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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

I love the forum here. I just joined.

You could draw a graph representing the US debate on social policies and my wife and my interest in finding a different country to move to. Every day the chance of a national health plan that does anything besides stuff the wallets of private insurance companies grows more and more remote. So, I am here.

Just a little info and a couple questions to make sure I'm not barking up the wrong tree:

First, we wouldn't be looking to move to France for several years - 3 to 5. We still need to learn the language (to the extent one can before immersion) and finish our degrees.

Second, a question: I'll have a PhD in English Literature or an MFA in creative writing in about 4 or 5 years (I'm working on a first master's degree right now, and haven't decided which of the two degrees to head into afterward). This qualifies me for tenure track positions in the US (subject to availability and the job market, of course), and I'm wondering if something like an English Literature PhD would be viewed as a "critical skill" to the French government, and, especially if I also could pass a test showing a rudimentary grasp of the French language, and was committed to become fluent (of course!), are there French or international universities that would want another guy with a PhD in English? Or would I really need to have some element of French literature scholarship in my study track to really make myself marketable?

Third, a question: My wife is 22 and in a Mortuary Science program. By the time I finish my schooling, she will likely be working as an embalmer for a mortuary. Is this a marketable skill in France, or is cremation the custom? If this is unmarketable in France, I wonder if there are any EU countries in which embalming is a big part of culture? My wife is an astounding pianist. If it weren't for the sort of health-insurance demands that the US system puts on its citizens, she would possibly aim for a conservatory and do an art degree instead of the practical mortuary degree. Is an Art degree something the French government would look favorably on or not? I have the same issue in regard to my potential pursuit of an MFA, a creative writing art degree, except that in the US it is a terminal degree for teaching as a professor.

Fourth: My wife is in bad health — her kidneys are failing. Is the French government likely to wish to keep us out of the country if she will certainly have to use the medical system there, or will they, assuming one or both of us has secured long-term employment there, completely overlook that?

I'd appreciate any response. My previous employer, a young entrepreneur whose Bachelor's degree is in French Lit and who studied in France 10 years ago, has suggested that we may have a hard time gaining residency in France. But I don't remember if he said we'd have a hard time establishing "citizenship" or residency.


Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I'll add that the reasons we are looking at france are:

1. I'd love to learn the language
2. My wife has spent weeks in the southern regions and enjoyed it (I know weeks is nothing, and obviously we would return for long periods of time before moving there)
3. We love food and wine (haha, and I'm sure that makes us very special and different than everyone else)
4. I'd love to learn the literature, especially after talking to my ex-boss so much about it
5. Ideologically, we believe in a system in which our taxes are high and certain needs are subsidized.

But I've also been looking at Germany and Sweden, again, mostly because I have a friend/old roommate who is Swedish, and because I have family who lived in Germany and recommend it.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

To get to the point, yes, you will have a tough time establishing residence in France - and by that I mean getting a long-stay visa. To get a long-stay visa, you have to get a job. And frankly, universities in France are state-run and thus teaching at a university is usually a "fonctionnaire" post (i.e. civil service). You won't get support for a visa for a fonctionnaire post as a US citizen. There are some private universities in France, but given that they can get English lit and other PhD's from the UK with no visa requirements, again, you're looking at a long shot.

To be honest, I don't know what the requirements are for a mortuary employee in France - and any online source I might be able to find on this is guaranteed to be in French. The customs for funerals are a bit different from those in the US - but at the moment, burial is the standard, with cremation something "new" that is just starting to catch on. (Namely because it's cheap.)

But if either of you were to manage to find a job where the employer would sponsor you for a visa, the spouse would get a visa that does not permit them to work in France. If you each try to come on your own working visa, you could run into trouble should one of you lose your job for any reason.

Your wife's health probably wouldn't factor into any visa decision all that much. Granted, there is a health exam, but the main purpose is to ascertain that you're not contagious. A friend of mine came over to France on a trailing spouse visa just after receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer and the French medical system took care of her without a hitch.

Germany won't be a whole lot easier (been there, done that). But the language may be easier to learn for a native English speaker due to the common roots.

