French nationality

Old May 24th, 2012, 11:17 PM
  #181  
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"I feel compelled to add my experiences here, though I’m not sure that katkat will listen."

Why wouldn't I listen?
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Old May 24th, 2012, 11:32 PM
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"I was only trying to suggest that you consider listening to people who might be closer to your own situation, and have had experience, rather than those who come from more advantageous situations…which is certainly not yours. ‘ Advantageous’ meaning they are French citizens or married to French citizens."

I listen to everyone who is kind enough to give me the benefit of their experience. I don't listen only to people whose experiences are similar to mine. Indeed, if I only listened to people in this forum whose experiences were similar to my own, I would be listening to very few people. Certainly, StCirq's experiences have been nothing like mine. Her situation is not close to mine, at all. That doesn't mean she can't give helpful advice, but it's not helpful to lard one's advice with snark, sarcasm, condescension, and just plain nastiness.

"I think I understand that you spent 3 weeks in France in 1978 and now you want to move there for the rest of your life."

Actually, no, your understanding does not at all correspond to what I want, or what I have written here. It's an overly simplistic understanding of what I've written here about my lifelong dream. If you decide to come back, and have time to carefully read the entire thread (which I think you said you had not read in its entirety), you might get a less distorted view of what I've been saying here.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 11:39 PM
  #183  
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"I, too, think your plan is unrealistic and very ill-advised at this time."

Other people have said this and I have agreed that they are probably right. I could not pick up and leave for France tomorrow regardless of whether I wanted to. I don't have the money for an airline ticket. I don't have permission to be in the country for more than 3 months. I haven't found a place to live that I can afford. So whatever it is that you think my "plan" is, it's not happening "at this time."

But is it okay if I still talk about it here?
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Old May 24th, 2012, 11:47 PM
  #184  
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"I really think you should slow down and make some interim plan – find a vacation home in Paris that you can afford and live there for two months."

That is just as unrealistic as my moving to France tomorrow for the rest of my life. I cannot afford a "vacation home." And even if I made the kind of swap a few people here have suggested, and which I initially thought could be a great idea, I would still have to pay the rent on the apartment I currently live in, and if I do that, then I no longer have any money to fly to France or stay in a vacation home.

Bottom line, I strain to understand why some people continue to believe I plan to chuck my apartment and fly to France tomorrow, or next week, when many others here have already brought me down to earth. It's almost like some people -- especially posters who are new to this thread like yourself -- are replying after having read the last two or three comments without at least scanning what came before that.

Honestly, it's making me feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland fallen down the rabbit hole.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 12:05 AM
  #185  
 
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"That might not be true, because as FrenchMystique told me, I could always marry Kerouac."

This is going to be a huge disappointment, I know, ) but marrying a French citizen does not make you French. You have to fill in a number of conditions and wait for a minimum of 4 years after marriage to apply for French nationality.
My next door neighbour married a Peruvian girl in Lima. She had to wait a few months to get a visa and be able to join her husband in France. She got one for one year and will have to ask for yearly renewal.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 12:16 AM
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Hi again,

I am new to responding to this thread, but I have been reading and following it for some days. So, no, I am not new to the thread.

You say that you realize you cannot fly to France tomorrow, nor can you stay for 1-3 months.

So, if I may ask, what are your plans? You keep saying it is your dream, you acknowledge that it's not feasable, so what do you hope/plan/think to do next?

s
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Old May 25th, 2012, 01:22 AM
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A new very difficult written and spoken language test was introduced last year by France to qualify for French citizenship, or permanent residency for non EU citizens. Few non native French speakers would probably be able to pass it, as was no doubt intended!
EU citizens can retire at State retirement age to another EU country, as there is a reciprocol agreement between EU countries that the EU citizen retiree country of origin will pay their new EU country of residence for their health care. No such agreement exists with the USA.
When considering moving to another country as a retiree, one of the main considerations should be health care and if an American citizen retiree moves to France on a long stay visa, it is no longer possible for them to join the French health care system. This means you would be totally reliant on very expensive private health insurance, would not have medicare and if you have any form of existing medical condition might find medical insurance impossible to obtain. Without private health insurance you cannot get a long stay visa and if you allowed your cover to drop, you would not be able to renew your visa.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 01:36 AM
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I will add another point to consider when one is living on a fixed income in a foreign currency.

My parents retired to France in 1972 after going through the full process for American citizens (if only my mother had realized that her French citizenship was still valid!). They had a pretty good pension and my parents had American military health coverage that they could get by going to an American base in Germany for any serious matter. They also had the capital from the house they sold in the U.S. Anyway, their new life had various ups and downs -- big frustrations such as swandav pointed out -- but also a lot of joy.

