French nationality

May 19th, 2012, 11:55 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Thanks, V.

Sounds like this will be a bit complicated. I have an Irish passport, so I assume I can just get a carte de séjour and settle in? I wouldn't have French income, at least not at the start. I'd keep getting income from my current sources in the USA (and Canada and occasionally elsewhere, but for the time being, not France). I'd pay U.S. taxes. I would qualify for French health insurance (at presumably a lower rate than the God-awful amount I pay here) - is that right?

SO would apply for a long-term visa, get a carte de séjour, continue HIS work with his U.S. clients, which the French would like because he could show he could support himself. We'd also together be able to show that we owned property (a house) in France, which I assume would be to our benefit.

Am I getting this at least partly right?

BTW, I AM researching the French laws through the consulate, etc. It's just sometimes simpler to absorb it through people on the ground who've done it.

Apart from that, we'd have other financial resources to show them we can support ourselves, too.

Thanks to all.
StCirq is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 12:19 PM
  #22  
 
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My understanding of the system here - having been almost thrown out when the changes were made, is that you have to work/have worked here. So, even Europeans who have worked, for instance in Britain, but come here before retirement age, can not join the system for 5 years. Then they should be resident, with indication that they pay taxes here, so that payment is based on their taxable income.

If you have retired here from another European country, then there is a system of transfer payments so that you are covered, and your home country picks up the cost. But for non-Europeans this doesn't apply.

There is a lot of information on this in various expat site, mostly aimed at Brits, but some are useful in generally explaining the system.

There are many private companies now offering insurance to 'etrangers.'

I was lucky enough to have worked in neighbourhood schools, and contributed to the system, and so qualify now as a retired person.

Perhaps the new 'kinder gentler' government may change the system, but since it is heavily in debt, I wouldn't count on it, My suspicion is that any changes would be for French residents.
Carlux is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 12:21 PM
  #23  
 
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'How to get into the system'
http://www.frenchentree.com/fe-healt...e.asp?ID=18851
Carlux is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 12:29 PM
  #24  
 
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StCirq,

As a US national coming to France without French employment you are not entitled to French health insurance, you would have to buy your own.

As an Irish citizen however things could be different but I know nothing about the process for EU nationals to move to a member state so I cannot help with that unfortunately.

Must go now to run an errand but if I find out more I will let you know. I agree with Carlux to check all the expat blogs and sites aimed at UK and Irish people.
FrenchMystiqueTours2 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 12:46 PM
  #25  
 
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" I would qualify for French health insurance (at presumably a lower rate than the God-awful amount I pay here) - is that right?"

No. You'd have to have your own health insurance.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 12:55 PM
  #26  
 
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There's a lot of misinformation floating around here, not surprising as it is all very difficult, confusing and constantly changing.

katkat, it is great to post on here to get a feel for what's required for French residency but the only valid source of information is from the French consulate closest to your US residence. As mentioned above, requirements include adequate income to be self-supporting and health insurance coverage but nowhere (that I could find) are details given i.e. a specific amount of income or a certain level of insurance. We have private US insurance which pays 80/20 after $1,000. We have not found this onerous, as Kerouac said, routine charges are very low, 23€ for a GP appointment, for example.

I entered France without a long term visa as my husband is a UK passport holder. However, within three months of entering France I had to apply for a carte de séjour and present proof of income, insurance, etc. At his age 65, my husband and I can join the French health system off the bat of his 30+ contributions to the UK health system, reciprocal agreement.

St Cirq, my understanding is that if you become a permanent resident of France, you are expected to declare your worldwide income by filing yearly French tax returns (we do). You also have to file US income tax but due to a tax treaty between France and the US, you may or may not owe US tax. If you are over 65, you can join the health system (I think) but you may have to pay cotisations.

Your Irish passport provides the right to residence and to work, but not automatically to health insurance or any other benefits. I have many English friends who have been surprised by this. I would talk to a tax consultant who handles ex-pat taxes.

