Relocation Help!!!!!

Jun 11th, 2001, 07:19 AM
  #1  
XXX
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Relocation Help!!!!!

We are looking to relocate to France from USA within the next 6months. Can anyone out there recommend a good company that can assist with visas, home and schools.
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 08:50 AM
  #2  
PB
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Are you moving with a company, or have you simply decided to move here ?

PB
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 10:13 AM
  #3  
XXXX
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With a company
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 10:34 AM
  #4  
lucie
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if you are moving with a company who is placing you abroad, they should be able to help you with the types of questions you have. for instance, they should be resposible for helping you obtain a visa. you'll have to of course spend a lot of the time at the mairies in france showing the proper documentation, tax reports, etc to actually obtain the correct papers (e.g. carte de sejour). the whole process this takes time, belive me.

if not, the web is full of informative sites with info for expats with regards to moving overseas, searching for schools, visas, etc.

where will you be living in france? there are ecoles bilangue and american schools there.
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 11:03 AM
  #5  
goodluck
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Our employer provided the relocation co -- is your giving you a choice or are you on your own? I don't remember which one it was -- sorry. It can depend on which area you're moving to also.

Our employer compiled all the visa info for us, we merely had to show up at the prefecture to make an appointment to hand in the info, hand in the info, and then to pick up the visa.

Good luck to you -- it's been really interesting out here. I've loved every minute.
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 11:37 AM
  #6  
XXXX
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We'll be in the Mougin/Cannes area for my husband's work and our children will need American schools, I know there is one in Nice. I was trying to get a heads up on what's involved, should I take or sell my furniture, sell or rent my house. I've been there several times and I have loved it each time, the prospect of moving there has left me quite nervous and excited at the same time if that's at all possible.
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 01:38 PM
  #7  
PB
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"I was trying to get a heads up on what's involved, should I take or sell my furniture, sell or rent my house. I've been there several times and I have loved it each time, the prospect of moving there has left me quite nervous and excited at the same time if that's at all possible. ""

Your visa should be obtained from the French Embassy (or closest Consulate) before you head over. The company should help you arrange it. Once that is done, they should have a lawyer here in France that handles getting your 'carte de visiteur" (the new word for a one year carte de sejour for foreigners not from within the EU) and who will handle getting your husband's work permit.

As to renting your house, selling your furniture.... how long is his assignment going to be ? Selling your house would also depend on the length of your stay here in France. You would have a longer grace period for reinvesting any capital gains... but would you plan to purchase property here in France ? Lots of things to think about...

There is an American or International School in Nice, but I don't have the information on it. I'll see if I can find their website.

I live in Provence, and if I can assist you with your questions, feel free to email me.

PB

 
Jun 11th, 2001, 05:38 PM
  #8  
XXX
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Dear PB,
Thank you for your help. Our length of stay will be approx.5 years. To leave my entire life in the hands of a relocation company is a little frightening to me, that's why I would like to know before hand. I'm assuming you relocated also.
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 08:35 PM
  #9  
goodluck
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Our assignment is two years. We sold our house stateside -- I won't rent it out (you think you know someone...) and we didn't expect to go back to that city anyway. Furniture is in storage -- my mantra when buying new furniture (from IKEA) was "it's only got to last 2 years" -- except for our bedroom furniture. We're city dwellers -- looked at renting houses but they seemed too far out of the city and too isolated -- but we don't have kids. The people in the apartment below us have 4 kids.

For 5 years, we would have seriously discussed bringing all our furniture though.

If you haven't already, read Polly Platt's "French or Foe", "Culture Shock France", etc. Especially those two. Polly Platt's book has been indispensible.

My husband has had a difficult time adjusting out here -- the work patterns and work habits of the French are very different from the habits and patterns of Americans. Unless he knows people already or the company has a high American citizen count out here, it will most likely be very hard for him. Because of the connections through your children, it will be easier for you (and them).

If you don't speak French, take classes. I thought I might be able to get by without them, but I didn't realize what I had been missing those few months -- of course it took me a year of lessons to figure out what I'd been missing! The sooner the better.

