French nationality

May 19th, 2012, 04:59 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 118
Kitkat,

1398 euros is indeed the minimum monthly salary in France but it is the gross salary, which gives a net of 1,097 euros = your income. Many people live on less than that but they are often entitled to different benefits to help them, which wouldn't be your case. Also you must always take into account the possibility that with exchange rate fluctuations your income could be worth less than 1000 euros.

I honestly think in your situation it would be difficult to get the visa but not completely impossible either. It is possible to live on 1000 euros a month in a provincial town that would be lively enough for you not to need a car. You must find a place where the rent won't exceed 300 euros, which is possible but rent usually doesn't include utilities in France. Also tenants pay a local tax in France (taxe d'habitation).

You should start getting quotes on the private health insurance to get an idea of whether you could afford it or not. If you can move to a cheaper apartment to save a few hundred dollars a month in the meantime it would be great so that after a couple of years you'd have some savings aside to finance your move.

Don't set your hopes too high but if you can prove that you can live on your income in France you can always file for a visa and hope for the best.
FrenchMystiqueTours2 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 05:16 PM
  #42  
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FrenchMystique, good advice, thanks. But I just have to say, about this:

"1398 euros is indeed the minimum monthly salary in France but it is the gross salary, which gives a net of 1,097 euros = your income."

I just want to be clear on what I meant when I asked to make sure I was understanding correctly about there being a minimum monthly salary in France. That might have come across as being a bit incredulous, and it WAS, but not because I thought it was the net rather than the gross amount. I was (and am) incredulous that there IS a minimum monthly income, at all. I mean, that's extraordinary. I didn't know that.

Having lived in the United States all my life, I am just floored by the concept of the government telling employers that they cannot pay employees anything they want, there is a minimum amount that every person must be paid.

I mean, we have a federal minimum wage law here, but it's an hourly wage, and it's set extremely low -- much lower than the cost of living and almost never adjusted for inflation.

A law establishing a minimum monthly salary for all citizens could NEVER be passed in this country. It's just not seen as a right here.
katkat1950 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 05:25 PM
  #43  
 
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<>

What's the difference between that and a minimum wage, which we have here in the USA? There's no obligation for a French company to offer anyone a job, but if they do, they have to pay that minimum amount (OK, there must be part-time jobs, consusltancies, etc., but the concept is the same as minimum wage here). Of course a French company can and often (usually, even) pays more, depending on the skills and background of the employee. No one is saying that every French employee gets the minimum amount every month - of course not!

Not sure what you don't understand about this.
StCirq is online now  
May 19th, 2012, 05:51 PM
  #44  
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"No one is saying that every French employee gets the minimum amount every month - of course not!"

Oh, okay. I misunderstood then.
katkat1950 is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 10:54 PM
  #45  
 
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"You must find a place where the rent won't exceed 300 euros, which is possible"

It is possible but it will be hard especially in a town with good public transportation vs a small remote village where the OP will be completely isolated. As an example, my son's first flat when he got his first job was a tiny 25 sq.m. and he paid a monthly rent of €300. That was in 2008 and in an area of France (Languedoc Roussillon) considered rather not expensive. He paid another €300 to the rental agency + a deposit of €300 to the owner.
You'll have to add compulsory home insurance to utilities and local taxes. If you file income taxes in France, your monthly SDD check will be taxed.
And most important : do you speak French?
Pvoyageuse is offline  
May 19th, 2012, 11:08 PM
  #46  
 
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Actually, there is a monthly minimum revenue for everybody in France whether they work or not, the RSA (revenu de solidarité active). However, it is only 475€.
kerouac is online now  
May 20th, 2012, 03:33 PM
  #47  
 
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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.

Just to give you a comparison: I live in Reims* in an appartment of 35 square meters - bedroom + sitting room + kitchen + bathroom. For that I pay 300 € included hot and cold water and heating, no extra charge. It's a "HLM" (low rent housing) subsidized by the state. It's design for low income (but not especially poor either) people. In the private sector I think that I would pay 200 or 300 € more.
With your income you should qualify but you would be on a waiting list and it can take several months before you get an offer.


