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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am having the most difficult time finding an answer to what seems to be a simple question so I am hoping someone out there can assist. Here's the jist... I am an American currently living in the USA and am employed by an American company. I have the ability to work from anywhere though; I just need an internet connection. I would love to take advantage of this situation and live in France, with my family, but continue to work for my current employer. Does anyone know what kind of visa I would need or if this setup is even permitted?

Thanks,
Dave
 

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Basically, visa regulations don't seem to include provision for "telecommuting" - not in France and not anywhere I'm aware of.

The international convention is that you are working in whatever country you are physically located in while doing the work. So working online from France is working in France - and so you are expected to be properly registered and paying into the French social security and tax systems. It does not matter where your employer is located or based.

If your current employer has a French office, you could work from there on a transfer basis - but your employer would have to pay the French "payroll taxes" (i.e. social insurances) which are significantly higher in France than in the US. For that reason alone, most US employers are unwilling to transfer people to France (or other European countries).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Bev for the great information. That clears up all of my questions... Much appreciated.

Regards,
Dave
 

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What Bev says is correct, including the part about visa regulations not having kept up with the Internet.

A problem is that technically, almost every business person who visits a country on a short term visa, or a visa waiver program, is in breach. Go to the convention, then back to the hotel, and get on the Internet and work. Review sales figures, write a proposal, even answering emails is all 'work'. Does it matter? No. Will these people ever be in trouble with immigration? No. So where is the line drawn? No-one knows.

Technically I've worked illegally on ever visit I've made to the US in the last twenty years (except now, I have work authorisation). And I guess by the same definition I work illegally in France when I'm there.
 

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The regulations vary a bit from one country to the next. In France, there are three criteria for being considered "tax resident" in France - and if you meet any one of the three, you're supposed to file a tax declaration. Working during a few days of a visit, or even making a "business trip" to France that lasts for a few weeks, does not subject you to French taxation.

For France, the key things are: residing in France (i.e. maintaining your primary residence here), conducting a business in France or having your main centers of interest here (a somewhat vague thing that can be interpreted in a variety of ways).

The OP here has asked about living in France with his family while doing work for a US company. That definitely qualifies as being resident in France and thus subject to French taxation.

Even the US allows for folks to make business trips to the US and, unless the person is a US citizen (and thus subject to US taxation for life), that doesn't really affect their tax status.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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