Guide for foreigners
Un article de Loria Wiki.
Living in any foreign country can be a daunting administrative experience. Here is a guide to the basic things you'll need to take care of when you get to LORIA.
- Get set up at the LORIA
- Get a bank account
- Give bank and other info to LORIA
- Get carte de séjour
- Get carte de travail
The whole thing is summarised in the flowchart below, but note that the flow chart may not be appropriate for your case! This is only valid if you are attending UHP university and have a contract with INRIA.
See below for the gory details:
You are going to be making an enormous amount of photocopies. One trick to optimise the process is to keep a folder containing photocopies of the most frequently asked documents. Then, whenever you need to produce some copies, all you have to do is make photocopies of your photocopies. The advantage is that (1) you can use the sheet feeder on the copy machine (2) you can file away your originals.
Things you'll likely want in this folder:
- passport - the first page
- your visa
- your most recent carte de sejour
- your student card and certificat de scolarité
- a RIB (bank account information, Relevé d'Identité Bancaire)
- a copy of your contract
- your carte de travail
Getting a bank account
Although international payment cards like VISA, Maestro are accepted in supermarkets, you can often get into a situation when only french cards (Carte Bleue) or checks are accepted (for example, university canteen or LORIA canteen). Creating bank account takes approximately a week, depending on a bank. When creating a card, a PIN code is sent separately by mail, so you need to have an address.
Resident Permit / Carte de séjour
You may apply for the Carte de séjour (staying visa) at:
- the Hotel de Police (38 boulevard Lobau, map)
- the Préfecture (rue Sainte-Catherine, near Place Stanislas)
and for students:
The process can be somewhat annoying. It consists of
- Going to the Hotel de Police (or Pôle Univesitaire Européen) to request a rendez-vous for making an application. Here, you will receive a list of the documents that they want
- Preparing your documents
- For photos: just use one of those booths that you see in supermarkets. Note that hotel de police asks for the format where you get 4 photos on one sheet. You should also invest in a set of thumbnail photos (16 to a sheet) because there are many less important identity cards to be made, and for those cards, the smaller, cheaper photos are acceptable.
- If you are a PhD student then you apply for a /carte de séjour mention "étudiant"/ and you will need "certificat de scolarité". you should ask Nadine Beurné (B 238) for that. Also, you are usually required to supply some "justification de ressources financières". If you are lucky and you already know that you will have la bourse for the PhD, you can also ask the document certifying that.
- Arriving at your appointment (usually three months later), where you present all the requested documents.
- Waiting for some time and then returning to the HdP to pick up your récépissé which serves as a temporary document indicating that you have made the request for a carte de séjour
- Waiting for some time and then returning to the HdP (a fourth trip! joy!) to pick up the real deal. If you are lucky, the entire process will have taken 6 months, for a card that lasts 1 year (i.e. another 6 months).
Hint: You probably don't have to get into all this trouble if you're an EU citizen (but it will take a few trips to HdP to find out).
Carte de travail
You are required to get a carte de travail, even if you are a (PhD) student. Compared to everything else, this is relatively painless!
Things you'll need:
- A copy of your contract
Where to go:
- The DDTE(FP) (*) is at Les Nations (map), and is walking distance from the LORIA:
Meurthe-et-Moselle Centre d'affaires des Nations 23, boulevard de l'Europe BP 219 54506 Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy Cedex Tél. : 03 83 50 39 00 Fax : 03 83 57 66 38
(*) The French language, with its profusion of prepositions, determiners and 4 syllable words is rather conducive to acronyms: DDTEFP = Directions départementales du Travail, de l'Emploi et Formation Professionelle)
The ideal situation is that you get this green thing called a Carte Vitale which makes life extremely simple: you go to the doctor, pay him/her and hand over the Carte Vitale so that to get automatically reimbursed in the near future. Life isn't always so simple though:
- The health insurance people will mostly like want your carte de travail (see above).
- Your "payment centre" and "mutuelle" (these are two different things) are likely to be the MGEN.
- If you use a different given name other than what is on your birth certificate, be prepared for the entire system to come to a crashing halt for at least a year. The more proofs and justifications you can supply, the better
- If for some reason or another, you do not received your Carte Vitale in $X (three?) months, you should begin to worry. Go see the MGEN.