* Reims is a middle sized town in the North East of France (pop. 200,000). It has good public transportation and is only at 45 mn from Paris by TGV.
Askar01 is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 03:57 PM
  #48  
 
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"No one is saying that every French employee gets the minimum amount every month - of course not!"

Oh, okay. I misunderstood then.


I don't understand what you understood or misunderstood ;-)

The monthly minimum salary is 1097 € so yes, every employee in France (French or not) who works full time gets a minimum of 1097 € every month. Minimum wages are not universal but are unique to France either.
Askar01 is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 03:58 PM
  #49  
 
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Oops : are NOT unique to France
Askar01 is offline  
May 20th, 2012, 11:51 PM
  #50  
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"I don't understand what you understood or misunderstood."

If you don't understand what I understood or misunderstood, or if I did not make myself clear about what I understood or misunderstood, I certainly don't think it's worth taking up any more time or space over.

Thank you for the helpful advice you have given me. I appreciate it.
katkat1950 is offline  
May 21st, 2012, 12:47 AM
  #51  
 
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'A naive question: why is there so much bureaucracy in selling a house? Is it because you are not a French native?'

In fact I dont think there is 'so much bureaucracy' in buying a house here. We bought ours 20 years ago, when there was probably less, but we've always said to people who are thinking about it, 'just bring money.'

I am currently involved in helping Canadian friends sell to an Australian. Steps involved:
1. Advertise house on the web, as agents took no interest. Australian woman sees it, arranges to visit on a trip to France,
2, Buyer loves the house, calls vendor, they agree on a price.
3. Buyer visits Notaire, prepares a kind of 'intention to buy' - statement of interest.
4. Vendor arranges for various 'diagnostics'to be done - checks for lead, asbestos, energy assessment (insulation, double glazing, etc,) This would normally have been done before an agency advertised the house.
5. Results go to Notaire, who prepares offer document 'Compromis de Vente', sent to both parties for signature. Buyer arranges for deposit to be sent to Notaire,
6, Time passes, while title searches, capital gain calculations, etc done
7. Both vendor and buyer sign proxies so that someone else can represent them. I for the vendor, Notaire's secretary for the buyer. Buyer transfers money to Notaire's account. On day of sale we sign, and it's done. Notaire transfers money (minus capital gains tax due to vendor's account.

The difference between France and North America at least is that the Notaire represents both parties, rather than having two different lawyers. But, if you dont have to arrange a mortgage, not so complicated. This transaction is also made easier by the fact that the Notaire had arranged the original purchase, and so had all the documents, but since most people would have a copy of their Acte de Vente (deed) on hand, it wouldn't have been an issue.
Carlux is offline  
May 21st, 2012, 02:56 AM
  #52  
 
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Since we have veered into real estate, I don't know about other countries, but in France you have to provide a number of recent certificates proving there is no asbestos, no lead pipes, no termites, etc. Living where I do in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, I even had to get a quarry certificate indicating that there are no underground quarries beneath my building.
kerouac is online now  
May 21st, 2012, 06:15 AM
  #53  
 
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askar,

Were you able to obtain low income housing as an EU or French national? How long had you lived in France? Had you or do you work in France?

Do not mean to be nosey, but given kitkat may obtain a long-term visa as a non-EU national, are you positive she would qualify for this type of housing?

I have no direct experience with this or any other government program but I try to be very careful not to imply that my situation would be the same for anyone else.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
May 21st, 2012, 08:13 AM
  #54  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 140
Also, do not forget that even though your U.S. SS income may not change (or not much), the exchange rate of the euro to the U.S. Dollar is forever changing. Plus whatever private health cover you obtain will almost certainly change on an annual basis - and it rarely ever goes down.

There was a period of a couple of years (not too long ago - I remember it painfully) when the exchange rate varied from 1.50 to 1.60 (I'll never forget paying $1.60 for 1 euro). When living in France on U.S. Dollars this is something that cannot be forgotten when making plans, especially if you are arriving on a seriously tight budget.

