A lot of times, people plan to move to France to scope out where they want to live, and think that they’re going to be able to travel around for a while and take their time finding a long-term address.
But finding a long-term address should be your number 1 priority when you first arrive on any kind of long-stay visa.
Mainly because you can’t do anything else useful without it.
You need a long-term address to register with OFII so you can be invited in for your medical visit and French test. Or, if you’re able to immediately request a carte de séjour, you’d need it for that.
Once you arrive and want to start setting up your life here, you’re going to be in constant search of the document called the “justificatif de domicile,” usually less than 3 months old, and that document is going to prove where you live. You’ll have to provide one to open a bank account, enroll your kids in school, and to do pretty much anything.
Plus, you’re supposed to notify the préfecture if you move, to change the address registered to your visa, which… you don’t want to do 17 times. If you look like a tourist, and act like a tourist, without a stable address, the préfecture can later determine that you don’t meet the residency requirements to renew your visa.
I always tell people to start as though they plan to stay forever, because getting set up correctly from the beginning will make everything soooo much easier if you want to stay.
You don’t need a full one-year lease at the time of your application, but you do need to secure one relatively quickly after you arrive. And we have resources for our clients to help you to do just that.