But in 1980, they decided that they had to move back to the U.S. because the rate of the dollar was so low that it was frightening -- so don't forget that even the variations of the exchange rate must be taken into consideration. (Unfortunately, by the time they managed to sell their French home in early 1981, the dollar had soared again, but it was too late to change their mind.)
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Old May 25th, 2012, 02:41 AM
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'A new very difficult written and spoken language test was introduced last year by France to qualify for French citizenship, or permanent residency for non EU citizens. Few non native French speakers would probably be able to pass it, as was no doubt intended!'

In fact, if you want more information about the test, you can find it on http://www.ciep.fr/tcf/document/manuel_candidat.PDF
In French of course. I am a non-native French speaker (although I have lived her for 18 years, studied hard, and love languages)and answered the sample questions correctly, but I can see that it's not easy.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 02:48 AM
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Oh jeez, I'm repeating myself now... time to retire!
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Old May 25th, 2012, 03:00 AM
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If you want to take the test:
http://www.tv5.org/cms/chaine-franco...ccueil-TCF.htm

The simple questions are, well, simple enough but the 'comprehension écrite" part is indeed tricky (French is my mother-tongue).
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Old May 25th, 2012, 03:21 AM
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Yes, the family member who's VISA took two years to finally get approved, had to take that comprehension/oral test. There were several other tests he had to complete too. I was allowed to go with him, but not allowed to help him. He spoke French prior to arriving, so had no problem, but I can see how people with little or no - or even only conversational French might have issues.

Katkat - it sounds to me that you realize and accept the fact that moving to France is not going to happen in the next couple of years (maybe never). It sounds to me like you have a goal to work towards - save money, study French and read, read, read and read more about France. If you're able to work in a visit, great so be it. Determine what private health cover costs and remember when planning the cost of living do not forget each year when you renew your carte de sejour to include the cost of financial stamps - required at renewal each year. They stamps cost anywhere from 130 to 350 euros.

Just to add, I had many similar experiences as swandav. My first couple of years were frightening. Serious things happened and I had a hard time dealing with the 'way things work' and the language. My daughter's nose was broken in school the first year we arrived. I was still learning the language and dealing with that - insurance (French school insurance), hospitals (no English spoken), completing claim forms (in French), pharmacies (no English spoken) was very hard. All kinds of situations along these lines kept coming up.

We shipped a car over here from the USA. That turned out to be one of my greatest challenges. The paperwork, phone calls, etc. to get the car immatriculated to France was nothing short of a nightmare. I had to pick that car up in Le Havre (no English spoken) and the forms, questions, etc. were almost impossible for me.

I mention these things (and there were thousands more) because they can have a negative impact on your life. Just dealing with banks (no English spoken) can be quite a challenge and it is such an important part of your life here.

So, keep learning your French. When you get here, whether for a holiday or for a year to live - or forever, it will be the greatest gift you could give yourself.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 03:51 AM
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StCirq - yes, that was my question. I was just wondering if having payed any type of taxes to France would have been an advantage.

katkat - it seems then that there are several paths open to you, each with advantages and disadvantages. The first is to stay in the US, either where you are or move to a less expensive US region than NJ. You will be medicare eligible in a few years or perhaps the administration's health care plan may come to fruition before that. Either will help with your health insurance costs. By the way, I am assuming that you are healthy. I you have a pre-existing condition that makes it impossible to find a private health insurer, there are states such as Maryland that offer state options where health insurance is made available at an affordable price for such people.
A second option is to pick up and move to France or other country without a prolonged stay at first with the hope that things will work out and without the benefits that citizenship affords. As you realize, this is a gamble.
A third is to move to a country where the cost of living and health care are low and where you can be a legal resident.
A fourth is to move to a country where you would get citizenship and social supports.
All of these choices have variables that are personal in nature and only you would know which would fit you the best. The advice received on this forum is a start, but only that. In any case, I wish you well.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 07:17 AM
  #194  
 
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What keeps getting over looked, is that it is no longer possible to move to France permanently unless you either marry an EU citizen, qualify through parentage, or have a highly specialised job skill on an approved government list and are sponsored by your employer, who must prove they have been unable to find an EU citizen able to do the job.
Senior inter comnpany transferees can get a visa to work in France if sponsored by their existing employer, but these are temporary. As is the non working long stay visa for retirees, which you will not get unless you can pass a medical, obtain comprehensive private medical insurance and demonstrate sufficient means not to need to work, which are much more demanding than the past.
National governments including the USA don't want retiree immigrants, unless they are wealthy, as they are seen as a potential liability on their social security and health systems, which are already stretched to the limit.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 07:55 AM
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I did not read all the replies just above (sorry, just got home) but I see my husband's name mentioned a lot even though he did not contribute to this thread so just a couple of clarifications:

1) I, like others, explained that the OP's chances of getting a long stay visa are close to 0% and we explained why, which she perfectly understood and accepted despite her understandable disappointment.

