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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello and thanks for reading my question! I am from California, USA and I am beginning to make plans for an attempted move to France! I'm sorry if these questions have been answered, I couldn't find them. I also apologize in advance for the length/wordiness.

First off, if my Visa de Long Séjour is approved (I understand I need the financial backing for this) I intend on applying for a Carte de Séjour once in the country. Ultimately, I would like to be in France for a very, very, VERY long time. Can a person with a Carte de Séjour who has been a resident for a few years apply for a work permit? I know that in order to even obtain the permit, one must meet loads upon loads of requirements, ranging from already having a job with a French company to being offered one. However, can someone with a residency card bypass this and apply for some other sort of work permit? Something for a person who has lived there for years as a resident? Also, does the agreement made in the Visa de Long Séjour to not partake in professional employment still stand after receiving a Carte de Séjour?
I'm so sorry for the horrendously wordy nature of this question; I don't quite understand how to phrase it. Essentially, my hope is this: to move to France with the money I've saved up (which should support me for a few years) then, should a local business/company/establishment like to hire me, procure at least a part-time job. Is this at all possible with a Carte de Séjour?

Secondly, I understand that someone applying for a Visa de Long Séjour must have international health insurance coverage. Upon receiving a Carte de Séjour, must the international health insurance continue or can the resident receive health care from the country? I will need to factor in a lot more money if I need to pay for years of healthcare in addition to the money I am trying to save up.

Any and all information will be greatly appreciated, you've no idea.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

The visa-carte de séjour system in France really does seem rather complicated from the outside - but it's actually quite simple. Your visa is your entry document into France. And the carte de séjour is your "residence permit" which you get after you have entered France under the terms of your visa. The two are linked - so that if your visa allows you to work, your carte de séjour will note your working privileges (and restrictions). And if you're not allowed to work, that will also be noted on your carte de séjour, based on what your visa indicated. Based on new rules just coming into effect, you no longer get a carte de séjour your first year in the country, but you do have to register with the OFII - and they put a sort of stamp or visa update in your passport, which is what you use instead of a carte de séjour your first year in the country.

After you've lived in France (legally) for a few years - normally it's around 5 or so - and renewed your carte de séjour the way you're supposed to, you'll probably be offered a "carte de resident" which is a 10 year residence permit, usually without restrictions. It's almost like a "green card" in the US. There are a few categories of foreigner who can get their carte de resident in less than 5 years and a couple categories who cannot get the long-term carte de resident at all - but those rules keep changing.

Not everyone gets a carte de resident, though. I know US retirees living here in France who have to renew their carte de sejour every year. Basically you just have to show the préfecture that your situation is still the same as when you first entered France (i.e. you are or aren't working, you're living in the same place and you have the insurances you need under the terms of your visa). If something has changed, you may be looking at a change in the category of your carte de séjour, but it's up to the préfecture whether or not to renew under different circumstances.

If you enter France on a work visa, you are usually included under the social insurances through your employer and thus don't need private health coverage. (There are a few exceptions - but no need to go into them here.) If you are on a non-working visa, you have to show health insurance equivalent to the national program (a) to get the visa and (b) each time you renew your carte de séjour.

To become eligible for the French health care system, you need to be contributing to the system, either through work or if you set up your own business and thus enroll in the national social insurance programs. (These include retirement and allocation familialle as well as health care.)

That's sort of the basics. There are wrinkles and complications, certainly. (But just take a look at the hoops foreigners have to jump through if they want to come live in America sometime!)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hi and welcome to the forum.

The visa-carte de séjour system in France really does seem rather complicated from the outside - but it's actually quite simple. Your visa is your entry document into France. And the carte de séjour is your "residence permit" which you get after you have entered France under the terms of your visa. The two are linked - so that if your visa allows you to work, your carte de séjour will note your working privileges (and restrictions). And if you're not allowed to work, that will also be noted on your carte de séjour, based on what your visa indicated. Based on new rules just coming into effect, you no longer get a carte de séjour your first year in the country, but you do have to register with the OFII - and they put a sort of stamp or visa update in your passport, which is what you use instead of a carte de séjour your first year in the country.

After you've lived in France (legally) for a few years - normally it's around 5 or so - and renewed your carte de séjour the way you're supposed to, you'll probably be offered a "carte de resident" which is a 10 year residence permit, usually without restrictions. It's almost like a "green card" in the US. There are a few categories of foreigner who can get their carte de resident in less than 5 years and a couple categories who cannot get the long-term carte de resident at all - but those rules keep changing.

