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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently doing an internship in Paris, but have to return to the States in January to finish my studies at my university and graduate in May. I plan on moving to France permanently right after that, so I am trying to find a job right now. I have two main questions and I hope some Americans who have been through the same thing can help me out because this process is extremely difficult!

1. I e-mailed a company to see if they had any openings, and they told me to e-mail them my resume, and also my proposed residence, visa status and work permission in the EU. My question is: what would I put as my visa status? From what I understand, an American can not get a work visa unless they have a job, and if they get a long-stay visa instead they can't have a paid professional activity. How does this work?

2. My second question is concerning a long-stay visa. They ask you to state what your business in France is, and I have no idea what I would put for that. My boyfriend is French and he is the reason that I want to move to France, but I can't very well put that on my visa application. Do any other Americans have a long-stay visa and can give me some advice?

This whole situation is confusing and I would like to try and get it sorted out as soon as possible. Please help if you can! Thanks so much!
 

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The situation is actually fairly straight-forward. As an American, you have no inherent "right" to come back to France and live when you finish your studies. To get a long-stay visa, you either need to have the backing of an employer (who has gone through the rather arduous process of getting approval to hire a foreigner for the particular position that is open) or you need to have a "family" reason - like you're going to marry the boyfriend. You could come back as a student, but you'd have to move back to the States when you finish your program. (Not to mention having to pay full tuition and be subject to limited working hours.)

1. The company is trying to tell you that they won't consider your resume unless you already have a work permit for France. As a foreigner, your resume should include this information - or in your case, you need to indicate that you have American citizenship and are single, plus your age. If you do this, however, you are likely to get very little response to your resume unless you have some skill, training or experience that is in desperately short supply in France.

When I was looking to come to France (15 years ago), the consulate wouldn't even give you a visa application form unless you had a written job offer from a French employer. Nowadays, the employer needs to get permission to hire from the OFII, and then they send an authorization form to the consulate where you may then apply for a long stay visa.

2. The reason for your wanting a long-stay visa is, in some ways, the most important question on the visa application form. It determines what additional documents and proofs you'll need to submit. In your case, the direct route would be if you were planning to marry your French boyfriend - then they would ask for all his personal id (i.e. to "prove" that he is really French and that you are really planning on getting married, that he can support you, etc. etc.).

If you say you're going to France to look for work, you won't get a long-stay visa (and, if the consulate staff is considerate, they won't even accept your visa application).

Sorry to be so gloomy, but I've been in more or less the same situation. I got bad advice from the consulate and, although I did marry my French boyfriend, it took nearly two years after that to "regularize" (i.e. legalize) myself here in France. It isn't fun being a ******* here.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bev,

Thanks so much for your reply! It cleared up some things I was confused about. However, I've got a few more (I have a feeling that anyone dealing with all of the formalities always has questions!). My boyfriend and I do plan to get married, but not within the next year or so. We are not formally engaged either. With that said, if I apply for a long-stay visa, would they accept it seeing as we plan to get married but just not within the next few months? Or do they need a definite date and things such as that? Thanks so much!
 
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Were it that simple. No, you have to provide proof of the forthcoming marriage, as well as all the other stuff.

I'm not even sure that you can get a long-stay visa on the strength of a forthcoming marriage - it may only be a 3 month Schengen, needing a return ticket to your place of residence abroad as well.
 

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Nope, they don't actually have a "fiancé visa" as such. There is a stipulated period of time in which the marriage has to take place - though I'm not sure now (rules just changed June 1st) if it's 3 months or 6 months. But for non-EU nationals looking to marry French nationals, you do have to get a long-stay visa "with a view to marriage" or some such wording. (Oddly enough, it's completely different if you're looking to marry an EU national resident in France... go figure.)

OTOH, just for a chuckle, go check out the US laws regarding fiancé and spouse visas. It could be far worse than what you're facing in trying to get to France. Or, you may decide it would be easier for your fiancé to join you in the US when you finally decide to tie the knot.

The trouble with all immigration law (and with the French law in general) is that those administering it have a wide range of discretion. Just because you meet all the conditions listed on the website or in the law books to qualify for a visa (or residence permit/carte de séjour) doesn't mean you will necessarily get it. There are probably more laws defining reasons you can be denied a visa than conditions to fulfill for getting one.

However the process is excellent training for Life in France. Nothing is ever quite as it seems and the "logic" behind these things often makes you feel like a character in a Kafka novel.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I'm in the exact same position as you are! I'm finishing my studies at university, then planning to move to France to join my French bf. The only difference is that we're tying the knot in the US before going to France, so the visa issues are different.

For jobs, I would suggest applying to French internships while in school. It's a good way to get a foot in the door of any company, and I think that many are paid (does someone want to verify that?) Either that, network with a company in the US that has an office in France. From the brief time I spent there, I learned that it's better to know someone, a piston as they call it....
 
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