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Old 05-05-2010, 11:45 AM   #61
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UK Border Agency | British citizenship

The link for the Brits.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #62
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That's a risk you have to take. Immigrating to a new country is a process and there are no guarantees (no matter what that country might be). What I know for sure is that if you don't try, you'll never get the French citizenship. I personally have met few Americans who are willing to become French citizens (for a variety of financial and cultural reasons). Yes, I have met plenty of Francophiles but, even among those people, few would really consider taking it to the next level. So you may have a hard time finding Americans who have gone through this process. Consider that in 2003, less than 7,000 people out of the roughly $140,000 who became naturalized French citizens came from North and South America. The vast majority of immigrants came from poor, mostly African, countries. Out of roughly 3.5 million immigrants living in France, Americans have a contingent of only 31,000 (less than 1% of the total). Based on that number, it is possible that as few as 1,000 Americans become French citizens every year... So you might as well be looking at a needle in a haystack.
Thanks for those figures. You confirm what my limited reading was telling. Me. There is probably Buckley's Chance that I would ever get French citizenship.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:53 AM   #63
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Thanks for those figures. You confirm what my limited reading was telling. Me. There is probably Buckley's Chance that I would ever get French citizenship.
Actually what the numbers say is that very few Americans try to get the French citizenship... It says nothing about your chances of success.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:54 AM   #64
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You do have to be able to communicate in French. I am not sure whether fluency is required.
I'm thinking you are right and as I said, we had an office in Toulouse, and folks who worked there for many years and most pretty fluent in French but none of the 5 or so that I know have been able to gain citizenship. But as I recall, the local prefecture (or whatever the local authority was) had total authority on things involving residency and I guess it was up to them to decide whether your French was "up to truffle" so to speak.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:00 PM   #65
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Introduction page and menu for residence

This is something I have had bookmarked for a while. Also Firedreamer can probably confirm, but taxes in France are quite high aren't they, so not sure you would want to volunteer. I can remember when DH worked in Paris, his payslip seemed to take a ream of paper to detail all the deductions.
That's true and this is one of the reasons why we see little immigration from rich countries like the US. Consider a roughly 20% VAT, a wealth tax, fairly high "social taxes" (the equivalent of payroll taxes in the US but with a broader revenue base) and a pretty steep income tax system. Hardly enticing for (generally) well-off Americans. Actually what we are seeing is well-off French citizens leaving...
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:02 PM   #66
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I'm thinking you are right and as I said, we had an office in Toulouse, and folks who worked there for many years and most pretty fluent in French but none of the 5 or so that I know have been able to gain citizenship. But as I recall, the local prefecture (or whatever the local authority was) had total authority on things involving residency and I guess it was up to them to decide whether your French was "up to truffle" so to speak.
Where they expats or immigrants? If they were expats and were being paid by a US employer, then they did not qualify for citizenship (remember your main source of income has to originate in France for at least 5 years in order to qualify for the citizenship).
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:06 PM   #67
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That's true and this is one of the reasons why we see little immigration from rich countries like the US. Consider a roughly 20% VAT, a wealth tax, fairly high "social taxes" (the equivalent of payroll taxes in the US but with a broader revenue base) and a pretty steep income tax system. Hardly enticing for (generally) well-off Americans.
Maybe not be very enticing at the current time but just wait a couple of years and France may be inundated with immigration requests.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:48 PM   #68
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What it comes down to is what type of visa those Americans were on. If it is an intercompany transfer they probably have no entitlement to permanent residency. It's the same in the US, there are some of the E series visas which allows you live and work here, but no entitlement to green card.
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:05 PM   #69
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What it comes down to is what type of visa those Americans were on. If it is an intercompany transfer they probably have no entitlement to permanent residency. It's the same in the US, there are some of the E series visas which allows you live and work here, but no entitlement to green card.
I do not know the exact details of how our employees were paid but Firedreamer's comments make me suspect that they were merely supplied to the French airplane manufacture EADS (Airbus) and I can't recall ever knowing where their paychecks were written.

I've lost most of my contact with them after being retired for so long, but I know some were retiring and working like mad on getting residency. Don't know all the details. I've sent some emails but don't know if they are still at their old addresses.

Sounds like the only hope (since I'm retired and plan to stay that way) is to find an investment/fund transfer method.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:09 PM   #70
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What it comes down to is what type of visa those Americans were on. If it is an intercompany transfer they probably have no entitlement to permanent residency. It's the same in the US, there are some of the E series visas which allows you live and work here, but no entitlement to green card.
That is how it was with me and a couple of colleagues I knew. Step 1 was to upgrade the E visa to an H visa although I don't think that is always necessary.

When I did mine, all the application and paperwork was done in the US but I had to go out of country and go to a US Embassy to get the actual visa stamped in the passport. I did it on my next business trip to Brussels, walked into the embassy handed over the approval paperwork and they put the visa in my passport. I then applied for a Green Card and was rejected twice (as I explained before).

A year later when my colleague did the same thing his next business trip was to the UK and he took his paperwork into the US Embassy in London where they turned him down - said the US INS had got it wrong. He returned to the US on his existing E2 visa and the company lawyers decided this time that they would try straight for a Green Card and it worked (you don't have to leave the country to get a Green Card and the processes to get a Green Card are confusing enough for our lawyers to understand).
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:53 PM   #71
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I don't really understand the OP's desire for citizenship vs permanent residence. In some countries, even citizenship can be stripped under certain circumstances.

Becoming a citizen only makes you a citizen on paper, but won't make you a "local" to the locals. You'll always be the American unless you can fake a realistic accent for the rest of your life.

Even if you manage to speak French fluently or Australian English with no accent, you'll still be the "American" an more likely the "rich American" which can open a whole new can of worms.