Not everyone gets a carte de resident, though. I know US retirees living here in France who have to renew their carte de sejour every year. Basically you just have to show the préfecture that your situation is still the same as when you first entered France (i.e. you are or aren't working, you're living in the same place and you have the insurances you need under the terms of your visa). If something has changed, you may be looking at a change in the category of your carte de séjour, but it's up to the préfecture whether or not to renew under different circumstances.

If you enter France on a work visa, you are usually included under the social insurances through your employer and thus don't need private health coverage. (There are a few exceptions - but no need to go into them here.) If you are on a non-working visa, you have to show health insurance equivalent to the national program (a) to get the visa and (b) each time you renew your carte de séjour.

To become eligible for the French health care system, you need to be contributing to the system, either through work or if you set up your own business and thus enroll in the national social insurance programs. (These include retirement and allocation familialle as well as health care.)

That's sort of the basics. There are wrinkles and complications, certainly. (But just take a look at the hoops foreigners have to jump through if they want to come live in America sometime!)
Cheers,
Bev
Oh wow, you've no idea how much help you have just given me! Even after reading everything I possibly could on the various visas and processes, I barely understood them. You explained it perfectly, thank you.
So, essentially, if I'm a very good immigrant :))) with a long-stay visa that doesn't let me work, after a certain amount of time (the amount of which can change), I [may] be able to get a carte de resident, which [may] allow me to work - someday. Is that correct? Alright!

Also, what if the conditions change while I'm there? As in, what if I obtain a degree and find that I actually do have something to offer the country? Will I have to leave the country to apply for a new type of visa with a work permit or can I apply from within France?

Again, thank you for your answers! I'm dizzy from all the reading I've been doing on the subject!

P.S. I must say I have an intensified appreciation for anyone trying to emigrate to another country. I always knew it was tough and I understand why this must be so, however, one must REALLY be passionately set on the move to go through all of this!
 

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OK, I have to be honest with you - your chances for getting a non-working visa if you are "of working age" may be rather slim. Most countries just assume that you're going to be tempted to work if you are able bodied and have any skills at all, and if you're in their country on a non-working visa, you'll be looking to work "under the table" which is a major no-no.

Most retirees I know here are still renewing their cartes de séjour annually - because they aren't allowed to work and they have to show each year that they have their health insurance.

You'd be in a far better situation if you found yourself a job in France and got a work visa/cds. That ties you technically to the employer who initially got you in, but it puts you on the track to possibly get an unrestricted carte de resident in 5 years or so.

Whether or not you have to leave the country to "upgrade" your cds to a working one can depend on a number of factors - including the needs and "pull" of the employer who is sponsoring your work permit.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, I have to be honest with you - your chances for getting a non-working visa if you are "of working age" may be rather slim. Most countries just assume that you're going to be tempted to work if you are able bodied and have any skills at all, and if you're in their country on a non-working visa, you'll be looking to work "under the table" which is a major no-no.

Most retirees I know here are still renewing their cartes de séjour annually - because they aren't allowed to work and they have to show each year that they have their health insurance.

You'd be in a far better situation if you found yourself a job in France and got a work visa/cds. That ties you technically to the employer who initially got you in, but it puts you on the track to possibly get an unrestricted carte de resident in 5 years or so.

Whether or not you have to leave the country to "upgrade" your cds to a working one can depend on a number of factors - including the needs and "pull" of the employer who is sponsoring your work permit.
Cheers,
Bev
That's very good to know.
Is this most often the case, even when a person of 'working age' has proof of financial stability well beyond the avg. requirement?
Thank you!
 

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That's very good to know.
Is this most often the case, even when a person of 'working age' has proof of financial stability well beyond the avg. requirement?
Thank you!
Unless the visa application form has changed significantly, there is a section where they ask you to give the "purpose" of your stay in France. This is the critical bit. You need to have a plausible reason to stay there "for the long term" without the need or the temptation to work.

The French relationship to money is very different from the US attitude, and you will probably find many fonctionnaires who resent the (usually American) attitude that, if I have enough money, I can do anything I like.

Give some thought to how you are going to answer that question about the purpose or reason for your long stay. A job, marriage, study, those are concrete reasons. Anything short of that is kind of suspect.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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