Before Leaving for France

Before leaving for France, you should without question collect all of your documents and have translations made into French. Make several photocopies of each document and translation. You will need:

For other family members, of course, bring passports, birth certificates, and a few photos of each.

This probably seems like a huge amount of paperwork to bring, but life will be an order of magnitude easier if you do bring it, along with the French translations and photocopies. I eventually just stuffed everything in a folder and carried it whereever I expected to encounter a form.

Before leaving, it's a good idea if you can arrange to stay with somebody upon arriving in France. Besides providing you with lodging, this person should provide you with an attestation stating that you do, indeed, have an address in France. This attestation will be necessary in your first encounter with a French bureaucrat, when you apply for your permis de séjour. Here's a sample in French.

James Stewart 2001