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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
CDS "visiteur" = path to citizenship for non-EU nat'l working OUTSIDE France?

Hello,

First post. Hope the title helps future folks get to these issues. I apologise in advance, as I'm sure the particulars of my situation have already been answered in many separate threads that I'm going cross-eyed looking through.

For immigration purposes, I am essentially looking to retire to France, while still being actively engaged in employment outside France. Let this not imply any desire for non-compliance on my part, but simply that the path retirees have been known to follow seems potentially suited to my circumstances.


My situation:

28y/o American looking to relocate to France and obtain citizenship.

Looking to purchase a property.

Not looking for work rights.

Looking to maximise time outside France (I work offshore throughout the world) while maintaining recognised residency requirements that will lead to eventual citizenship.

Willing and desiring to be tax-compliant.

Interested in set up of business vehicle for legitimate tax / immigration advantage, if relevant.

Interested in any referrals forum members might offer re: lawyers and advisors with experience re: my particulars.


Consequential queries:

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Can an annually, consecutively-renewed CDS visiteur act as a path to citizenship?

Will this mean five renewals, or (for example), a switch to a PR after three, with all the associated administrative paperwork and turnaround, between me and my new passport?

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Any non-native French nat'ls have a timeline for how long it took them, from arriving with the long-term visa, to receipt of their French travel document (PP)?

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As a CDS-V holder, do you owe income tax on worldwide wages, despite having no work rights in France, as a requirement for being a resident?

Or, is your tax liability relegated only to property, capital gains, retirement-type pensions, etc.?

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Is there a quantitative value (aka magic number) for demonstrating your financial independence while living in France without work rights, or is this a qualitative "yeah, that's enough" amount to annually provide with crossed fingers?

Can income from wages demonstrate financial means, or must the asset be derived from a pension, brokerage accounts, rental income, etc., only?

Must these assets be in France, or simply accessible from France?

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Will I be required to remain in France for any specific amount of time to maintain residency? 183 days, 270, so-many-days out of so-many-years leading up to the application for citizenship (cough Commonwealth cough), etc. I understand the initial inability to travel while awaiting your first CDS.

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I would love to get back to France. I taught there years ago, as an assistant d'anglais, on a CDS. Will this affect my current aspirations, as my application for a CDS-V will not technically be my first?

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With this career, establishing residency in a Western nation with a strong passport is a challenge, as there is often a physical presence requirement associated with maintaining residency. And I thought this job would make it easier to travel the world! :confused2:


:tea:THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEARING WITH ME,:tea:
:help:AND FOR ANY HELP YOU MIGHT OFFER REGARDING MY SOMEWHAT COMPLEX CIRCUMSTANCES!:help:​


I hope the questions I've asked are good, clear and of future use to current and upcoming forum members.


Cordialement,

Andy




Fun bonus links:


Guide for US Residents Residing in France: france.usembassy.gov/root/pdfs/bluebook.pdf

Awesome world maps: cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/docs/refmaps.html
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum. In truth, your circumstances aren't all that complex, but I think you may be a little disappointed with some of the answers.

For immigration purposes, I am essentially looking to retire to France, while still being actively engaged in employment outside France. Let this not imply any desire for non-compliance on my part, but simply that the path retirees have been known to follow seems potentially suited to my circumstances.
Read on...


My situation:

28y/o American looking to relocate to France and obtain citizenship.

Looking to purchase a property.

Not looking for work rights.
OK, this is the first sticking point. If you're 28 years old and not looking to work, you're going to have a hell of a time qualifying for a visa.

Looking to maximise time outside France (I work offshore throughout the world) while maintaining recognised residency requirements that will lead to eventual citizenship.
Again, a sticking point. You need to be RESIDENT in France for at least 5 years before citizenship is any sort of option. Residency, in this case, generally includes paying taxes and (more importantly) cotisations (social insurances - basically, health insurance and retirement).

Willing and desiring to be tax-compliant.
So noted.

