Arrival in Paris – hints

Tips and useful information for a new Inria member arriving from abroad:


1.  Housing

• While it is important to have a permanent address in order to fulfil many administrative tasks like opening a bank account and registering for health insurance, it is also possible to use in the beginning a provisional address. In this case, you can use an Airbnb statement of at least 4 weeks.

• If you have a provisional address and are looking for an apartment, you can search in dedicated websites such as


2. French phone number

You need to do many things for settling down; one important thing you need to do is get a French phone number. Every paperwork you will need to fill will ask you about a French number they can contact you at. There are several big phone companies for you to choose, such as Orange, Bouygues, or SFR. In order to get a number, you can simply go to one of the shops and you will need to bring:

•  proof of address

•  passport

Note: there are banks which also sell phone numbers. You can apply for the sim card and open a bank account (see 4.) simultaneously (e.g. the Bercy branch of CIC bank, 153 Rue de Charenton, 75012 Paris. The manager can speak perfect English)


3. Visa and residence card

If you need a visa to work in France, the first steps will need to be done before signing the contract with Inria. After you come to France, you will need to get a residence card (titre de séjour) typically of the same time validity as your work contract. If it is the first application for a residence card, you might need to go to OFII first ( The human resources department of Inria (SRH) can help you to get the specific information for your case and when it is time to prepare the paperwork for the Préfecture de Paris, they will send the application on your behalf, thus making the paperwork easier. For potential questions, you may also contact: Marion Cueille (


4. Opening a bank account

The next important thing for you to do is to open a bank account. There are a lot of banks for you to choose, e.g. Crédit Agricole (CA), BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Caisse d’Epargne (CE), Banque Populaire (BP), Crédit Mutuel, CIC, LCL  and so on. In general, to open the bank account you will need to bring:

•  your passport

•  certificate of your employment (the contract from Inria)

•  proof of address

•  French phone number

It is better to call the bank first to make an appointment with an account manager and then see the manager with the required documents. It may take about a week from opening the account to get your debit card. You will need your phone number to activate your account.


5. Arriving at Inria

• On the first day on the Inria site you will get your Inria access card. Please take your card to the security office and ask for the authorisation of the printing system of Inria. The security office is next to the reception desk.

• If you need help from an IT point of view, you can contact the IT service of Inria (DSI), for example, you can write to Julien Bunel (

• You will be required to do a medical check within the 15 days since you come to Inria. In general, you need to book with a local general practitioner-GP (médecin généraliste) on the document issued by Inria. There are several GPs around Inria. However, if you can not speak French, you can search for some GPs who can speak English and help you with the check. (e.g. Dr Robert Thebault, 45, rue de Montreuil, 75011, Paris) Please do remember to take the medical certificate with you and give it to the Doctor. After the check is finished, take the certificate back with you. (Or take a photo!)

You can also check on this website for other GP who might be closer to where you live, you can make an appointment online and also check through the website if they speak English or not.


6. Social security

If you have not worked in France or the EU before, then this process can take a while. For the new researchers (civil servant), you need to choose between MGEN and MGFEI. The optimal way to do the registration is to call one of the company and make an appointment to see the manager, then bring the essential documents including:

•  passport

•  bank account information (RIB)

•  certificate of employment (including the salary)

•  proof of address

After the registration, you still need to wait for them to contact you. You will also be asked for

• the certificate of birth translated in French by certified translators: you may find a translator and ask for the translation as a “dossier express” through this website

The latter is quite expensive (prices are about 60 euros per translated page), so perhaps wait until you are absolutely certain this is required. However, even if they require this type of translation, normally this is something you only need to do once. Then, you need to wait for your social security card to be delivered to your address, which can unfortunately take months. You can try to ask to be given you a provisional health number so that until the card is ready, you can still go to doctors and after filling some documents with the provisional number, you can get the refunds.


7. For PhD students

As a PhD student, you will need to enrol in a doctoral school who is attached to a university. It is through this system that you can get a degree after the thesis. Different Inria teams can be associated with different doctoral schools. If the doctoral school you will be associated with will be Sorbonne Université, please do check out the information in this website so you can register for the first time:

The first registration will take some time and paperwork, but the re-registration the following years of the PhD will be quasi-automatic. There is a fee you will need to pay each year, which will be of approximately 500 euros. Once the paperwork is done and the fee is paid, Sorbonne Université will send you your student ID. For questions, you can contact Jean-François Venuti (


8. Transportation in Paris

Depending on where you live and by which frequency you will need to use public transport, you may want to get a metro card (Navigo):

If you do get a Navigo card in order to commute from home to work, you can ask Inria to refund 50% of the price (if you are younger than 26 years old you can get a reduction on the normal price). For information you can go on the Inria intranet Portail RH, sign in (using Inria VPN if you are not at Inria) and:

                    Mes demandes -> Créer une demande -> Rémunération -> Demander le remboursement des frais de transport

then complete the form and send the request.


9. French courses

Inria offers a free French course for all team members. In general, you will receive the email from the HR department tells you the detail about the French course. (Courses are given for several levels: the beginner and advanced) In general, courses are organised with a small group with several people (no less than 2) in Inria 90 mins per week. However, courses are switched to online form during the lockdown. (Due to the Covid.)

Useful links and contacts:

1. If you have any questions, you can first try to search it through the intranet platform  Therein you will find the main tools such as:

•  contacting the human resources (Portail RH),

•  using your Inria mail (Zimbra),

•  using the days off (CASA),

•  declaring when you go on conferences (Portail Missions)

•  more generally for practical things, e.g. if a lightbulb doesn’t work in the office, you can ask for help (Helpdesk)

2. If you need help, you can also contact our team assistant Derya Gök (

3. See also:


Comments are closed.