2) French Mystique (my husband) is not a citizen through marriage. He is just not a French citizen at all, just a US citizen. As Pvoyageuse pointed out, marriage doesn't give you anything automatically. It just makes the process of applying for a visa easier. He had to apply for a long stay visa for spouses of French national and once in France had to attend classes and take tests to get his resident card. He has a yearly resident card which needs to be renewed every year. It is not free and requires a lot of paperwork each time. We were married 6 years before he moved to France and he was denied French citizenship when he applied for it in Boston in 2009 because his French language skills were not deemed sufficient at the time. They have improved since we moved here so he may apply again if he wants. Despite all the hassle, spouses cannot on principle get the visa denied unless there is a strong suspicion of fraud.

As I explained to Katkat, the only way she could hope to get a long stay visa easily is if she was married to a French citizen. That's when I made a joke about her marrying kerouac. Hasn't he proposed yet?
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Old May 25th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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"What keeps getting over looked, is that it is no longer possible to move to France permanently unless you either marry an EU citizen, qualify through parentage, or have a highly specialised job skill on an approved government list and are sponsored by your employer, who must prove they have been unable to find an EU citizen able to do the job."

If this is true, I'm not sure how the our dossier was approved (opened in 2008, approved in 2010). It took forever, but the person applying was not married to an EU citizen, not the child of an EU parent and not arriving (or applying for a specialized work VISA.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 08:06 AM
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Katkat, thanks for starting this thread. I always enjoy a moving-to-France thread, because everybody chimes in with different advice. Lots of us have had the same dream, and some of the people giving you advice have actually made it happen. I encourage you to keep going after your dream, with modifications.

My best thought for you is that you save up enough for an exploratory trip to France of several weeks' duration. Don't go just to Paris. Go to smaller cities and small towns as well. Go when the weather is good and do all the fun stuff a tourist would do, but at the same time be checking out the cost of apartments, transportation, food, and other daily needs. Look for opportunities for the future you to get involved in local life, not just in expat circles. See if there's enough local entertainment for somebody on a low budget. Consider whether you could get along without a car.

To keep costs down as you travel, you can do wwoofing–but you do have to commit to working, and the farms may be hard to get to without a car. You can stay in hostels; take public transportation; and pick up food inexpensively in boulangeries, street markets, and grocery stores. Travel as light as you can and be open to meeting people, which it sounds like you are.

In the meantime, I have a suggestion for improving your French comprehension, the journal en francais facile. You can listen to, and read, the latest news in simple French.

http://www.rfi.fr/radiofr/podcast/jo...caisFacile.xml

If you have time on your hands (or can make time), there are plenty of blogs written by Americans, British, and Australians now living in France to give you a taste of what it’s like to be an expat.

Best of all, to me, are the photo reports kerouac and FMT do on another website. They show what a beautiful and fascinating country France is.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 08:06 AM
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Copperandjade,

You did not read my replies. I am one of those (like St-Cirq, Pvoyageuse and a few others) who said katkat could NOT move to France in the present conditions.

The answer of mine she liked had nothing to do with getting a visa, but with finding free accommodation in France if she wants to visit for less than 90 days. After her initial disappointment when she accepted the fact that moving here was close to impossible given her situation, she was happy to see there was a possibility to stay here for a few weeks that was within her limited financial means.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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However, do not forget the fact that we have just changed government again and that all of the rules are likely to change once more. Already, the rules regarding foreign students in France are going to change by decree even before the legislative elections, because the Sarkozy rules were abominably xenophobic.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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I have a couple suggestions which are probably obvious, but they haven't been mentioned, so here goes.

First, someone said you would be eligible for Medicare in a few years, even though you are already on Medicare and get SS due to some disability. I don't know what that disability is, but obviously one can read and write (and intends to learn French fluently), so it would seem that perhaps one could get a job to earn some money instead of just relying on a SS check. I thought you could earn up to a certain amount, perhaps from a part-time job) before losing some of your SS check. There are jobs out there that are not physical, if that is the disability, plenty of them. And a lot of employers want to hire part-timers nowadays to avoid paying benefits. I have a relative who has a part-time job like that to supplement income, it's a phone job (mystery shopper), there are jobs like that around. I know both SSDI and SSI have some programs where you can earn some money without losing benefits. I think you can up to around $500 a month on SSDI.

Second, the idea that one should wait a few years to see if COLA is going to increase your check a lot isn't necessary. COLA is related to the CPI and you can just look at the trend over the last decade or so and you know it isn't going to be more than 2-3 percent per year on average. It could even be lower if the CPI doesn't change much.
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