Phone number: 03 83 50 49 48
Address: see also map
7 rue Jacquard 54500 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy
Note that during the months of August and September, they will most likely NOT answer the phone. The best bet is to visit them directly. Take the bus 114 from Vélodrome to stop (FIXME: what stop? it's on the map, though)
Housing insurance / Assurance d'habitation
You can get your housing insurance through your bank. (Other options?) You will need the address of the place you plan on renting/buying before you can apply for it.
If you are a student, another option is the local MGEL, which seem to have a relatively low-cost offer, without any deductible.
There is an odd miracle in French (Nancien) administrivia: French tax officers actually read their e-mail. And they respond in a timely manner. The email address you are looking for is on your tax form. Use it!
Help us keeping these informations up-to-date by providing us feedbacks, adding courses or commenting them.
- At LORIA, Stéphanie Delvig <firstname.lastname@example.org> is organising some courses right here in LORIA, but they are for absolute beginners only. You can also ask to «Saïda MAMMERI - Chargée de formation - Bureau C305», who manages training at LORIA.
- At UHP, contact Patricia Erndt at email@example.com or Muriel Duval at firstname.lastname@example.org point u-nancy.fr (03 83 68 43 68)
- At Ecole des mines, CAFOL, the Centre d'Accueil et de FOrmation Linguistique
- At Université Nancy 2, this page exists in French and a somewhat approximative German, bad luck if you don't speak these. (cost around €300 - cheap by standards, apparantly)
- Get a television! This is likely one of the most useful linguistically motivated investments you can make. On the other hand, it's probably not very good for your productivity.
- Three critical online resources (I have these in my bookmark bar, do you?)
Finding a place to stay
French rental agency offer a dazzling array of codes and acronyms to describe the appartments and houses they have on offer. The one secret every foreigner needs to learn about these codes is that they do not actually mean anything!
In other words, there is no law stipulating what counts as an F1 and what counts as an F2.
Things to know from common practice, though:
- chambre - that's a room
- studio - single room, including kitchen corner, bathroom
- F1 - one bedroom
- F2 - two bedrooms
- FN - you get the picture
- T1..N - same as F1..N (T stands for type, whereas F stands for forme or fonction)
This information comes from the friendly librarians at the guichet du savoir.
Check out the ADIL 54 site . The ADIL is a government agency with the aim of providing a neutral source on information on all things housing-related, legal blah-blah, form letters (free! online! PDF!). These guys are friendly, knowledgeable and they even answer the phone (or you could just go see them). The weird thing is that they are completely invisible to Google unless you know to search for them. (This is information is from Mathieu, thanks!)
Payphones / Cabines téléphoniques
For general use, you can find cartes téléphoniques at any Tabac (general store). For long-distance calling, such as keeping in touch with family, you can get country-specific long-distance cards for much cheaper rates. The asian store at Vélodrome sells some of these. (I use Iradium to call the states. (jackie))
Cell, mobile phones / Téléphones portables
- Orange (France Télécom)
Land Lines / Lignes fixes
- France Télécom
This can get tricky, especially if you want internet (but do note that some ADSL providers offer free phone calls to the USA and some EU countries)
Phone cards can be purchased at any photocopy store. I'm not sure what the the relation is between the three, but photocopy stores in Nancy (France? the world?) tend to offer photocopying services, internet access, and phone cards for sale.
- Eagle Télécom seems to offer some cheap phone cards. 7€50 gets you a 12 month card.
- Kphonecard.com seems to offer prepaid phone cards, €0.018/min call from France to USA.
- Modern calling cards such us Continental calling cards get you additional communication service, help you get calls cheaper and aloow you will more mobility.
- Those traveling from the USA to France can find reliable France phone cards at SpeedyPin.com. I did notice that they offer a guarantee on purchases made from their website.
You'll need to cancel a few things three-months before you leave:
- electricity service
- telephone or mobile
- bank account
- housing insurance
- ARGH! I forgot my 3 month préavis!
- For moving out of your apartment, if your work contract ends when you are leaving, the préavis can be reduced to one month. So perhaps you are not too late (or in the worst case, you pay an extra month of rent)
- If you forgot to cancel your housing insurance before the standard 2 month period, there may still be hope! Two weeks before the automatic renewal of your contract, they will send you a letter notifying you that your contract will begin anew and for which amount. This is where you intervene. You have 20 days starting from the date the letter was sent to respond, saying that in accordance with the loi Chatel (it is imperative that you mention this), you will not be renewing your contract.
To book a flight, you might consider going to a travel agency or shopping online. When shopping online, you'll discover that most of the sites require you to leave from the US, which is not what you are looking for. Try the following sites instead: