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Hi there everyone. I want to relocate to the south of France in the area around Nice as soon as possible. I realize that it is extremely difficult for a non-French, non-EU person to obtain employment in France especially since my French is beginner at best.

I am a veterinarian and if I want to become licensed as a veterinarian in France, I would have to take a three-day examination offered once a year which is entirely in French. So becoming licensed in France is something that I would have to consider in the future after I become fluent in French.

I have applied for many jobs as a veterinary nurse. I found one veterinarian that was interested in hiring me but who ultimately decided that he did not want to go through the process necessary to help me obtain my long-term work visa.

I have also applied for jobs working as an assistant, working as a guardienne for private homes, and working in gites. I owned and managed a motel for over seven years so I have a lot of experience in this. However, the gites where I have applied wanted me to work for free in exchange for accommodations. I would still need to have some income to pay for food, medical insurance, clothes, car, etc.

I am working on trying to establish "location-independent income" by writing books. I have published my first book and it generates a small amount of royalties each month. I am preparing to write a series of short books about medical problems in dogs and cats.

I have memberships to several housesitting websites. I have found a number of homeowners offering long-term housesits for a year or more. The housesits are not paid but are free accommodations in exchange for caring for animals, plants, grounds, etc. Some of them offer odd jobs that you can do to make some money.

My question is whether I could apply for a long-term visa and tell them that I was going to be housesitting and therefore would not have any payments needed for rent or utilities. Therefore, my monetary needs would be quite small. I know that they want to see that you can support yourself if you are not working.

I have spoken to several people that are offering housesits and they generally are not willing to cooperate in helping me to obtain my visa and they do not want to classify me as an employee.

How would the French consulate in charge of issuing visas view this? Would they accept the fact that I was getting free accommodations and adjust the dollar amount they wanted me to have to show that I could support myself for a year? Would they say that it was, in fact, employment, and cause problems for the people offering the housesit?

I suggested to one homeowner that I could apply for my long-term visa and tell them that I was staying with friends because she was quite adamant that she did not want to have me classified as an employee. The homeowner told me that she did not think I could get a long-term visa on that basis.

Does anyone have any other ideas as to how I can make my dream of living in the south of France come to fruition? Or a job for me?

-Rachele
 

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Unfortunately house-sitting is very unlikely to get you a long-stay visa. The issue is that you are "working" in France, and to do that you need to have your employer jump through the hoops of getting authorization to hire a foreigner.

Just like in the US, your accommodation counts as remuneration for the "work" you are doing - and ultimately would have to be declared on your French tax declarations as well as on your US tax returns. (To be fair, just take a look at the rules for someone looking to come to the US - house-sitting wouldn't cut it for them, either.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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