Interested in set up of business vehicle for legitimate tax / immigration advantage, if relevant.

Interested in any referrals forum members might offer re: lawyers and advisors with experience re: my particulars.
Setting up a business entity in France also requires residency in France. If you've got a really interesting business plan, you may want to look into the "competences et talents" visa, which requires you to propose a project (usually a business plan of some sort) that will benefit France in some manner (creating employment for French people in some up and coming sector is probably a good bet).


Consequential queries:

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Can an annually, consecutively-renewed CDS visiteur act as a path to citizenship?
No.

Will this mean five renewals, or (for example), a switch to a PR after three, with all the associated administrative paperwork and turnaround, between me and my new passport?
A visiteur CDS often isn't renewable. You'd need a renewable form of CDS (usually with working privileges) and it's more or less up to the local prefecture when you "graduate" to a 5-year CDS or to a 10-year carte de residente (which I suppose equates to a PR status).

Any non-native French nat'ls have a timeline for how long it took them, from arriving with the long-term visa, to receipt of their French travel document (PP)?
You can't get a French passport until and unless you have a carte d'identité, which is the only "proof" of French nationality. The details on French nationality are here: Nationalité française - Service-public.fr (in French). Generally, you need 5 years of residence before you can apply for nationality - and then it usually takes about a year for that process to go through. They do, however, include a number of disclaimers stating that just because you meet all the requirements listed and submit the documents they ask for, they still have the right to turn you down for nationality if they feel you aren't appropriately "integrated" (actually, they use the word "assimilated") into French society and way of life.

As a CDS-V holder, do you owe income tax on worldwide wages, despite having no work rights in France, as a requirement for being a resident?
No, as a French resident, you owe income taxes and cotisations on your worldwide income. As a visiteur, you're not considered resident in France, and chances are your CDS is not renewable.

Or, is your tax liability relegated only to property, capital gains, retirement-type pensions, etc.?
Retirees who have an annually renewable CDS are subject to full French taxes on their worldwide income. (There are, of course, tax treaties that mitigate against double taxation.) I don't believe, however, that retirees are granted CDS-Visiteurs in the first place.

Is there a quantitative value (aka magic number) for demonstrating your financial independence while living in France without work rights, or is this a qualitative "yeah, that's enough" amount to annually provide with crossed fingers?
Actually, it's very difficult for anyone "of working age" to get a long-term visa for France. It's not a matter of just fulfilling the requirements posted on the Consulate website. If you are not going to be working in France (with an approved work sponsor), what counts most is your "reason" for asking for a long-stay visa. They then evaluate whether or not your income is adequate to support you in pursuing whatever your reason is - assuming, of course, that they find your reason for wanting to live in France to be convincing.

Can income from wages demonstrate financial means, or must the asset be derived from a pension, brokerage accounts, rental income, etc., only?
If you are drawing wages or salary while residing in France, you are considered to be working in France and thus you must qualify for a visa with working privileges.

Must these assets be in France, or simply accessible from France?
If you are resident in France, you declare and are taxed on your worldwide income - and, if applicable, your worldwide assets are subject to French wealth tax.

Will I be required to remain in France for any specific amount of time to maintain residency? 183 days, 270, so-many-days out of so-many-years leading up to the application for citizenship (cough Commonwealth cough), etc. I understand the initial inability to travel while awaiting your first CDS.
There are no restrictions on traveling once you have arrived in France and established your residency there. Residency, however, is determined by a number of measures, not simply by the number of days you spend in country. Especially if you're looking to apply for French nationality, you'll be expected to demonstrate your integration into the community - membership in clubs and associations, maintaining a principle residence, bank accounts, "principle center of interest" which includes work, speaking the language, etc.

I would love to get back to France. I taught there years ago, as an assistant d'anglais, on a CDS. Will this affect my current aspirations, as my application for a CDS-V will not technically be my first?
Prior visit to France won't hurt your application for a visa, but it won't necessarily give you any great advantage in getting a long-stay visa, either.