My view is very simplistic, we have fairly straight forward incomes and investments and have declared France as our principle residence.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 01:19 PM
  #27  
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Re Veronique's comment about proving sufficient income: Translating my current monthly SSD check into euros, would 1,093 euros a month be considered sufficient income for purposes of getting the long stay visa?
katkat1950 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 01:29 PM
  #28  
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"katkat, it is great to post on here to get a feel for what's required for French residency but the only valid source of information is from the French consulate closest to your US residence."

Absolutely, and I actually *have* been doing a lot of research at the consulate (New York) and looking at expat blogs, doing some research on housing costs in Paris, etc., etc. As StCirq said, it's helpful to also have a "live" (sort of, almost) source of immediate information from people who have been through similar situations. It's the human touch, interacting with actual people in addition to web sites.

Which gives me another opportunity to say how happy I am I found this place. There is such a wealth of information and support here -- truly wonderful to have this forum as a source of help.
katkat1950 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 01:34 PM
  #29  
 
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<>

Yup, I got that bit, as I stated above. Not expecting any benefits and won't be surprised by any of that.

Thanks for the explanations, all. I'm in the process of selling my house in France right now and feel awash in the French bureaucracy already; this just adds another layer. Fortunately, I can negotiate quite adequately in, and read, French - it must be a really tough row to hoe for those who can't....or an expensive one.
StCirq is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 01:46 PM
  #30  
 
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katkat1950,

There is no set figure but most agree that you need +/- 2000 euros a month to be considered self-sufficient. But someone can come with half of that or even no monthly income at all if they have the money in a savings account.

The thing is the visa is initially granted for only a year's residence so as long as between your income and your savings you have 24,000 euros it is likely the visa would be granted. Your situation is then reassessed yearly when you apply for the carte de séjour (residence permit) renewal.

Lower income can also be compensated by proving you have low expenses in France: for instance free housing through a friend or relative.
FrenchMystiqueTours2 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 01:47 PM
  #31  
 
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30+ years
Cathinjoetown is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 01:54 PM
  #32  
 
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"Translating my current monthly SSD check into euros, would 1,093 euros a month be considered sufficient income for purposes of getting the long stay visa?"

Probably. There is no fixed amount. Each case is reviewed separately. Bear in mind that the minimum monthly salary in France is €1.398 and that once you've paid rent, taxes, food, utilities etc... you won't have a lot of spending money left.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 02:19 PM
  #33  
 
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katkat,

Your ss income may or may not be too low, but, as Mystique said, savings would also be taken into account.

In real terms, given costs today, that amount is low if it is meant to cover housing in addition to all other monthly expenses. But, much is dependent on where in France you choose to live. And, while at present the euro is down against the dollar, that can and has changed overnight so that is an dded consideration.

St cirq, sorry I misunderstood what you wrote. I am not sure what health cover cotisations you would pay, I think roughly 4% to 12% of your income, depending on level of income, after all allowances. This is what I meant by difficult because if you declare the house you will own in France as your principal residence, you are expected to file income taxes in France, on which the cotisations are then based to receive a carte vitale. Perhaps there is a way around this, but I know of none. Let me know what you find out!

Regarding translations, we are proficient enough not to have had to use a translator other than when required to have documents translated and stamped by a traducteur assermenté. This runs about 30€ per page.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 02:49 PM
  #34  
 
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StCirq, where is your house in France? A naive question: why is there so much bureaucracy in selling a house? Is it because you are not a French native?
Tentek is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 02:55 PM
  #35  
 
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@kerouac, why did your mother not know whether she was still a valid French citizen?

I think that when my mother was naturalized (obligatory to become a teacher), there was something about "renouncing" one's citizenship to become an American citizen. In those days, people did not realize that other countries do not give a flying f**k about American rules and that whatever you have promised the U.S. authorities has no validity in the real world. Many countries have decreed that citizenship is "unrenounceable."