And just throw yourself into the relo. You have to. There's just too much you have to worry about. Educate yourself ahead of time, naturally, on what you'll need (just the basics -- don't get caught up in too many details unless you know you need them).

Is this the first relo for your husband's company? If not, they should have a good deal put together. If it is, it's going to be tougher because they don't know what to do either.

You'll be fine. It's going to stress the heck out of you, though. You'll love it here. And hate it sometimes too.

Don't forget to read those books!
 
Jun 12th, 2001, 10:07 AM
  #10  
Lisa
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And don't forget to file your U.S. tax return while you're living out of the country. You get credit for taxes paid in France, but you still have to file.

If you're going for 5 years, I would recommend getting rid of any furntiure, etc. that you're not taking with you. 5 years is a long time, and you'll even forget what you've left behind after that time.

We relocated overseas (UK) a few years ago, and found that getting rid of things was a wonderful experience. It's a great excuse for getting rid of those ugly wedding presents, or old school papers that you really don't know why you're keeping.

If you do keep stuff in storage in the U.S., here are things you should definitely NOT pay to store: clothes --will be out of style by the time you get back, and may not fit you any more (too big, too small); electronic items--also go out of date quickly, and with the money you'd pay in storage you could buy new equipment when you return; kids toys and games--same again. Only keep if they have sentimental value; cheap furniture--you'll never understand why you kept it when you open up your storage unit in 5 years; car--a no-brainer, but I've seen people store their car while they leave the country for a few years. Storage is rough on a car, and you'll spend a lot of money getting it back into shape on your return.

Good luck, have fun, and I repeat the advice of the last person--make sure you learn the language.
 
Jun 12th, 2001, 12:45 PM
  #11  
goodluck
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Ah, memories...

Make sure your relo person sets up the cable, phone, electric and phone for you. French in person and French on the phone are two different matters -- for me, much harder on the phone. At the very least, have them find out who speaks English at those places so that you have someone to call.

Here's a tip if you color your hair -- yes, one of those things you might not have thought of. I really love the color and my US colorist and I worked on it for years to get it "just right". I emailed the color company and asked if their colors were the same in France as in the US, and then asked if they could give me the names of the salons here who use that brand. They emailed me back with the sales person's info who was in my area and the relo person called them to find salons in my area and gave me the list. I would do the same even if you color it yourself, so you know what to look for when you get here. The ads in the yellow pages aren't like they are stateside -- no "we use ____ color" or anything like that. And it's A LOT cheaper here than in the US for my color and cut (like by $20-$30)!!

I agree with Lisa about storage. You'll most likely acquire furniture while you're here -- a nice table here, a chair there -- and you'll need room when you get back (your taste might change by then too).

Apartments in France generally have a sink in the kitchen. That's it. Nothing else. No cabinets, no dishwasher, no refrigerator, nothing. You'll want to get all the appliances set the day you move in.

There are also "American clubs" around. Check for them in the Nice area. They're helpful, but some people I've talked to have found that they can be a little insulating. Give them a try -- they're good for finding doctors, dentists, etc.

And your pets -- in the US they have 3 year rabies shots. They are not recognized in France, only yearly ones are. Also, there is paperwork that has to be completed by your vet within a certain time frame before you go -- check out the French Embassy site for info. We've never been stopped in customs when we've taken her, but better safe than sorry. Also, France tattoos their animals -- see if you'll need to have that done for ID too.

I'll keep checking to see if you have any questions, and I'll post if I remember anything else worth noting.

 
Jun 12th, 2001, 12:52 PM
  #12  
XXX
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Dear goodluck,

Thank you for your advice, since we are the only family relocating we need to get in touch with a company that will help us with the relocation process.
 
Jun 12th, 2001, 08:41 PM
  #13  
goodluck
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I was looking through my stuff, can't find the business card for the people we used, but I believe that it was TMP Mobilitas. The phone I have is 00 33 1 44 34 67 89. If I remember correctly, they're in Paris, but have offices elsewhere too.

