has received the appropriate vaccinations. Click here for more information on travelling with pets in the EU.

Contact the local tax administration of your country

Before you arrive in France, contact the local tax administration of the country you were a tax resident before coming to France. Tell them you are about to leave to France. Ask them if your tax situation is going to change during your stay in France.
For more information, read our article about Taxes in France.