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Harder being an expat in 1980s

It is easy these days to move to France from the UK. We came over 21 years ago and there was very much more involved

IT IS easy these days to move to France from the UK. We came over 21 years ago and there was very much more involved.

In the first place, we had to get a visa, and I remember having to fight our way through a crowd to get into the embassy in London. It was about to close its doors and people had been waiting a long time to get in. They would not believe we had an appointment. Even the guard on the door was sceptical until he deigned to read the appointment letter that I had to wave under his nose.

Other things were not a real problem, just a nuisance. There always seemed to be something else to apply and pay out for: health insurance, the identity card and changing to a French driving licence.

We even had to go for an X-ray and full medical before they would allow us to stay in the country, at a cost of 90 francs each. We were a bit peeved when this examination was scrapped shortly after our arrival.

I am sure the odd hiccup will still arise for newcomers today, but our experience is they can be easily sorted if you follow the rules. It might take a while, though, as some authorities work exceedingly slowly.

Sylvia COLLYER, by email

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