Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

Husband (currently 62) and I (currently 57) are planning to retire in France at some point, but most likely in the next 3 to 7 years (it really depends on when we decide that we have built our net worth to a point that we feel we have a comfortable nest egg for life). We’ve visited France multiple times, and our reason for retiring there are multiple, so I won’t get into all that. Suffice it to say, the decision is not a quick one but after much research and consideration over the last four years.

That being said, after all my research there is one thing (among others) that is not clear, and I’m hoping forum members can weigh in. I am asking based on current policies - I realize that things may change post-Covid. My question is regarding minimum income for approval of a long-stay visa, as it applies to married couples.

To make a long question a bit shorter, if my husband’s state pension is at least double the minimum income requirement, will that be sufficient to allow both of us to qualify? Or do each of us have to show that we have pensions equal to or exceeding the minimum income for an individual? And can anyone give me a sense of that amount? I’ve seen widely varying amounts, anything from as low as €521 (!!!) a month to about 1549€ (which seems more likely). We will also have income from a substantial investment portfolio, but as I understand, the focus is more on income from pensions and the like rather than on investments.

My question isn’t whether we will have enough money to live on in France but specifically on pension income, as I will not be old enough for social security by the time we move, and I’d prefer to minimize withdrawals on my employer-sponsored Simple IRA retirement account.
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
18,642 Posts
Hello all,

Husband (currently 62) and I (currently 57) are planning to retire in France at some point, but most likely in the next 3 to 7 years (it really depends on when we decide that we have built our net worth to a point that we feel we have a comfortable nest egg for life). We’ve visited France multiple times, and our reason for retiring there are multiple, so I won’t get into all that. Suffice it to say, the decision is not a quick one but after much research and consideration over the last four years.

That being said, after all my research there is one thing (among others) that is not clear, and I’m hoping forum members can weigh in. I am asking based on current policies - I realize that things may change post-Covid. My question is regarding minimum income for approval of a long-stay visa, as it applies to married couples.

To make a long question a bit shorter, if my husband’s state pension is at least double the minimum income requirement, will that be sufficient to allow both of us to qualify? Or do each of us have to show that we have pensions equal to or exceeding the minimum income for an individual? And can anyone give me a sense of that amount? I’ve seen widely varying amounts, anything from as low as €521 (!!!) a month to about 1549€ (which seems more likely). We will also have income from a substantial investment portfolio, but as I understand, the focus is more on income from pensions and the like rather than on investments.

My question isn’t whether we will have enough money to live on in France but specifically on pension income, as I will not be old enough for social security by the time we move, and I’d prefer to minimize withdrawals on my employer-sponsored Simple IRA retirement account.
The low end figure is definitely not for long stay visas, but approximately what is now required for Brits moving under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Sorry, I have no idea how much you need for your visa, though others here should have an idea. Be aware, though, that income from investments can be counted, at least to the extent it does not run down the investment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The low end figure is definitely not for long stay visas, but approximately what is now required for Brits moving under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Sorry, I have no idea how much you need for your visa, though others here should have an idea. Be aware, though, that income from investments can be counted, at least to the extent it does not run down the investment.
Ok, now the low figure makes more sense. I saw it recently and got confused as it was so much lower than the figures I had seen in the past. Thank you.

Still wondering if my husband’s income will apply to both of us, if anyone knows.
 

·
Registered
Lived in California, Florida, and Mexico - plan to immigrate to France in 2022
Joined
·
29 Posts
Hello all,

Husband (currently 62) and I (currently 57) are planning to retire in France at some point, but most likely in the next 3 to 7 years (it really depends on when we decide that we have built our net worth to a point that we feel we have a comfortable nest egg for life). We’ve visited France multiple times, and our reason for retiring there are multiple, so I won’t get into all that. Suffice it to say, the decision is not a quick one but after much research and consideration over the last four years.

That being said, after all my research there is one thing (among others) that is not clear, and I’m hoping forum members can weigh in. I am asking based on current policies - I realize that things may change post-Covid. My question is regarding minimum income for approval of a long-stay visa, as it applies to married couples.

To make a long question a bit shorter, if my husband’s state pension is at least double the minimum income requirement, will that be sufficient to allow both of us to qualify? Or do each of us have to show that we have pensions equal to or exceeding the minimum income for an individual? And can anyone give me a sense of that amount? I’ve seen widely varying amounts, anything from as low as €521 (!!!) a month to about 1549€ (which seems more likely). We will also have income from a substantial investment portfolio, but as I understand, the focus is more on income from pensions and the like rather than on investments.