With this career, establishing residency in a Western nation with a strong passport is a challenge, as there is often a physical presence requirement associated with maintaining residency. And I thought this job would make it easier to travel the world! :confused2:
As I mentioned above, "residency" (especially for tax purposes) is primarily determined based on "the facts and circumstances of each case" - not by a single criteria, such as physical presence. In your situation, you could probably establish residency in France if you have a wife and family based in France while you're traveling around, so long as you return regularly to the family homestead and they are legally based in France. But to establish residency in France, first you need to qualify for an appropriate visa - and that's where I suspect your problem is.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Just to add to Bev's excellent and comprehensive reply, if you had a EU passport, you could do precisely what you propose to do without much difficulty, but as a non-EU national, France, or any other European nation, won't like what you are going to do and throw up all kinds of real and contrived barriers to stop you doing just that. They want people who will set down roots in the country, to pay taxes and make a useful contribution to their adopted country, not to use it as a base for eventual EU citizenship. So I feel your best bet is to get a visa with working rights, probably through sponsorship by a business or enterprise established in France, which could be a subsidiary of a US corporation. Then try to make France your real, permanent home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Bev,

Thank you for your reply. For the sake of community knowledge and discussion, a few clarifications on some of your points.


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If you're 28 years old and not looking to work, you're going to have a hell of a time qualifying for a visa.
When you say "visa", are you referring to the initial long stay visa, or are you referring to a CDS as a visa, as opposed to a document giving resident status, that would work towards the five-year requirement?

If you mean the LSV, I encourage you to refer to consulfrance-washington article401 which describes the "Long stay visa for non professional purpose". Not looking to work, in this case, will not be an issue.

I do, however, understand your caution as regards the REASON to apply for the LSV:

Actually, it's very difficult for anyone "of working age" to get a long-term visa for France. It's not a matter of just fulfilling the requirements posted on the Consulate website. If you are not going to be working in France (with an approved work sponsor), what counts most is your "reason" for asking for a long-stay visa. They then evaluate whether or not your income is adequate to support you in pursuing whatever your reason is - assuming, of course, that they find your reason for wanting to live in France to be convincing."
One non-working couple's trial in '06 can be read at French About Dot Com "visa-residencecard.htm"

This article also suggests the "magic number" of demonstrable financial means being set at ~2000 euros/person/month. In my case, 24,000 euro/year.

I applied for and received an LSV in '04, before it could take the place of the CDS for your first year (as of July of this year, I believe: "If granted,the visa issued is a "Long Stay as Resident Card visa" valid for a maximum of one year.", from the consulfrance-washington link above). I did have an approved work sponsor at that time, which may have given me rose-coloured glasses re: the process.

This brings up an interesting question, however. Does this new LSV confer residency rights, as regards the five-year requirement? Its title, and the fact it replaces the first year's CDS seem to suggest it (if CDSs themselves count, anyway).

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The information below conflicts with the first portion of the first statement, and the second portion of the second statement which follow:


A visiteur CDS often isn't renewable. You'd need a renewable form of CDS (usually with working privileges) and it's more or less up to the local prefecture when you "graduate" to a 5-year CDS or to a 10-year carte de residente (which I suppose equates to a PR status).

...

Retirees who have an annually renewable CDS are subject to full French taxes on their worldwide income. (There are, of course, tax treaties that mitigate against double taxation.) I don't believe, however, that retirees are granted CDS-Visiteurs in the first place.
Use of the CDS-V is common practice among retirees, from what I read in the Bluebook:

Retiring in France:

In order to stay in France after you retire, you must prove three things:

1) You must prove that you have the financial means to live in France without working; i.e., your pension must be sufficient;

2) You must demonstrate that you have comprehensive health insurance coverage that is valid in France. (You may be able to continue your current health insurance or you may need to buy a new health insurance policy either in France or from the U.S.);

3) You must demonstrate that you have a place to live in France.

