Hindsight is 20/20: Your birth certificate

When moving to France, no matter what country you are from or what job you will be working, you will be required to have your birth certificate and not just a copy. You will need an original birth certificate to bring with you to France.

Before, all language assistants, including assistants from English speaking countries, were required to have their birth certificates translated and apostilled, a type of stamp that says that the certificate is officially official, like it’s super official. I’m still not sure that I fully understand what it is, but it’s a pretty important stamp.

However, now, at least American assistants don’t need it apostilled. I’m not sure as to whether or not language assistants from other countries need it apostilled. However, just to make sure, I would double-check this information, because I think it depends on the country you are from. You should be able to get this information from the information packet you were emailed or from the person in charge of your country’s assistants. It is also a wise idea to double check information, even if you are mostly sure.

Your birth certificate is important because…

  1. You need it for your visa
  2. You will need it to get access to CAF
  3. You will need it for OFII (Office Française de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration)
  4. You will need it for your assurance maladie, la Sécu
  5. You might need it for housing
  6. You might need it for opening a bank account 

So, first things first, locate your birth certificate. 

Secondly, you will need to order another official/original birth certificate from the county in which you were born because the French government requires that you have a birth certificate that is less than one year old and so that you have one to take with you to France and one to leave back home with your parents. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Unsure how to go about doing this? Vital Check is a great website where you can order new official copies of many different records, including your birth certificate.

Now, you will have to pay a fee to order your new official birth certificate, and then you will need to pay for the shipping. You will have the option to mail your new official birth certificate through the regular postal service, but I strongly advise against this. You do not want to take any chances. So, I would suggest that you pay the extra money to have it mailed to you via the other express mail options, such as UPS or FedEx.

Now, when you order your new official/original birth certificate, you will have the option to get it apostilled. If you are still unsure of whether or not it is required or if you are feeling paranoid about it, then you will have to pay an additional fee for this service. You can also do this through this same website.

Vital Check is very secure. It is the website that I used to order my birth certificate.

Make sure to order your birth certificate well in advance, especially if you plan on getting it translated before you leave. I ordered mine 3 to 4 months in advance (I honestly can’t remember exactly when at this point), and though I did not get my translated, if you feel more comfortable doing so, then you want to consider that when you order it.

Thirdly, if you want, get your birth certificate translated. I would definitely double-check the requirements in terms of your birth certificate before you leave for France if you are from an English-speaking country. However, I didn’t have my translated, and it ended up being fine. However, if you are not from an English-speaking country or if you were not born in an English-speaking country, then you will have to have your birth certificate translated.

Now, you can either get your birth certificate translated before you leave for France, which is what I suggest so that you don’t have to stress about it once you move to a new country, or you can have it translated in France.

There are many, many birth certificate translation services available. You can just simply google ”birth certificate translation into French”, and you will get a variety of websites that will come up. If you decide to get your birth certificate translated in France, check out this list of translators available in France that I found online.

Lastly, make copies of your birth certificate. Even though you will need the official one to show in France, it is always wise to have copies, because you never know what can happen while living abroad.

Getting a new birth certificate is quite easy and hassle free, and unfortunately it is another expense in your journey abroad.

However, it is amongst one of the easiest things to check off your France to-do list.

I hope this helped, and I wish you good luck!

6 thoughts on “Hindsight is 20/20: Your birth certificate

  1. I would actually be very cautious about googling for a translator… for official documents, the translation usually needs to be done by an official French court translator (like the ones in the document you linked to) or it won’t be accepted. In this case, you might be better off just waiting until you get to France. I did and was very glad I did because once I was there, it turned out that I didn’t need a translated copy anyway, so I saved myself 50 or so euro! Certain regional consulates can also verify translations you do yourself!

    Thanks for compiling all these resources though 🙂 you are covering so many bases!


    1. Thank you for your input! I really appreciate it! Seeming how I didn’t get mine translated, I didn’t even really think about the fact that some companies that pop up in google might not be the best bet. So, thank you! Also, I try to be very detailed, because 1) I’m a detail-oriented person and 2) I remember how frustrated I was when I was preparing for TAPIF and how unsure I was of what I needed to do. I don’t want future TAPIF assistant or future expatriates in France to have to go through that.


  2. I’m learning more about the new TAPIF changes and things I’ll need to adapt in my “TAPIF tips” section! You’re very thorough !


    1. Oh good! I’m glad that it’s even helping people who have already been through the process! I’m definitely trying to cover all the grounds and to not forget even the tiniest details!

      Liked by 1 person

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