My question isn’t whether we will have enough money to live on in France but specifically on pension income, as I will not be old enough for social security by the time we move, and I’d prefer to minimize withdrawals on my employer-sponsored Simple IRA retirement account.
Like you, I've seen no official amount listed. It seems the embassy has an amount but they don't publish it.

Since you say you have a "substantial" investment portfolio, I would think it would be sufficient.

In case you have looked, here is the French government website (in English) related to long-term stay visas: http://france-visas.gouv.fr/en_US/web/france-visas/your-arrival-in-france

And this is a PDF from the French government (in English) on moving to and living in France:
https://www.immigration.interieur.gouv.fr/content/download/98030/768999/file/Livret_Venir-vivre-en-France_sept2016_EUK.pdf

I have found them very helpful. Like you I am a US citizen (currently living in Mexico with a permanent status) who is looking to move to France in the next couple of years.
The nice thing about getting permanent residency in Mexico is that they stated an exact amount (in MXN so it needed to be converted). If you find a more specific amount, let me know.

I finally found the information I needed about taxes. That too was not clear and often contradictory. So I went directly to the tax treaty between the US and France. It can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/international-businesses/france-tax-treaty-documents

For me, I have government pensions and retirement accounts and a nice size investment account that I don't use for daily living. It was clear that government pensions and retirement accounts with funds earned in the US would be taxed ONLY in the US. So the thing I kept reading about France taxing on ALL income no matter where in the world it was earned was not quite correctly stated.

Once I found this clarity from the tax treaty, I made up my mind to move. Now I just need travel restrictions lifted so we can work out more details.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
That appears to be for European citizens :confused:
Shucks. I just went back to the site and read it again, and I think you are right. Now I’m back on the internet hunting for info. Since France outsourced the visa application process, it is much harder to find official info online than when I first started researching 4 years ago.
 

·
Registered
Lived in California, Florida, and Mexico - plan to immigrate to France in 2022
Joined
·
29 Posts
In thinking through the actual amount of money you need to show for "resources to justify" I have come to a decision that I"m going to use as I prepare. Let me know what you think. Here is my reasoning:

You first enter on a Long-Stay Visa.
Once there you have to continue the process but I don't see where it shows an amount that needs to be demonstrated in France. The amount is "justified" in the US.
To get the Long-Stay Visa you need to have a specific amount that is clearly stated on the French Immigration page.

65 euros per day of stay in the case of presentation of a hotel booking;
120 euros per day in the case of non-presentation of a hotel booking;
In the case of a partial hotel booking: 65 euros per day for the period covered by the booking and 120 euros per day for the remainder of the stay.


So if the visa is for one year, then you'd need to demonstrate 365 days times the 120 if you have a rental agreement.

That works out to 43.800 Euro which at current exchange is around $51,300 USD. That sounds like a reasonable amount but I have no idea if this is what is actually used when they determine if your resources are "justified" when you apply for the visa and state that you are planning to establish residency in France.

I'd love to hear if people have experience in the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
luckylyn5 -- It depends, 2X the SMIC (your 1549 EUR number,) with a demonstrable "sizable investment portfolio" should be fine. The French system is not nearly as cut and dry -- you may be fine in a small city, but if you're planning to live in Paris, they may want twice as much. I have also seen tomwins' numbers in various "guides" and they makes sense. Bottom line, if you can demonstrate you can support yourself (tell your story,) you shouldn't have any issues. Cheers, 255

P.S. France also taxes you as a "family unit;" so I wouldn't think it would matter where the money is coming from, you or your husband's income streams/accounts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
So after searching through the internet for hours today (and I am pretty good at online research as I have a Masters in Library and Information Science, though I don’t work as a Research Librarian as planned), I’ve concluded that France does not publish a specific minimum monthly income requirement but just says that you need sufficient financial resources to support yourself while in France. All I’ve found is anecdotal info on various websites and blogs.

However, it appears (again, through anecdotal evidence) that the focus is on total financial resources, not just income. So, I’m thinking that the documentation of the combination of my husband’s state pension plus our investments will be sufficient.

Thanks again to those who replied, and I welcome any additional info if available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
luckylyn5 -- It depends, 2X the SMIC (your 1549 EUR number,) with a demonstrable "sizable investment portfolio" should be fine. The French system is not nearly as cut and dry -- you may be fine in a small city, but if you're planning to live in Paris, they may want twice as much. I have also seen tomwins' numbers in various "guides" and they makes sense. Bottom line, if you can demonstrate you can support yourself (tell your story,) you shouldn't have any issues. Cheers, 255

P.S. France also taxes you as a "family unit;" so I wouldn't think it would matter where the money is coming from, you or your husband's income streams/accounts.
We will be living in Rennes, so I think we will have enough. I’ve done research into the cost of renting or buying an apartment there (we haven’t decided which yet), aa well as other coat of living items, and we have created an approximate budget that shows that we can live comfortably there on our income (which will also grow once we are both on social security, meaning less reliance on investments at that point) and investments. We love Paris to visit, but we prefer a smaller more affordable city to live (we want to live in a city centre not in a rural/village) to be car-free and have close access to the essentials.

