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Moving to France from the USA

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We are moving to France from the US early next summer. Can anyone help with the Visa process? I think we have all the necessary forms but would like some help confirming this.

Anyone out there who has moved from the US and has a detailed list of required forms, we would greatly appreciate the help.



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Link below to French Embassy in Washington which has good details.

American in Toulouse also long established and very useful information for anybody from USA.

Not sure how easy it would be for you to do but if I had time I would think about obtaining a driver’s license from a US state such as Louisiana which allows the French Government allows you to swop for a French license.




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I am sure you are aware that the long stay visa you have in mind prohibits employment and you are required to take out comprehensive private medical insurance, which can be difficult to obtain if you have an existing medical condition and demonstrate you have sufficient independent financial means. It used to be that after five years you could affiliate to the French health system, but this is no longer possible on this non immigration visa for non EU citizens.

When you reach retirement age you will be covered by US Medicare national health insurance, but there is no reciprocal agreement between France and the USA that extends this cover to US citizens retired in France. Unlike retired Brits whose health care in France is paid for by the UK government.
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Anton, I was not being negative, it is now extremely difficult for non EU citizens not married to an EU citizen, to retire to France unless they have previously worked and contributed to the French social security system, or are very wealthy.

Not surprising really, as the US do not allow EU citizens to retire to the the USA, as there are no equivalent long stay visa options for retirees.
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  • 2 months later...
Trainman wrote:

"We are moving to France from the US early next summer. Can anyone help with the Visa process? I think we have all the necessary forms but would like some help confirming this.

Anyone out there who has moved from the US and has a detailed list of required forms, we would greatly appreciate the help."

I doubt anyone here could answer your question as the answer would depend on your specific situation. Just for starters: type of visa you would be applying for.

Therefore, your first step should be a visit to the French Embassy nearest you to obtain a list of documents necessary to apply for a long stay visa. One of the requirements may be that you will need to have an address in France. Furthermore all documents may need to have been "officially" translated into French.

Be prepared that you may end up making several visits to the embassy, and you need to remember to, no matter what, always be polite. For your first visit, you will need to have made an appointment.

Regarding health care: the only US company of which I am aware that has world-wide medical coverage is Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Once in France you can obtain medical insurance from a French company but generally need to show your American health contract which indicates prior coverage for a year and a month. This may vary from one company to another. If and when you are eligible to obtain the French government health insurance, you will be required to pay around 8% of your income as declared on your French tax form.

Speaking of taxes: Each year you MUST file both a French tax form and an American tax form.

However, because of the treaty between France and the US, you only pay the American taxes assuming you receive no income from France. I strongly recommend you obtain a copy of the treaty and study it.

Regarding driving: there are approxmately 12 states which have a receprocity agreement with France and if you are not a resident of one of those states, perhaps you could plan to visit with a friend in one of the states and attempt to exchange your license for one from that state. Some states Motor Vehicle offices are more "friendly" than others.

Bottom line: you must be able to prove that you can support yourself here. The amount necessary seems to vary a bit.

You did not state what your profession is but several possibilities come to mind to smooth things a little: if you are working for a French company or an International organization in the States and can request a transfer, or you have sufficient funds to invest in establishing a company in France which would employ French workers, or you have been accepted to study in France, or you have a profession that France would consider valuable.

For Americans the process is LONG and not simple.

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Victor, the process I believe has changed a lot and become more difficult since you made the move eight years ago, as France over the last three years has dramatically reduced the number of non-EU Nationals it allows in, which according to Eurostat, is now less than a third of the number admitted by the UK.

For example, the initial long stay visa must now be applied for in the USA and granted before you leave for France and requirements include a medical, prior evidence of fully comprehensive private medical insurance and evidence as to sufficient independent financial means, as of course the long stay visa in question prohibits employment.

To be quite honest I think you would struggle these days as a non EU retiree to get a French long stay visa, unless you are medically fit with no chronic health conditions and are financially well off, which I imagine as a retired US attorney you are!

The reason for this is that the current French government do not want non EU retired people moving to France, unless they are wealthy, as they are concerned they will eventually become a burden on their overstretched health system. As although you will pay 8% of your income to join once eligible, theses comtributions can never equate to the level someone would have contributed if they spent their working life in France.

In the meantime you have private cover, but as you get older this can become prohibitively expensive and if you develop a chronic health condition, can find your insurer dropping your cover. (A big problem President Obama has tried to address in his health reforms.)

Brits do not have the same issue, as the British government reimburse the French government for the health care of Brit retirees in France, who have reached State retirement age and made UK social security contributions for a minimum of ten years.
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