(Formatted for reels) For those interested in moving to France, here are a few things that “surprised” me. Students and those with the VLS long-stay tourism visa do not go through the immigration process because, ultimately, you will be heading back to your country of origin.
If there is one thing I would suggest to those of you thinking about going through this process, give yourself A LOT of grace and extra time. I originally planned on getting settled in and digging into my work projects right away. I had no idea how taxing and time-consuming all of this would be. So, please be kind to yourself, don’t overschedule, and be proactive about managing the stress associated with this change.
Surprise 1: I knew about the language test, but I wasn’t expecting to have to take it the same day as my first OFII appointment. The test is a combination of writing, reading, and a verbal interview with your intake representative. I passed mine. But I have heard of people who fail to be assigned 200-300 mandatory hours of language courses. The time and location of the classes are not of your choosing.
Surprise 2: My carte vitale took 14 months to receive and required a mediator to get involved. My dossier was lost when I moved departments during my immigration process (this takes months, btw), something I do NOT recommend doing.
Surprise 3: I honestly thought I could get away with not having a car in France and tried for the longest time. By the time I caved, it was too late. Some soon-to-be US immigrants switch to a state that has a reciprocity agreement before they move to France. Smart.
Surprise 4: The French business system here is wildly different than the States. I have to register each activity, and just one addition can put me into another tax category or business formation entirely. I have to check with my accountant each time to be sure of the possible negative impact of adding services or products as my business grows.