Thanks for the reassurance that we will likely be reviewed as a family unit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,568 Posts
I should wait until I'm awake but

The consulates have a fair bit of discretion. The riskier they think you might be (Younger for example or non stable income) the higher the standard they'll require.

Depending on what you mean by investment income the consulate may or may not feel comfortable. A pension they can look at and know it's relatively safe. They'll know you can't just liquidate it overnight to stock the wine cellar.

For your budget remember to include a fudge factor for currency movements. Don't count on the current low exchange rate. If you do a search here you'll likely find a few people who have had problems when the exchange rate went against them.

You need emergency money. Things will pop up. You'll need to buy things you haven't thought of in years.

Between rent,food,utilities the minimum required income doesn't leave a lot of room for surprises.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
48,765 Posts
Before you move to France it helps to try to come to grips with the notion that France is not at all a "legalistic" society like the US, UK, Canada or other English speaking countries tend to be. For visa purposes, you will need to demonstrate an "adequate" income (or financial resources) - but the French prefer not to specify a fixed amount because they know that people will try to game the system.

For visa purposes, your best bet is to refer to the SMIC (the French "minimum wage" - though it is used for many other purposes). While it usually isn't necessary to have twice the SMIC in income to support two people, it sure doesn't hurt if your pension covers that amount.

For residence permit renewal, they are going to look at your overall situation, not the precise amount of your income. Some people can get by on the SMIC - others can't. It can depend on where you're planning on living and how familiar you seem to be with France.

What they actually want to know is can you get by on what you have. There have been many cases where people are rejected for a visa "for inadequate financial resources" when it's likely there was "something" about their application or interview that didn't seem right - possibly having nothing to do with finances. The best approach is to just be yourselves and be forthcoming with the information they ask for (without answering questions they haven't asked).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Before you move to France it helps to try to come to grips with the notion that France is not at all a "legalistic" society like the US, UK, Canada or other English speaking countries tend to be.
The best approach is to just be yourselves and be forthcoming with the information they ask for without answering questions they haven't asked)).
That, for me, sums the matter up in a nutshell ..
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
18,642 Posts
luckylyn5 -- It depends, 2X the SMIC (your 1549 EUR number,) with a demonstrable "sizable investment portfolio" should be fine. The French system is not nearly as cut and dry -- you may be fine in a small city, but if you're planning to live in Paris, they may want twice as much. I have also seen tomwins' numbers in various "guides" and they makes sense. Bottom line, if you can demonstrate you can support yourself (tell your story,) you shouldn't have any issues. Cheers, 255

P.S. France also taxes you as a "family unit;" so I wouldn't think it would matter where the money is coming from, you or your husband's income streams/accounts.
The SMIC is apparently a rule of thumb, though essentially the minimum expected per person. There is no actual/formal figure. It is your Consulate that makes the decision and it seems they try to at least get a feel for your anticipated lifestyle, that would likely include from your proposed temporary accommodation. From what many US members of the forum have reported, though, the consulates are pretty reasonable, at least if you take along plenty of supporting information to your interview. Given that each member of a married couple has to make a separate application (and will have a separate interview), I guess you should make it clear that you are both applying and relying on the same income.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thank you to all. I am pretty confident that we will be fine financially once we move to France, even with changes to the exchange rate. That is why we have such a range of when we plan to move - 3 to 7 years - because my husband (who has an MBA) has crunched the numbers and come up with a minimum amount we need to add to our net worth to be financially comfortable for life, and he has calculated conservatively allowing for exchange rate changes. We won’t be rich - we aren’t now - but to be able to live a comfortable “middle class” lifestyle, travel through Europe, etc.

I think based on all your responses, we can make a good case that we have adequate financial resources. I was just hoping not to have to draw as much on my Simple IRA in the beginning (it’s getting huge returns, at least for now, so I’d like to leave as much in there as possible for as long as possible), but if I need to so that we can show a higher monthly pension income, I can.

I’m one of those people who checks everything three times (very detail oriented), so when the time comes, I’ll have prepared a a solid binder of supporting documents (with copies of course).
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top