Leaving France

You want to leave France, but you do not know yet how to proceed? All you need to consider concerning utilities or other when leaving France.

What are the conditions for leaving France?

Leaving France to travel to a country in the European Area (EU Member States, Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland) is strongly discouraged but there are no restrictions.

Any travel from France to a country outside the European space  is prohibited except for compelling reasons of a personal or family nature (death of a direct-line family member, participation in a university exchange programme, order to present oneself to a judicial or administrative authority...), health reasons (vital medical emergency) or professional reasons (missions indispensable for continuation of an economic activity, requiring a physical presence which cannot be postponed ...) or if you are travelling to your country of origin or residence

You will need to fill out and carry an exempted international travel certificate.

If your time of departure requires you to leave your place of residence during the curfew, you must carry an exempted movement certificate.

Water, gas & electricity

Even if providers generally suggest easy ways to end your contract by phone, it is safer to signal your wish to end it in writing.

Write to the customer service of your provider or to its local office by registered letter. Don’t forget to mention the statement of gas or electricity consumption at the time of the letter This measure will allow you to prove your sending and the level of consumption .

Do not hesitate to ask the provider to confirm the end of your contract and to come and read the meter.

The provider will send you within several days the ending invoice, taking into account the statement of consumption you mentioned if the meter hasn’t been read. The final invoice will state if there is an outstanding payment.

Good to know: Generally, providers will send you a cheque if you paid too much. As it may cost you an important fee to cash a cheque abroad, if your French bank account doesn’t remain open, insist on a bank transfer. More information on French checks in our article on payment methods in France.


When every other step has been made, your final bills have been paid and when you do not need your French bank accounts anymore, think about closing them. To do so you can either set up an appointment with your banker or send him a registered letter with all the documents showing that you are moving abroad. You will have to give back your payment means (check book, cards…) so always ask for a written confirmation, even if you close your bank account at the counter. Besides, do not forget to communicate the IBAN and SWIFT (BIC) numbers of your new bank account so that the remaining sum on your French bank account will be transferred to your new bank account.

You have left France some time ago and are wondering if there is money left on an inactive account?

Since 2014, the CICLADE website allows you to find out whether you have sums left in inactive accounts.  An account is considered inactive under 2 conditions:

  • The absence of transactions on the account for 12 consecutive months, except those initiated by the bank (collection of fees, payments of interest, etc.). Only frozen accounts, by court order for example, are an exception.
  • The lack of manifestation of the account holder (or his legal representative) towards the bank during these 12 consecutive months. He/she must also not have carried out transactions on another account opened in his/her name in the same agency.

This 12-months period is extended to 5 years for savings accounts, term accounts and securities accounts, for example.

Further information in French.


Credit cards

Your credit card companies need to be informed you're moving. Also, you should check if your French credit card will be widely accepted abroad.

Post redirection

Post offices propose to redirect your mail towards your new address abroad. This service can be subscribed for a duration of 6 months or of one year. Fees vary. Please note that the following correspondences will not be redirected: goods, mail with Declared Value as well as mail with the mention “Ne pas faire suivre”. To subscribe to this service go to your post office or on the internet.

Telephone & internet

How to terminate your landline phone and internet contracts, can be found in our article on communication.


Facts on taxes, social security and social allowances in a nutshell.


You must inform your tax centre that you are moving and give them your new address in order your tax declarations to be transferred to your new address. For information on the remaining residence tax, check out our article on renting in France.

The Social Security

Inform the Social Security office to which you are affiliated. If you wish to unsubscribe of the French Social Security do not forget to send back your “Carte Vitale”. In any case, it will be necessary for you to communicate your new address.

Social allowances

If you benefit from social allowances for your flat etc. you have to inform the public body which gives you this allowance. If you unduly go on perceiving these allowances, you can be held legally liable.

Invoices, certificates, forms and other daily papers... What documents should you keep and for how long ?

You’re leaving France to settle in another country. During your daily life in France you have accumulated a pile of various documents and papers. Documents to keep carefully if you live in France.