Before you start driving in France

What you should not forget to take with you, what documents do you need for a comfortable driving in France
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Why do you need help with paperwork in France

Trying to solely manage all the papers needed in a foreign country - is not just a stress, it is also a big risk to get fine or be deported
Full Article

Why do you need help with paperwork in France


Your French is even less perfect than it seems to be.

Waving your hands, listing a phrasebook and trying just to speak louder in your native language doesn't help much enough, this language is hard to master. Moreover, few people study language to understand law terms and official documents.


You have to keep properly most of your documents

An average limitation period of documents in France is about 5 years, and all the documents, that may be needed in court should be kept not less than this period. Also, you are going to scrupulously store cheques, personal documents, bills and tickets.

If you think, that there is no big deal, here is an approximate list of documents to store and terms.


Short list of recommended storage periods for documents

Type of the document Period of storage

Insurance documents

Policies, receipts, insurance of cars and houses at least 2 years since expiration date
Documents on civil responsibility insurance 10 years
Life and death insurance contracts not less than 10 years since expiration date

Vehicle documents

Fines (fr. Procès Verbal, PV) 3 yeats sicne the date of receipt
Repair and purchase bills for all the period of vehicle ownership
Documents on sale of a vehicle 2 years


Deposit cheques valid for 1 year and 8 days since the date on the chek
Documents for mortgage and consumer loans are kept for 2 years since the last payment
Bank statements, documents on transfers, deposit slips, paystubs 5 years

Personal and family documents

Birth certificates, marriage, family register, statements regarding marital property, divorce papers, adoption papers or recognition of parenthood, wills and donatives keep them forever
Documents on benefit payments not less than 3 years

Lodging documents

Pipe cleaning and telephone bills 1 year
Heating, gas and electricity bills 2 years
Water bills 4 years
Correspondence with property management 10 years
Rental documents during the whole rental period plus5 years
Documents on receiving of rental income not less than 5 years

Tax papers

Declarations of income not less  than 3 years since declared period
Local taxes for land and living 1 year or until next declaration

Working documents

Salary slips at least until retirement
Receipts for the pension benefits until death
Declarations of unemployment insurance 3 years
Other documents related to payments, including unemployment 5 years

Healthcare documents

Slips of disease assurance ( fr. Maladie assurance)  reimbursements 2 years
Mutuelle (top-up insurance) documents during the maximum payment delay period (usually 2 years)
Medical perscriptions  1 year since perscription (keep it while traveling to prove that you need your medicine)
Medical leaves at least until retirement
Declarations of working accidents and appendixes until any consequences are likely to happen
Certificates of vaccination forever
Diagnoses, MPI, Xrays forever, for patient's history
Deseased realative's documents are being kept mostly the same as above, excluding the documents for patient's history

The risks are high

Trying to solely  manage all the papers needed in a foreign country - is not just a stress, it is also a big risk to get a  rather big fine, be deported, slow down real estate deal or not even finish it at all. This also applies to everyday things - Internet connections, hiring domestic workers, signing children in school, etc. Professional assistance in real estate transactions and daily activities ensures you avoid most of the problems, quality and competition of such services in France generally are very high.

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