When you make your application at the French consulate in the U.S. to reside in France, you should explain your reasons for wanting to stay in France. If your application is approved, you will be granted a carte de séjour mention visiteur, which allows you to remain in France but not to work.

The carte de séjour can be renewed indefinitely, on an annual basis, as long as you present proof that you have adhered to the requirements.


Apparently, the CDS-V is also employed by those PACSed to an EU citizen, primarily only for their first year (though it can be renewed), before they can prove un an de vie commune, to apply for a CDS "vie privée et familiale". I refer you to ielanguages DOT COM /cds.html.


The CDS-V, therefore, has applications outside retirement (also addressed at this link).
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I understand that you believe the CDS-V does not confer resident status, in the context of the five-year requirement ("As a visiteur, you're not considered resident in France, and chances are your CDS is not renewable."). It is, however, renewable (if you successfully make your case, non?). As regards this, as well as the second portion of the first statement quoted above ("You'd need a renewable form of CDS (usually with working privileges) and it's more or less up to the local prefecture when you "graduate" to a 5-year CDS or to a 10-year carte de residente (which I suppose equates to a PR status)."), do you mean to imply that ALL CDSs do not confer residency status that satisfies the five-year requirement? Do they (as in some other countries) instead confer TEMPORARY residency status which satisfies only a pre-requisite for a country's PR equivalent? And does this mean that in France, as in some other countries, it is in actuality the residency under PR that counts for the five-year requirement? Sometimes TR counts towards overall R, sometimes only towards PR. Which one is France?

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You need to be RESIDENT in France for at least 5 years before citizenship is any sort of option. Residency, in this case, generally includes paying taxes and (more importantly) cotisations (social insurances - basically, health insurance and retirement).
If you believe that some forms of CDS residency do count towards the five-year requirement (I do not know if this is the case), I would fancy the leap in logic to include the CDS-V among them, as they are all subcategories of the same document. You may be called a Visiteur, but you are just as fully obliged to pay the same taxes and cotisations of which you've spoken. From how I read the documentation, you are a resident, but a resident held to the specifics of your subcategory, which include a declaration that you will not pursue renumerative employment in-country. I might easily be wrong, and I would love to hear testimonials from people who have done / are doing this, particularly as regards whether or not CDS residency counts towards the five-year requirement!

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"Residency" (especially for tax purposes) is primarily determined based on "the facts and circumstances of each case" - not by a single criteria, such as physical presence.
I am still unsure if physical presence, for a certain period per year, among the other criteria examined on a case-by-case basis, is a legal requirement for residency. I know it is for tax purposes. You are not required to pay taxes if you are present less than 183 days/year (I am knowingly oversimplifying). So, to "maintain" TAX residency, you must be in-country, at minimum, just over the half-year mark. If I were gone more, and still paid taxes, to meet my RESIDENCY requirements...this is all conjecture. This IS or IS NOT an issue, and is clearly stated or not stated, somewhere or nowhere, in all countries' immigration laws. Anyone?

Your statement, however, Bev, encourages me. As my particular "facts and circumstances" are such that I wish to live in France, buy property in France, PAY TAXES in France, on money I'm making elsewhere, it would seem in the country's best interest to let me out to make as much TAXABLE income as possible each year! That's just me on a rant, however.

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They do, however, include a number of disclaimers stating that just because you meet all the requirements listed and submit the documents they ask for, they still have the right to turn you down for nationality if they feel you aren't appropriately "integrated" (actually, they use the word "assimilated") into French society and way of life.
This would not be an issue. I speak the language, having studied it for years, having been coming to France for years, having a host family and many friends in France for years, having future schooling in France, would be having all the accounts, property, business, being more contributory than most, having the desire to live there, but not switch careers or wait 10 years to do so. The crux is I want citizenship out of the deal.