What I would suggest would be to do as much travelling as you possibly can in the next 4 or 5 years. Visit France, Germany, Sweden, and anywhere else that interests you. Only by going there and checking things out in person are you going to be able to tell what your possibilities might be. You might find some niche that you could fill that will be your ticket in. (I did - and it turned out to be the fact of being a tri-lingual accountant with US accounting experience.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

To get to the point, yes, you will have a tough time establishing residence in France - and by that I mean getting a long-stay visa. To get a long-stay visa, you have to get a job. And frankly, universities in France are state-run and thus teaching at a university is usually a "fonctionnaire" post (i.e. civil service). You won't get support for a visa for a fonctionnaire post as a US citizen. There are some private universities in France, but given that they can get English lit and other PhD's from the UK with no visa requirements, again, you're looking at a long shot.

To be honest, I don't know what the requirements are for a mortuary employee in France - and any online source I might be able to find on this is guaranteed to be in French. The customs for funerals are a bit different from those in the US - but at the moment, burial is the standard, with cremation something "new" that is just starting to catch on. (Namely because it's cheap.)

But if either of you were to manage to find a job where the employer would sponsor you for a visa, the spouse would get a visa that does not permit them to work in France. If you each try to come on your own working visa, you could run into trouble should one of you lose your job for any reason.

Your wife's health probably wouldn't factor into any visa decision all that much. Granted, there is a health exam, but the main purpose is to ascertain that you're not contagious. A friend of mine came over to France on a trailing spouse visa just after receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer and the French medical system took care of her without a hitch.

Germany won't be a whole lot easier (been there, done that). But the language may be easier to learn for a native English speaker due to the common roots.

What I would suggest would be to do as much travelling as you possibly can in the next 4 or 5 years. Visit France, Germany, Sweden, and anywhere else that interests you. Only by going there and checking things out in person are you going to be able to tell what your possibilities might be. You might find some niche that you could fill that will be your ticket in. (I did - and it turned out to be the fact of being a tri-lingual accountant with US accounting experience.)
Cheers,
Bev
Bev,

I am a little confused re: the health issues and health coverage... it is our understanding that in order to apply for the visa, you need to submit proof of health insurance. Furthermore, it is my understanding that the gov't health ins would not be available for some period of time for those working in france.. Could you clarify? Also, if a retiree comes into france and pays his taxes (not employed), does that person have the availability of health insurance after a period of time?
 

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Bev,

I am a little confused re: the health issues and health coverage... it is our understanding that in order to apply for the visa, you need to submit proof of health insurance. Furthermore, it is my understanding that the gov't health ins would not be available for some period of time for those working in france.. Could you clarify? Also, if a retiree comes into france and pays his taxes (not employed), does that person have the availability of health insurance after a period of time?
Coming from the US, if you are not going to be working in France you need to provide evidence of health insurance equal to the national plan. If you're going to be working, you're covered by the national plan (that's where a sponsor for your visa comes into play - they are in essence guaranteeing that you will be part of the national benefits system).

There isn't a formal "waiting period" for health benefits to kick in, but there is a certain period of time it takes to get you enrolled and to get your carte vitale (social security card) issued.

Retirees need to provide evidence of health insurance as they have never paid into the national plan, and thus do not have any rights to it. I know US retirees here who have lived in France for years and still have to show evidence of their insurance every time they renew their carte de séjour. Retirees from other EU countries have reciprocity based on their contributions to their national systems.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Coming from the US, if you are not going to be working in France you need to provide evidence of health insurance equal to the national plan. If you're going to be working, you're covered by the national plan (that's where a sponsor for your visa comes into play - they are in essence guaranteeing that you will be part of the national benefits system).

There isn't a formal "waiting period" for health benefits to kick in, but there is a certain period of time it takes to get you enrolled and to get your carte vitale (social security card) issued.

Retirees need to provide evidence of health insurance as they have never paid into the national plan, and thus do not have any rights to it. I know US retirees here who have lived in France for years and still have to show evidence of their insurance every time they renew their carte de séjour. Retirees from other EU countries have reciprocity based on their contributions to their national systems.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks for clearing that for me..
 
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