Respirez bien!
 
Jun 12th, 2001, 11:40 PM
  #14  
PB
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I've relocated a number of times ! LOL. The last time, with a company, was in 1979 from Paris to Brussels.
You've already been given some very good advice, so I'll just add a few other comments.

Since your relocation is for five years, I would recommend shipping the furniture and personal items that you most would like to keep. Get rid of all appliances - BUT, I would recommend purchasing and shipping items like a refrigerator, washer and dryer in 220 Volts (available from GE - which can be serviced here in France). These items are much more expensive here - and the washing machines take forever and hold much smaller loads.

If you know that you will be returning to the same city, you might want to keep your home and have a rental handled by a professional company. I've known some people who do, but I'm not sure that it's worth it.

Your company should provide you with a 'package' that includes monies for items like lighting, drapes, appliances, etc.
If you have children in school, the company should pay the tuition costs.
Most companies will provide 'home leave' - paying for an annual (or once every two years) return trip to the US to visit family.

See if your company has a 'tax equalization' policy.... Many do, but if you're the only person with the company who is relocating, they may not.
You are still responsible for US taxes - but if you stay outside of the US for a period of twelve months (without returning to the US) you will qualify for ex-pat status. This means that the first $75,000 of your income is non-taxable on your US taxes the subsequent years.


I can give you the name of an accountant in Paris who can give you all the pertinent information and who handles taxes for ex-pats if you would like to email me. I'll also be happy to give you my phone number if I can assist you with anything ([email protected]).

Patricia

 
Jun 13th, 2001, 05:35 AM
  #15  
goodluck
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Oh these washers and dryers!

Yes, I do recommend the same on appliances -- especially washers and dryers! It takes 90 min to wash 1/2 a US load and 90 min to dry that same 1/2 load! With kids, that'll be no less than a nightmare for you, xxx. One thing I DO like about the dryer is that there is no vent to the outside -- I know someone who had a fire in the dryer vent, so I feel better not having to worry about that.

As PB said, the appliances are much more expensive here than in the US (even stupid things like clock radios). And when the moving company sent me the brochure for the European adapted appliances, I scoffed at the prices!! Wished I had gotten at least the washer and dryer. We bought a TV with a VCR in it that plays US and European tapes. Make sure the TV/VCR you buy does too.

LOL about "lighting" -- nothing but lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling, walls, etc! We decided to ignore them and went with lamps (don't forget my mantra, "it's only gotta last 2 years, it's only gotta last 2 years..."), but I'm sure you'll not feel the same way. Sometimes I forget and turn on the overhead light and feel like I'm in college all over again.
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 10:06 AM
  #16  
Ann
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You can now buy US-style appliances overseas. I'm not sure about France, but since you can get them in the UK, I would think you could get them in France. We had friends who just visited us, and the first thing they did when the returned to England was buy a large US-style stainless fridge. I believe there's a web site, but I don't have it with me. Something about usappliancesintheuk or something like that.
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 01:14 PM
  #17  
PB
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""You can now buy US-style appliances overseas. I'm not sure about France, but since you can get them in the UK, I would think you could get them in France""

Yes, they're available at stores like Darty and in the larger grocery stores like Auchan, Carrefour, etc. But, the prices are very high. Companies will pay shipping, so you might as well take advantage of having new appliances shipped with personal furniture and goods. As personal goods included in a move, there is no customs duty or tax to pay - which automatically saves you the whopping TVA here in France.

PB
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 01:26 PM
  #18  
Ariel
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I moved to England when I was in high school (from Canada) and my parents are now living in France (alcase region). In both places there was an American group of women or familes that get together to help new people, socialized, etc. Ask the company you are moving with if there is an association or any other Americans/Canadians working for them in the area - they should be able to put you in touch with the Americans group there.

One piece of advise - move before your kids are to start school. I went over to England in the middle of the first semester (American school) and found it harder to make friends.

you can always put your furniture in storage for a while - friends of ours did that while living in Enlgand. I think my parnets did the same thing.
 
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