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A Survival Kit For Paris

Jean Taquet, our favorite legal advisor whose words of wisdom have graced our pages for the last two years in his monthly Q and A column and in the “Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France” and who has spoken at each of the Working and Living in France Conferences about “Obtaining the Right to Be in France” (immigration issues) is making big changes in the way he does business.

One action he has taken recently was to register the name “A Survival Kit for Paris” which describes the nature of his business well. In France, the complete trademark process is done through an organization called the Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle (I.N.P.I.), costs less than 300 euros for 10 years of protection and takes about an hour.

He is still looking for new office space — 20 to 25 square meters with a rent of about 350 to 400 euros a month located in the 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, or 11th arrondissements in Paris and is seeking leads urgently, should you know of something.

In this month’s column, he highlights the new immigration law called the “Loi Sarkozy,” which was passed on November 26, 2003, and has modified the system in some important ways:

The following is an excerpt from Jean Taquet’s February 1, 2004 column (which can be read in its entirely by visiting /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html):

First, EU/EEE and Swiss citizens no longer need a carte de séjour. France now considers their national ID valid as a French ID. This is quite a revolution, since France has always been suspicious of foreigners and thus tried to control and monitor those living on its territory. This change in the law pretty much means that people from these European countries should be treated like French people, and is another step in the direction of setting up a federal state at the European level.

For those expatriates working in France for American corporations, there is also a favorable new regulation. After they receive the first carte de séjour for one year, at renewal time the second card can be issued for up to four years. As far as I know, this is now the only carte de séjour that will be for more than one year. In addition, some legal and fiscal considerations now make it easier and cheaper for these foreigners to live in France.

On the other hand, there is increasing suspicion regarding foreigners marrying, or already married to, French citizens. A couple must now be married two full years before the foreign spouse can hold a carte de résident, the 10-year card. Further, a foreigner who tries to marry a French citizen without first having adequate residency status will definitely be suspected of a fake marriage. Now a carte de résident cannot be requested until the person has lived in France for five years – that is, having held a total of five cartes de séjour – not three years as was formerly the case. And one must prove complete integration in France, which can be quite difficult, to get the 10-year card.

Another issue is that it used to be possible to get residency status after living in France 10 or 15 years no matter what one’s status, even illegal alien; and in the process receive the right to work as an employee, with no possibility of this being vetoed. Now, for every year that it is proven that the foreigner worked in France without having the appropriate immigration status, at least one year will be deducted when accruing rights toward the carte de séjour. This provision makes it almost impossible for illegal aliens to get legal status, since almost all need to work, one way or another, to survive in France.

Also, keep in mind that there is always an official and a hidden list of requirements at the Préfecture — the only way to deal with this situation is to bring many more documents than the ones officially requested. This cannot be repeated often enough.

Another change in French legislation that can make a difference is that when a corporation is set up, the headquarters can be in the founder’s home for five years now, rather than for two years as before. It is also important to note that while the amount of capital needed to establish certain types of companies has been lowered to one euro, from 7,600 euros or 50,000FF previously, this applies only to activities that do not require any sizable upfront costs — which, after all, is quite rare — and in which there is not a need to meet with clients on a regular basis. Indeed, residential properties usually have very strict rules about the public going in and out, as well as any equipment not compatible with the residential nature of the place.

Jean Taquet for Parler Paris

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. If you need Jean Taquet’s advice on a personal issue or to subscribe directly to his monthly Q and A column, send an email to Jean_Taquet


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