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Are there any retirees on here that have gotten or are working towards French citizenship? Are you doing it on a series of CDS-Vs? Or maybe you moved on a CDS-V, and are now on a CDR. Did the CDS-V residency count towards the five years? *Sigh* Retirees don't work in France, but some must've gotten citizenship there, or intend to, correct? What do they do?

I appreciate your taking my counterpoints in stride and in the correct context, Bev. The primary reason I posted on here is because I kept coming upon your patient and diligent correspondence with other forum members. I have seen you PM advice to other members re: legal counsel. Might I ask the same? I am fully prepared to pay a retainer for some hard answers on these subjects, potentially establishing future work to assist me with the process, given the character of those answers.

Best,

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Joppa,

I believe you have misconstrued my intent, or perhaps simply my perspective. It is the circumstances of my career that put me in this position: my intentions towards France are as true as anyone working on her soil. I am not sure of your age or experiences, but many individuals from my generation, and particularly my field, are in a different position in an ever-shrinking world, and migrating from one country to another needs not be so life-changing an event as it was for my parents when they became citizens of Australia. I am not up and leaving a well-established life, holdings and sense of identity behind in America. My identity is internal. I feel strong ties to France, but I don't live in a mindset where I take all of my eggs from one basket and place them all in another. There's too much out there to live with one basket.

I do not mean to imply that this is how you live your life. However, when you describe "what I am going to do" as if I'm attempting to get away with something, and imply that I do not fit in amongst those who "will set down roots in the country, to pay taxes and make a useful contribution to their adopted country", when my initial post explicitly states the contrary, and then go on to contrast these individuals with those who might "use [France] as a base for eventual EU citizenship", as if that is what I'm attempting to get away with, and as if the EU, and not France, is my focus, I am put in the position you find me in now.

Some prefer the blue pill, some the red. It depends on one's perception of the "real", and the "contrived barriers" one has or has not established in one's own mind.

In any event, thank you for your suggestions, and insight into the thinking of every-single-last-citizen of "France, or any other European nation", towards "a non-EU national" with my circumstances.;)
 

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Hi Andy,
You can argue all you like with my logic or how I replied to your plan, but most folks who have successfully negotiated the issue of French residency and taken French nationality will probably confirm that logic plays very little role in the process.

To answer one of your questions, though, a visa is merely a document that grants you entry to France (or any country). Once admitted, you need to then "register" your arrival and the facts and circumstances of your visa, which leads to a CDS or some other form of residence document (including the validated visa that they appear to be using instead of the first year's CDS for certain categories of immigrants).

So, your first step is to apply for and receive a long stay visa. And, as it states on the website for the Boston consulate:

>>REMARKS: The Consular services have full authority to appreciate and request more documents than those submitted by the applicant. The latter is hereby informed that submitting the aforementioned documents does not ensure automatic issuance of the visa.<<

If you're interested in how the CDS works for true retirees living in France, I would suggest that you contact AARO (the American Expat association based in Paris). AARO - Association of Americans Resident Overseas They have many retirees as members and can probably explain to you how the process works. Procedures have changed since I was active in AARO (and got to know some of the retirees), but AFAIK, the retirees had to renew their CDS every year, even those who had lived for ages in France - because they had to show proof of their medical insurance each year. (FWIW, most of the dual qualified attorneys in Paris are members of AARO, so it' s a good way to make contacts in that area, too.)

I do know an American couple who was retired and applied to take French nationality. (Not quite what you are considering, because the husband had worked in France for 20 years or so before retiring in France - so they were on the French social insurance system.) The couple was turned down because of how their interview went - something about the fonctionnaire conducting the interview being a Communist (French Communist Party member, not just a raving anti-Capitalist) and taking some sort of offense at something about the husband's career or lifestyle or who knows what. (They don' t have to give you a reason if they reject your application.) Even after more than 20 years of living and working in France, paying taxes and all that good stuff. Such is Life in France.

Good luck with your quest - and do keep us informed how things progress for you. If you've read many of the threads here, you' ll see that there is often no rhyme or reason to why some visa requests are successful while others aren't.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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