French nationality

Old May 21st, 2012, 11:53 AM
  #61  
 
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<i>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?</i>

I'm French. I was just giving an idea of the rent for an appartment similar (at least for the size) to the one of KatKat.

<i>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>

As Kerouac says, public housing is not reserved to the French There are two Turkish families and one Vietnamese in my building for example; but the OP would need permanent residency permit (carte de résident).
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:53 AM
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"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."

LOL. Why am I not surprised?
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Thanks, Askar, for elaborating. I'm glad to hear this is available for residents who meet the requirements.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:03 PM
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The thing is, why would a country extend a long stay visa to someone who will then need subsidised housing? In this economic climate I just think you will have problems given your financial situation...
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:04 PM
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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?"

Oh yeah, definitely, but (a) I'm not certain what those cities are, or if they match up with cities I would have any interest at all in moving to. I know Costa Rica is considered near-paradise for American retirees, but I would not want to live there. I know that Thailand, as another example, is more and more being seen by American retirees as a fantastic place to retire on a limited income, but I would not want to live in Thailand.

The advantage I have with France is that I have a family connection to it. I know it wouldn't help me directly, but it makes the place more attractive to me, emotionally, if that makes sense. Plus, of all the possible foreign languages I might have to learn in moving to another country, French is the only one that I feel would be possible for me. I have a basic working knowledge of French (at least enough to stumble through daily life), and taking classes to learn it fluently would be easy for me. Easy in the sense that I feel confident about my ability to learn the language better because I'm already so familiar with it. I mean, it's a hard thing to explain. I am not familiar with French in the sense that I can speak it fluently, but I have a certain comfort level with it, with the sound of it, with the idea of it. My parents spoke it all the time when my brother and I were growing up (but only when they didn't want us to know what they were saying, which is why I didn't learn it fluently growing up), I took French in high school, I can understand and translate written French MUCH better than I can speak it. It feels comfortable to me.

Having said all this, I'm certainly open to suggestions for other cities that might be cheaper and might not feel too alien to me.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:09 PM
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<i>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.</i>

Excuse me but I didn't mean to offend you. My English is seriously limited.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:11 PM
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Think about Morocco. It's a Francophone country, is way cheaper, and has better weather.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:20 PM
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"Excuse me but I didn't mean to offend you. My English is seriously limited."

I thought I was replying to St. Cirq, but either way, no worries. Really. I'm not offended by anything that's been said here. I just didn't think it was worth going on about a relatively small point.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:21 PM
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"Think about Morocco. It's a Francophone country, is way cheaper, and has better weather."

Keep in mind, though, that I *hate* hot weather. I despise summer, at least the kind we have in NYC.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:25 PM
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"Think about Morocco. It's a Francophone country, is way cheaper, and has better weather."

Also, I'm Jewish. That's not to make any judgments; I'm just trying to be realistic. And I could be mistaken, of course.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 01:07 PM
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Actually, Morocco has a large Jewish population, both local and expat.

But to get back to the subject of Paris, since it costs double the price of the provinces, I think it might be unwise to try to settle in Paris on a fixed income. However, to address the subject of the 18th arrondissement, there are indeed apartments available for rent for less than 700€. These would be studio apartments or very small one bedroom apartments.

Rent is not the only thing to take into consideration -- there is also the residency tax. Paris being a rich city, the residency tax is very low, particularly for older buildings. Some of my colleagues in the suburbs are paying at least 5 times more for apartments the same quality as mine. The richer the city and the residents, the lower the residency tax. It is horribly unfair, but that's the way it is. Then again, we are paying much higher prices for a lot of other things.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 01:29 PM
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"Actually, Morocco has a large Jewish population, both local and expat."

Well, there you go, I did not know that. I'm glad I allowed for the possibility of being mistaken.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 01:42 PM
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<<Actually, Morocco has a large Jewish population>>

I wouldn't call it large, though it once was. I think there are about 5,000 Jews in Morocco these days, mainly in Casablanca (perhaps counting expat Jews, it's more than that). Most of them have emigrated to Europe, mainly France. Still, Morocco is a wonderful country with plenty of great French attributes - and yes, cheap!
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Old May 21st, 2012, 02:44 PM
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My husband's barber in Rabat emigrated to Israel at Independence in '56 but returned to Morocco when he found that Sephards had problems there. Also, Hassan II called for Jews who left to return; he needed the professional classes to help run things.
Summer in France can be every bit as brutal as summer in NY. Of course, there are hot spots, mainly inland, in Morocco, but we never needed AC in Rabat on the ocean.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 02:53 PM
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Katkat,

another thing to consider is that no owner will let you rent a flat at 775 euros. While it is common in the US to spend 50 to 80% of your income on housing it is simply impossible here. Owners demand that you make at the very least 3 times the rent unless you have a serious guarantor. Which is why you can only afford to pay 300 a month here. That would be possible in a town like Beaune, Burgundy for instance for a studio or small one bedroom.

In addition to the expenses listed by Pvoyageuse you must know that in France tenants are responsible for bringing their own fridge and stove and replace them themselves when they break. Hence the importance of having savings when living on a low income.

French immigration services won't view the fact that you spend 70% of your disposable income on lodging positively. It will send serious red flags. My advice is for you to get a cheaper apartment since you say it is possible and save at the very least 400 dollars a month for the next three years.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 02:56 PM
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And even with best efforts on your part to save money for a few years I am afraid your income is too low anyway to afford private health insurance so I would look into that first. Not to discourage you but just being realistic. Good luck.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 03:14 PM
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"another thing to consider is that no owner will let you rent a flat at 775 euros. ... French immigration services won't view the fact that you spend 70% of your disposable income on lodging positively. It will send serious red flags."

Well... sigh, ugh. Very hard to hear, but if that's the reality, then I must accept it.

As to moving to a cheaper apartment, although there definitely are apartments at lower rents than the one I'm in -- especially in the central and southern parts of New Jersey -- there are very few, if any, that cost so much less that I could save $400 or more per month. And I wouldn't want to move anyway. That would mean moving at least twice more in my life, one to the cheaper apartment and then to France, and I don't think I can manage that. I have moved so many times in the last 12 years, and each move was indescribably devastating, in every way imaginable. I could do it again to move to France (I would probably sell almost everything I own, including my approx. 2,000 books, in order not to have to deal with the nightmare of packing all the stuff I have). But I'm not going to do that (give up all my stuff) for anything less than moving to Paris, which is my dream. And the idea of going through everything, getting the boxes, packing, finding a mover, dealing with the mover, etc., etc. -- well, it's just not going to happen.

So maybe what I'll have to do is wait a few years and see what kind of COLAs (cost of living increase) I get between now and then. I'm only (almost) 62. Traditional retirement age isn't even until 65. I can always assess my financial situation again in a few years.

Till then, I'll just read everything I can lay my hands on about France and Paris in particular and try to get my French better. The Foreign Service has a website with excellent language courses. I've already gone through the first unit of the Basic French course. Having better French language skills will probably also help me if finances are better in three or four years.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 05:15 PM
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StCirq, is this the website you were talking about, that's better for finding apartments in Paris than Craigslist?

http://www.pap.fr/

It's hard for me to tell because it's in French.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 05:40 PM
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Yes, that's it.

I wouldn't be renting an apartment until I could navigate a site like that in French. But it sounds like you've planned some time for that.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 09:12 PM
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Thanks, St. Cirq!
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