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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a journalist in the US in the early stages of looking into moving to France. I have none of the common connections (ie, marriage, job, etc), and from reading this forum I have a pretty good idea of the difficulties. So I would love anyone and everyone's advice, but don't bother with telling me it's difficult or a long shot - I already know that.

I have a few potential visa options... Since I work for a well-known American publication, it's possible they can help me, but not at all guaranteed since I wouldn't be moving for work. I'm also a part-time student at an American university, so it's possible that I could be accepted to continue studying at a French university. I also think, considering my skills and somewhat unhinged passion for France, I could put together a pretty convincing projet for the skills and talents visa. If all else fails, I will probably risk starting out on the tourist visa while I look for something more permanent.

Other relevant details: I know French pretty well, and would have a high-level certification from the Alliance Française before this happened. My wife works in nonprofit communications in human rights, so has potential job opportunities with the UN or other international organizations in Paris that could potentially help with the immigration process, but again, not guaranteed at the moment.

So. Given all that, would any people with expertise or a similar experience be willing to advise on what they think the best of these options might be, or where to start?

Many thanks in advance, and for your excellent advice throughout the forum.
 

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As far as your wife is concerned, the options in Paris are: OECD or UNESCO. For either of those, at a certain level you're considered part of the "international civil service" and thus don't need a visa at all. (Also, at that level, your salary from the organization is free of French income taxes - not, however, from US taxes, though you're still entitled to the FEIE.) Not sure what the status is for accompanying family members - whether or not you'd be able to work if you were your wife's "trailing spouse." With her background, she may want to look at the UN organizations headquartered in Switzerland.

For the skills and talents visa, you need a "project." We've had a number of folks through here recently who have managed to get such a visa, so hunt around a bit in some of the old threads here to get some ideas what sort of project you might be able to propose. (Submit your proposal/business plan in French and I guarantee you'll get "brownie points" in the visa process!)

Be sure to make vacation trips over to France to gather information and to scout out possibilities. Having a little bit of "on the ground" experience is always helpful in the visa process, too.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much, Bev. I wondered how much conducting the application process in French would help, since I would be able to do that.

I'm going to throw a couple of random questions out that I'm confused about, and maybe someone will feel like answering, though I'm sure they've been asked many times before.

--Why does France care if you do your US job from there, spend your salary in France, and don't ask for any kind of government benefits? I assume the problem is like that then your company would need to be set up to do business in France and pay into the French social benefits system, and most US companies have no incentive to do that just so an employee can live there. But it just seems odd that they'd turn down the economic benefit of a US-employed person living in France doing a job a French/European person would never have had anyway. Do I have right that such a thing is pas possible, or is there some sort of way around it?

--I'm in the process of talking to fellow journalists about how they did, since many US reporters move to France all the time. In the meantime, I found this page that seems encouraging but offers very little information:
ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article361 (can't post a URL, but add http to the front). Anyone know where I'd look to find more details about journalist visas? (In French is ok.)

Thanks!
 

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--Why does France care if you do your US job from there, spend your salary in France, and don't ask for any kind of government benefits? I assume the problem is like that then your company would need to be set up to do business in France and pay into the French social benefits system, and most US companies have no incentive to do that just so an employee can live there. But it just seems odd that they'd turn down the economic benefit of a US-employed person living in France doing a job a French/European person would never have had anyway. Do I have right that such a thing is pas possible, or is there some sort of way around it?
I think you've hit on it perfectly. The social insurances here really ARE a big deal. For you to be resident in France means that you should be contributing to the system - paying your cotisations - and if you are working and paying your social insurances elsewhere (where they do you no good) then it's a problem.

The reason the US companies don't want to set up an employee in France is because the employer portion of the cotisations runs a cool 40% of the employee's gross salary. That's considerably more than the employer portion of social security in the US and it makes having employees in France much more expensive than keeping them in the US.

--I'm in the process of talking to fellow journalists about how they did, since many US reporters move to France all the time. In the meantime, I found this page that seems encouraging but offers very little information:
ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article361 (can't post a URL, but add http to the front). Anyone know where I'd look to find more details about journalist visas? (In French is ok.)
Journalist visas are always subject to special requirements (even for a journalist visa for the US). The requirements seem pretty clear to me, especially the part here:

• A letter addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the press outlet designating the journalist as a permanent correspondent and specifying his duties and his salary. A minimum of €1,000 per month is required. The applicant must also provide proof of salary (pay slip, bank statement…)
Journalists are taken seriously in France. They used to get rather exceptional tax breaks, though those were reduced a few years ago.

For more information on the journalist visa either talk to the French consulate covering the area in which you currently live in the US, or consult the website for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs France-Diplomatie (I would try the French side of the site - usually has more detailed information.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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