There are privileges to being a citizen of the country in which you live, mainly being able to pass your citizenship on to your children and other benefits to younger folks. Other than that, for a FIRE, I don't really see the point (this from a a dual citizen).
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:02 PM   #72
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There are privileges to being a citizen of the country in which you live, mainly being able to pass your citizenship on to your children and other benefits to younger folks. Other than that, for a FIRE, I don't really see the point (this from a a dual citizen).
I agree with your post above. On your last point, it depends how important it is to you to be able to vote. If you don't care to vote and have no other relatives you want help with citizenship then no big advantage to getting citizenship in the country you are living.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:02 PM   #73
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Where they expats or immigrants? If they were expats and were being paid by a US employer, then they did not qualify for citizenship (remember your main source of income has to originate in France for at least 5 years in order to qualify for the citizenship).

Very interesting catch here FD.... when I was working in the UK, I was being paid by a US company in US $$$s into a US bank... so if income is one of the requirements, I failed...

They did put a 'bonus' in a UK account for me to live on for awhile... and I would draw money from the ATM to buy my food and stuff...

Now, don't get me wrong, the UK taxed all of that plus the cost of my flat and the other items that were 'deemed' to be income to me... I have never even come close to that years income every again
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:11 PM   #74
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I agree with your post above. On your last point, it depends how important it is to you to be able to vote. If you don't care to vote and have no other relatives you want help with citizenship then no big advantage to getting citizenship in the country you are living.
I agree and it's true in many cases, but some countries allow permanent residents to vote as well, just depends. Here in Estonia, permanent residents can vote in all municipal elections as mandated by the EU.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:29 PM   #75
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I agree and it's true in many cases, but some countries allow permanent residents to vote as well, just depends. Here in Estonia, permanent residents can vote in all municipal elections as mandated by the EU.
Very interesting - thanks.

In the USA you have to pay taxes if you are a resident but you can't vote unless you are a citizen. (Taxation without representation )
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:03 PM   #76
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One thing that you need to take into account would be death duties in the locations you desire. ARe you thinking you will renounce your US citizenship? I think death duties are quite steep in the UK. They are zero in Australia, as they did away with taxes on estates a good 20 years ago and there has been no talk of them returning.

Alan, we are just doing the switch from E3 to H1 to faciliate the green card process. We will go to the Consulate in Sydney when we are in Oz in July. We had the option of sending our passports to US Immigration to have them stamped, but we are just not that brave as who knows when we would see them again. Last time when we were on an E2, if we did the extension in country we had to send our passports away for 4 months. With our green card application, when it comes does to the final stage we are going to go the consulate route as they seem more competent than they are in country.
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:39 PM   #77
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Ah, Trek, that is the question. If I leave the US to become a citizen of either Australia, France or the UK, it will be to become a full-fledged citizen and do all things related to citizenship. Vote, live, die, be buried there.

As for ever being considered a local, my father was born in Maine, he moved to Brevard, NC at age 26, and 60 years later he is still "that guy from up North".

Luckily I moved to CA at age 19 and am only know as "that gringo".
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:24 PM   #78
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Alan, we are just doing the switch from E3 to H1 to faciliate the green card process. We will go to the Consulate in Sydney when we are in Oz in July. We had the option of sending our passports to US Immigration to have them stamped, but we are just not that brave as who knows when we would see them again. Last time when we were on an E2, if we did the extension in country we had to send our passports away for 4 months. With our green card application, when it comes does to the final stage we are going to go the consulate route as they seem more competent than they are in country.
I don't blame you at all for your approach. Mailing off your passports for 4 months would be very nerve racking
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:50 AM   #79
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Zero,

From about 2 minutes of googling, I found forums and examples of individuals that discuss how they are getting French citizenship. Looks like a lot of hoop-jumping, loooooong multi-year waits, lots and lots of forms, fees, expenses, etc. And no guaranteed outcome (as others here have stated). Having relatives or a spouse ease your citizenship request, as does having french based income.

If you are really dedicated to emigrating, I'm sure you'll find a way to pursue this course of action. Yes, it appears very difficult. No, it doesn't look any more difficult than getting into America. If you don't have any special "ins" to get into America, then it is a lottery. Even siblings of US citizens may have to wait many years to be sponsored and admitted. Long difficult, arduous process with no guaranteed outcome going into it. At the end of many years of waiting, you may hit a brick wall and be faced with leaving your intended new country of citizenship without recourse and without much notice time-wise.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:26 PM   #80
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Zero,

From about 2 minutes of googling, I found forums and examples of individuals that discuss how they are getting French citizenship. Looks like a lot of hoop-jumping, loooooong multi-year waits, lots and lots of forms, fees, expenses, etc. And no guaranteed outcome (as others here have stated). Having relatives or a spouse ease your citizenship request, as does having french based income.

If you are really dedicated to emigrating, I'm sure you'll find a way to pursue this course of action. Yes, it appears very difficult. No, it doesn't look any more difficult than getting into America. If you don't have any special "ins" to get into America, then it is a lottery. Even siblings of US citizens may have to wait many years to be sponsored and admitted. Long difficult, arduous process with no guaranteed outcome going into it. At the end of many years of waiting, you may hit a brick wall and be faced with leaving your intended new country of citizenship without recourse and without much notice time-wise.
Same reaction I had. About a month ago, I started the Google searches. Way too many versions out there of how to do it. And 100s of stories, some probably not even accurate. In the end, I could find not one who succeeded and then put the details out there to follow.

So, looks like the best option will be to apply for a one year permanent residency visa here in the US. Using retirement as the reason for seeking it. Show funds, show insurance and takes my chances on getting the next step.

My 2 years of French, and immersion into the French society for one year will hopefully result in a sufficient level of proficiency to pass that part of the exam.

Thanks for all the good information.
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