No one knows what will happen with currency exchange rates. It is something to consider. Having no savings to fall back on would be extremely frightening, at least to me.
1994 is online now  
May 21st, 2012, 08:26 AM
  #55  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 25
For non EU citizens obtaining a non working long stay retirement visa for France has become much more difficult, as there is now a full medical requirement that requires a doctors visit and the visa cannot be applied for from France, in that it must be applied for and approved before you enter France.
You are required to demonstrate fully comprehensive private medical insurance for France, but this can be difficult or impossible to obtain if you have any form of pre-existing health condition such as high blood pressure, or diabetes.
The USA has refused to introduce an equivalent non working long stay visa for EU citizens wanting to retire to the States, and as visa policy tends to work on a reciprocol basis, US citizens are finding it harder to obtain long stay visas for the EU.
sprogster is offline  
May 21st, 2012, 09:17 AM
  #56  
 
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katkat, just an idle question: have you considered moving somewhere with a lower cost of living than France, where your SSD checks would go farther?
Tentek is offline  
May 21st, 2012, 11:18 AM
  #57  
 
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Low income housing is available to any legal resident. If this were not the case, there would not be so much outcry from the National Front about 'foreigners' taking over all of the low income housing (which is of course far from true).
kerouac is online now  
May 21st, 2012, 12:37 PM
  #58  
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"Living where I do in the 18th arrondissement of Paris,..."

Kerouac, this brings up a question I've had about rental costs. We've discussed it here already in the context of how difficult it might be to afford Paris rental costs on a limited fixed income, but I just want to press this point a little -- not to be argumentative, at all, but simply to test my own perceptions from looking at Paris apartment listings thousands of miles away from Paris. Now, granted, I have really only looked, so far, at apartment listings on Craigslist, so maybe I'm getting a distorted picture. But it seems to me that there are lots of apartments available for 775 Euros or less, and looking at the photos (for the ones that have them), they look pretty nice.

Why do I say 775 Euros or less? Because, using my handy dandy euros to dollars calculator that I found online, I plugged in $900(which is $88 less than I'm paying now), and get a euro amount of 705.8 euros. Now, if I go all the way up to the equivalent in euros of the amount I pay now, I get 774 euros. I don't want to pay that much for a Paris apartment, obviously, because considering all the other expenses that would be pushing it, but if I do that for the sake of argument, I get an upper range of, say, 700 to 775 euros, that I could conceive of paying as a monthly rent in Paris. And as I said, I see *many* apartment in that range and *under* that range. Admittedly, there are many more apartments that are considerably higher than that -- I've seen up to 3500 or so euros -- but I only need one apartment.

So, knowing now that you live in the 18th arrondissement (one of the less expensive ones, am I right?), and knowing that you probably know a bit about Paris rents, can you tell what I'm missing here?
katkat1950 is offline  
May 21st, 2012, 12:40 PM
  #59  
 
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Just wanted to add, I would never use Craigslist for a long-term Paris apartment. You want to look at de Particulier à Particulier or newspaper listings or other reliable sources.
StCirq is online now  
May 21st, 2012, 12:51 PM
  #60  
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"Having no savings to fall back on would be extremely frightening, at least to me."

It IS extremely frightening, lol. But I've lived this way for well over 10 years now, so I'm used to it. If you can ever get used to it. Plus, the financial experiences I went through up till four years ago (threatened eviction, car repossessed, etc.), the fact that, since I qualified for SSD (those horrors were before I applied for SSD) I have been able to pay my rent every month -- and thus feel reasonably certain that I will not end up on a park bench -- puts my tight budget in perspective. I feel blessed to know I don't have to worry about losing a roof over my head. Given all this, I find it hard to imagine that if I had to live that same way in Paris, it would be so awful. I mean, given that Paris itself -- actually living in Paris -- would be, for me (at least as I imagine it) a dream come true. I mean, I've lived in and around NYC all my life, and it's a wonderful city, but it's not Paris. Nowhere is. To me, Paris is a sacred city, like Jerusalem. Not for the same reasons, obviously, but it is, to me.
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