Moving to France from the US: The Simplified Process

Moving to France from the US

Stop for a moment, and picture the European countryside or city. Chances are, those images were of a place in France. Moving to France from America would be a dream, right?

France is considered to be the cultural capital of Europe. Many luxury goods such as Dom Perignon Champagnes and Louis Vuitton handbags all come from France.

Picture the art of Monet and Van Gogh, and hear in your head the music of Debussy and Camille Saint-Saëns. This alone would be enough to inspire the most wanderlust to drop everything.

Many would consider immigrating from America to France to be something most would think to be untenable. However, if one who was a touch more pragmatic were to consider it more carefully, they would come to learn that relocating from America to France is a decently good idea.

Table of Contents

Things to know before moving to France

If you are considering moving to France from America, you will need to prepare a few things.

  1. For one, you will need quite a bit of paperwork and other important legal documents such as:
    • Your birth certificate with parental affiliation
    • A marriage certificate if you happen to be married
    • Private health insurance documents, tax returns from the previous two years
    • Your driver’s license
    • Car registration documents
    • Car insurance documents and no-claims bonus information
    • Medical documents, educational records
    • Your valid visa
  1. Be aware of the taxes you will have to pay as an American living in France, as your properties in America are still taxable and will have an impact on the tax you pay in France, and the U. S. only will deduct $107,600 from the income you make in France which you owe to the American government. Be sure to have an accountant who can guide you through this issue.

  2. Then, you want to be sure that you have a place to actually live in when you immigrate from America to France. It might be beneficial to rent in the beginning while you look for your ideal home. Additionally, many of the documents listed in the first paragraph will be necessary for the agencies to allow you to buy a house, so they are very important to keep track of.
  1. A crucial fact to consider when moving to France is that most major service providers require you to have a French bank account, so it is important to set up a non-resident account before you decide to relocate to France, then update the account when you have an address in France.
  1. Finally, you will need to get healthcare. In France, most people use the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie, the public option, as depending on your financial position, it can be free. Again, they will need many of the aforementioned legal documents, so again, keep track and keep safe the documents listed above.

Cheap shipping to France from the USA

If you’re putting some thought into moving from the US to France, you will need a method of moving your possessions from America to your new home. This brings up the question, what is the cheapest way to send a package from the US. to France?

The first option if you’re on a budget is to ship your small packages through the United States Postal Service, which will allow you to ship a ten-pound parcel for $78.47. This is perfect if you don’t plan on bringing much, or you’re maintaining the property in America.

However, if you have a bit more to take (i.e. furniture, appliances, and so forth) then Earth Relocation’s groupage containerization would be a perfect choice. A groupage container offers the advantages of containerization but without the cost of a whole container. Get a free quote today

Prices start from $795 onwards and can vary depending upon the location & country you are going to.

Cost of living in France vs the USA

Despite what you might think, the cost of living in France is actually comparable to the cost of living in America. Of course, depending on your lifestyle, it could differ, however, if you are able to live as the French do, you will find that it isn’t as expensive as one would think to move to France from America.

Criteria
Price in France
Price in USA
Avg. Monthly disposable salary
$2762
$3259 (18% more than France)
Basic utilities
$182.36
162.08 (13% more in France)
Transportion
$22531
$20000 (13% more in France)
Real estate
$1754
$1686 (4% more in France)
Clothing & Shoe
$114.67
$76 (51% more in France)

Provided is a list of comparisons between prices of certain goods in France and the US:

Item
Price in France
Price in USA
Lunch in the city
€17
€12
Fast Food
€9
€7
1 Bottle of red table wine
€8
€14
Pants
€88
€39
Visit to the doctor
€25
€91
Antibiotics
€7
€14
Cigarettes
€10
€7
Dinner at Upscale Restaurant
€59
€65

Working in Paris as an American

Many of you may be wondering, can Americans move to France, and how hard could it be? This is clearly not an easy task. Finding work and being able to work in Paris as an American is not an easily achievable goal, but it is still completely possible.

The first step is to know what industry and job are you headed; are you looking to be self-employed? Working to teach English or in the tourism industry? Are you here on business? Each individual will have a different situation, but the most important thing is that you have work to do upon arriving in France.

Additionally, this may not apply to everyone, however, if you’re an American expat, you may be wondering, where can I work in France? You may think it would be hard to find work, however that is certainly not the case.

As an American expat, you can find work such as an English language teacher in Paris as well as au pairs, which are primarily set up through host families, doing domestic tasks.

Additionally, depending on your skill, your employer, and company, other jobs can be acquired with the right amount of skills and networking.

Among all of the jobs that you can have in France, some pay more than others. It’s important to note the highest paying jobs in France. In annual salaries, lawyers and accountants top the charts at roughly $23,000 per month, or $276,000 a year.

Additionally, doctors, dentists, and insurance workers make similar figures. Other high paying jobs to consider also include real estate agents, management consultants, as well as financial analysts.

These jobs make the most money in France, so consider this when job hunting! Additionally, those of you working in France may be thinking, how can I contribute to my 401k? By setting up a personal account, you can contribute to your 401K, but it is highly recommended that you consult an accountant for more information on your specific situation.

