This post is part of a series on how to plan a 2-3 month séjour in France. You might also find these posts helpful: How to Enroll your Kids in French Public School and How to Register for Summer Camps in France.
In order to enroll your child into a French public school, you will need to visit the local mairie (Town Hall). There are endless jokes and horror stories about French bureaucracy, so it's no surprise that this process provokes anxiety in most séjour families.
Let me put your mind at ease. No one I know has ever been denied admittance into a school because of incomplete paperwork if they did their homework ahead of time. The key is you absolutely must be in contact with the school before you arrive. If they are expecting you, they can usually tell you what paperwork is expected and the enrollment process should go smoothly. Below is a list of documents that are required. Your school and/or mairie (town hall) will likely require additional paperwork.
- Copies of birth certificates and passports. If your child is traveling without one or both of his parents, bring along a notarized letter of permission to travel with and be responsible for said child.
- Certificat de Radiation. This is a letter written by your current school (in the US), which basically states "This child is no longer being educated by us because they moved." Here's a copy of my child's Certificat de Radiation.
- Proof of address/temporary address. A rental agreement should work. In a small village, a letter from a landlord might also suffice.
- Vaccination records - they can be in English, but it’s helpful to have a rough translation. Here's a list of vaccination translations.
- Scholastic Insurance - MAE Assurance Scolaire is the main provider in most regions.
Still nervous? Find a French-speaking guardian angel to help you. They are worth their weight in gold!