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Everything posted by victor

  1. Sprogster,

    Being retirees was almost a requirement with the French Embassy.  In fact we both had to write a letter in French as part of our application stating that we would never need or apply for any position while living in France.  In addition, to supplement this we had to prove that we had sufficient funds to live here without the need of obtaining a job.  There was never any question about our age.

    Such a letter has been asked of us here also.  The major issue of people coming into France is whether they are self sufficient given the massive unemployment here.

  2. Lori,

    Remember the saying: There is no such thing as a silly question!

    We were told in Sete to write a letter to the Prefecture requesting permanent residency.  After doing so, we received a letter which said my husband would get  a 10 year card and I would get a 5 year card.  Then when we actually received our Cartes, both were for one year.

    With all the adjusting involved in our move and the shock of 9/11 still with us and some problems with our son, then a teenager, we just accepted it.

  3. Sprogster,

    We have American health insurance and our insurer is the primary insurer.  We were told that we HAD to have the French insurance a year or so after we arrived here.  OK.  But it is not free to us because we have not paid into the French health system.  I tried to explain to them that we did not need French insurance, but no matter we had to sign up for it, and we pay 8% of our retirement income ( all of which comes from the States) for the French insurance and also pay over 3,000$ a year to the American insurer.

    Prior to being told that we needed the French insurance, we just paid the full amount of the bill.  If it was high enough, we then sent the documents to our insurer in the States and received reinbursement from them.  We would never be a drain on the French health system.  One of the requirements in obtaining our long stay visa from the French Embassy in the States was proof of continuous health coverage from the States.



  4. Sprogster,

    In my opinion, I do believe that you have "hit the nail on the head."  Lori was lucky to have gotten her permanent residency when she did. ( Thank you Lori for your offer to help us!)  

    We did apply for permanent residency at the end of five years. In fact my husband received a letter saying he would get a ten year Carte; yet, when his Carte arrived at the marie, it was only the one year Carte as was mine. The man who was the head of the bureau d'etranger in Sete at that time even called the Prefecture on our behalf.

    Because of reciprocity, we were able to exchange our state driver's licenses for  French ones quite easily within the one year time limit. I firmly believe that the various changes the Bush administration made after 9/11 affected the way Americans were and are dealt with here.  Without question, it also does matter a great deal how the various Prefectures handle things. And again how the marie decides to act.  Where we are in the Herault, there are few Americans outside of Montpellier, basically a student town.  I doubt most Americans have even heard of Sete or the small village where we now live where the Maire seems to make the laws to serve whatever suits his purposes as do most politicians. Perhaps now that President Obama is in charge things will change, but in the meantime, Americans are being affected by the politics of the Bush administration IMHO.

    About 2 years ago, either the Prefecture or the marie lost my son's  renewal papers and told us we had to resubmit them.  Well, he had left to study in California, thus we did not have posession of all the necessary papers.  When he found out, he basically said forget it and just returns for short visits.

    After many discussions with French friends, we are trying to decide whether to just consider our dream finished or to hope Obama can mend the broken fences with France and other European countries. This is difficult when one loves a country as much as we love France.

    Given our experiences, I would caution any Americans about planning to live in France UNLESS they are married to a French person or have strong French family connections here.

  5. Anton,

    I agree with you that the Toulouse site is excellent.  In fact that is a site I read a few times during the years we were researching our move to France.

  6. We have been living near Sete in southern France since 2001. From all the research I did prior to our move, I was under the impression that after 3 years we would be eligible for a Carte du sejour resident. After the 3rd year we were told we would have to wait 5 years.  We are retired and came knowing we could not practice our professions here. Each year we must gather up all the relevant documents and turn them in to the marie and wait for our new Carte.

    We are now going on our 8th year here and are still classified as Visitors.  A French friend asked at the marie why we were always classified as Visitors.  The person in the section handling etrangers basically told her:  Well they are rich Americans and will never be classified as anything but Visitors.  They can live here and spend their money.  My friend was shocked as was I when I heard this.

    Yes we are American, no we are not rich.  We moved here because we love France and raised our son in a French school in the States to prepare him to seamlessly move into a French school here.  We are suffering as are the English because of the high exchange rate but simply accept that.

    The reason I am writing this is to find out if other Americans who came here like us, without planning to work, have received similar treatment.  We have done our best to be good citizens; however, it is difficult when you find out that no matter what you do you will always be treated differently.

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