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Within the EU, for EU nationals, there is a right to freedom of movement, which (slightly simplified) means you can visit, live and work in any other EU country. Depending on the country you go to, you can't always just rock up and stay there without doing anything, as there are things like Directive 2004/38/EC which means that in some countries, you may have to register. (There's also the whole tax thing that gets involved if you stay too long, but that's a different question!)

As an EU national, if I move to France, what are the rules about registering? Specifically, how long do I have to do it, where do I go, and what do I have to take with me when I go?

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As of 2014, a “carte de séjour” is not required for EU citizens. Straight from the horse's mouth (see also service-public.fr):

Il n'est pas soumis à l'obligation de détenir de titre de séjour, ni une autorisation de travail mais, s'il le souhaite, un titre de séjour lui est délivré.

Beyond that, there is no blanket registration system in France (i.e. locals don't have to report anywhere when moving, unlike many other EU countries) so no need to do anything (but obviously taxes and health insurance will require some paperwork too).

It also mean than when you move, you have to take care of reporting your new address to the different parts of the administration yourself. There is a useful service on service-public.fr that can be used to inform the tax office, big utilities, the social security/pension/welfare organizations and the department in charge of motor vehicles of your new address all at once but unfortunately, it's only available if you are moving within France.

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I moved to France back in 2003. Based on this I asked a question where in the EU, EU citizens need a resident permit. Back in 2003 I didn't need to do anything other then a local. My Dutch identification papers were considered equal to the French papers. This isn't the case in my current country of resident (Belgium) where I am obliged to cary a resident permit.

The best source for detailed information is the city hall. I went to l'hotel de ville in Paris, Place de l'Hôtel de ville. If you are located in Paris, for the location alone I would recommend going there. There is a specific department dealing with administration for foreigners, ask for “info de carte de sejour”.

Be aware that the response are not always “customer friendly”, but if you can see through the rudeness of the civil servant in question, the information provided is quite accurate.

If you are renting a place in France you also might want consult the CAF. They provide the “aide personnalisée au logement” or APL. This is a subsidy on renting. Not everybody is eligble, but they check if all requirements for foreigners are met. The added benefit of going to the CAF is that you might end up with some financial help in paying your rent.

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    Paris is unique as it's both a municipality and a département and it's administered differently than the rest of France (the mayor actually has less power than other mayors in some area). The usual place for everything related to residence for non-nationals is the préfecture. In many small towns (and don't forget France has a lot of tiny municipalities compared to other EU countries) I suspect people at the town hall will have no idea what the rules are. – Gala Mar 13 '14 at 10:25
  • @GaëlLaurans that makes sense. Does the same apply on CAF, is that a unique situation in Paris as well? – Andra Mar 13 '14 at 10:31

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