Working in France will require a work visa if you are already not a French citizen. However, as mentioned earlier, you will need to find work before you apply for a work visa. In fact, France actually has a three month tourist visa, which means you can stay in France for 3 months as an opportunity to then find work and apply for a work visa. To immigrate to France from America is not difficult, but it does require some planning!

US travel to France visa requirements

Many of you may be wondering, how long can I stay in France? Can I move without a job? And do I need a VISA for France from the U.S.? The answer is yes, you do need a visa to stay in France, and the length for visitors is 90 days, however it can be extended with a visa.

In order to truly move to France from the USA, it is important to understand what type of visa works best for you. You can simply stay in France off of a legal American passport for three months.

However, it’s very essential to know what direction you’re headed into for staying longer than that time. There are multiple types of visas that Americans can acquire in order to lengthen their stay at the beautiful country of France.

➤ Work visa

the most important fact to know about this visa is that you have to find work before you make the leap to arrive in France, as mentioned earlier. Be prepared for a lot of logistics and paperwork!

Once you find a job, you will need to go through having your work contract approved by the French Labour Ministry. Additionally, the employer and company that decides to hire you will need to explain why they are hiring you, and not an European! So be ready to handle all of this if you do decide to get a work visa.

➤ Spouse visa and the student visa

Pretty self-explainable, right? However, it is also important to understand how these visas work if any of them apply to you specifically. If you are married to a French person, you will be able to get a 12 month visa.

There is paperwork that comes with this, such as proof of your spouse’s nationality, a residence form, etc. A student visa is also helpful to all students dreaming to study abroad in France.

However, as they are moving from the USA to France, they will need proof from their French campus, proof of enrollment, financial guarantees, and even more!

There are also other types of visas, such as the au pair visa and the special talent visas, but chances are, these don’t apply to you! Despite the obstacles in paperwork and complications with acquiring a visa, moving to France from the USA is still an amazing idea.

What are the pros and cons of living in France?

When you are thinking about immigrating to France, it’s helpful to consider the pros and the cons of living in France!
Pros
Cons
(1) France has a fascinating culture! Many think of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and more; but that’s just the capital. There is a lot to be explored about France, as well as other beautiful cities, such as Marseilles and Bordeaux. Lots to explore!
(1) The cost of living is very expensive! Basics, such as electrical bills and rent, as well as amenities such as gymnasiums can be significantly more expensive than in America.
(2) France has a place for everyone : in terms of choices to live, there’s a lot that France can offer, from mountains, beaches, cities, and the countryside.
(2) Language barrier: for those who do not speak French; it may be helpful to learn basic French before making the big move.
(3) There is also a low crime rate compared to the rest of the world, and it’s become a lot more sustainable within the past decades.
(3) It can take a lot of time to settle in! You will have a relatively difficult time adjusting to all the paperwork that needs to be filled out in order for a complete move; acquiring a place to live, a bank account, a driver’s license, and more will be a bit of a hassle.

However, relocating to France from the USA is still a good idea! Once you finish going through the bureaucracy and the hassle of settling down in France, there is a lot to enjoy, such as the food, the culture, and the atmosphere of French life.

Best place to live in France

France has always been a firm favorite among the ex-pat crowd seeking to make the big move overseas. France also offers an enviable climate with reliable summers and a varied landscape providing the opportunity to enjoy both snow-laden, winter escapes as well as hot beaches on the glittering south coast. For those who are moving to France from the US the best places to live in France are:

  1. Toulouse, Haute-Garonne. This area in the south-west of France is known for its balmy summers and temperate winters.
  2. Bordeaux, Aquitaine.
  3. Rennes, Brittany.
  4. Nice, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
  5. Limoges, Haute-Vienne.

FAQ's

➤ Is moving to France a good idea?

Moving to France is a wonderful idea! It’s hard to ignore the wonder that comes with the French culture. In fact, France is consistently one of the most visited countries in the world, with 83.7 million visitors in 2017. Surely, this indicates the attractiveness of France to the rest of the world.

➤ How to live in Paris as an American?

Living in Paris as an American can be difficult at first, but it gets easier! The important thing is to plan and make sure you can have the smoothest transition possible. Be sure to have work ready, your moving sorted, and it can’t hurt to spend some time learning French.

➤ Can Americans move to France?

Americans can move to France! Relocating to France from America is entirely possible. In fact, there are approximately 150-200 thousand Americans living in France as of 2015.

➤ How long can a US Citizen stay in France?

A US Citizen can stay in France depending on their type of visa. For visitors, the limit is 90 days and with a work visa, the stay can be extended.

➤ Where can American expats work in Paris?

American expats can work in Paris as English language teachers, as well as au pairs, which is primarily set up through a host family, doing domestic tasks. In addition, depending on your skill and your employer and company, other jobs can also be acquired through the right amount of skill and networking.

➤ Can I move to France without a job?

With a tourist visa, you are allowed to legally reside in France for up to 3 months without obtaining employment. However, if you wish to stay for longer, you must have a job before you can apply for a work visa.

So ready to move now? Pack that portmanteau and gear up to move to France from USA.

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