And since my parents moved to France long before the internet existed, it was not super easy to find out such things.
kerouac is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 03:15 PM
  #36  
 
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Tentek, my house is in....drum roll...St-Cirq (full name St-Cirw-du-Bugue) in the Périgord. I've had it for almost 20 years. And no, the amount of bureaucracy to wade through has nothing to do with me not being a French national. It's just the way the system in France works.
First I needed to dig up my divorce property settlement and get an "official translation" of it, even though I could do a decent job of that myself (not a translator but have decades of study and use of French), to prove that I am now the sole owner of the house. Then to find tbe original acte d'achat (which is inside the house in France, where I am not at the moment) which involved lengthy calls and emails back and forth to the original notaire who handled the sale of the house. Then you put the house on the market and wait for a promesse d'achat, which involves all kinds of paperwork; then you negotiate with the potential buyer, and only when you arrive at a final price does he/she put down 10% of the agreed-upon price, which goes into an escrow account, which takes about 10 days; then the buyer has 3 months to finally agree to buy, or not and lose his 10%. All the while, the house must be inspected and so on and so forth, all involving tons of paperwork. When/if the buyer agrees to buy you have to meet and sign a compromis. Then you have to go to the equivalent of closing. You have to find a mortgage company, a royal PITA if you're not French (actually, in my case it was easy - the notaire just said "here, use these guys," BUT still had to get pay stubs and tax returns and company financial records translated...bla bla bla...). You have to open a French bank account. And there are several "alternative" type of purchases that get even more complicated. Etc., etc., etc.
This time around I'll be familiar with the process, and will be paying in cash so won't need a mortgage. Should be easier in many respects. Although actually, with the help of a notaire and knowing the language, buying the place in St-Cirq was easier than buying either of the two houses I've purchased in VA.
StCirq is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 03:29 PM
  #37  
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"The thing is the visa is initially granted for only a year's residence so as long as between your income and your savings you have 24,000 euros it is likely the visa would be granted."

I have no savings. I live entirely on my monthly SSD check. And where I live here -- in a one-bedroom apartment in northern New Jersey, about 10 miles from NYC -- I pay, translated into Euros, 776 euros a month in rent.

In dollars, that's $988, a month, which I have paid every single month for almost four years, out of a monthly check of $1,291. That's $100 less than my monthly SSD check would be, in dollars, if I moved to France, because $100 is automatically deducted from my check every month to pay my Medicare Part B premium. I would cancel that deduction if I moved to France, since I can't use Medicare there.

$988 is a pretty high rent here, although there are certainly lots of apartments more expensive. And in my housing cost researches (mostly, so far, on Craigslist), there seem to be lots of apartments for 776 euros or less. Obviously, I'd less to pay less if I can.

Of course, none of that will help me if the people responsible for approving long-stay visas don't think 1,093 euros a month is sufficient to be independent.
katkat1950 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 03:30 PM
  #38  
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Obviously, I'd LIKE to pay less in that next to last paragraph.
katkat1950 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 03:39 PM
  #39  
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"Bear in mind that the minimum monthly salary in France is €1.398 and that once you've paid rent, taxes, food, utilities etc... you won't have a lot of spending money left."

Do you mean there is a minimum income amount below which no employer can legally pay? That *seems* to be what you're saying, but I want to make sure.

As far as not having much spending money left, hey-- welcome to my life. I have only a few hundred -- at most -- left every month after paying rent, out of which I have to pay everything else. I've done it for almost four years. In August it'll be four years. I don't have a car, either. I live extremely frugally. It's not much of a life if you can't live without a lot of extras, but I can. I wish I didn't have to, of course, but I do have to, so I do.
katkat1950 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 03:48 PM
  #40  
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"I think that when my mother was naturalized (obligatory to become a teacher), there was something about "renouncing" one's citizenship to become an American citizen."

Ah, this might be an answer to my own question about whether my parents had to renounce their Dutch and French nationalities, respectively, when they were naturalized, in the late 1940s or possibly the early 1950s.

"In those days, people did not realize that other countries do not give a flying f**k about American rules and that whatever you have promised the U.S. authorities has no validity in the real world."

Ha! I love this!!

And you've indirectly touched on part of my motivation for wanting to move to France.
katkat1950 is offline  

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