Words Of French Wisdom On April Fool’S Day
Every month, Jean Taquet, who is our favorite legal advisor, expresses words of wisdom that have graced our pages for the last two years in his monthly Q and A column and in our electronic guide the “Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France.” He has spoken at each of the Working and Living in France Conferences about “Obtaining the Right to Be in France” (immigration issues), but missed our recent San Francisco conference due to a move to new (and now temporary) offices. He was sadly missed.
We are all relieved that he is now “installé” at the American Church in Paris (ACP) at 65 quai d’Orsay, 75007. What he discovered in his quest for small office space is that…”there is not an established real estate market for such small offices. Real estate agents and management agencies can only accommodate you if you need 50 square meters or more; then there is a large selection to choose from. As I needed about half that, it became a subletting set-up, which I had been trying to avoid. So, this is the best compromise.”
Then luck would have it, a suitable space became available, but needed renovation. Allowing enough time to do the work, Jean hopes to be in his new and permanent space at the beginning of May at 52 rue Nôtre Dame de Lorette, 75009 PARIS, Métro Saint-George. This is just in time for him to be settled in and preparing for his presentation at our upcoming conference June 18 – 20 here in Paris!
His April Q and A column deals with a variety of issues: 1) The national health system in France, 2) Inheritance of property, 3) airline ticket return timing vs visas (a new one!) and 4) French TV tax. All this makes for fascinating reading and insight into the problems of daily life in France…these are real questions, real problems and real answers.
Here’s but one excerpt:
I have an American friend who just had a problem getting on a flight to France with a return ticket back to the US, dated more than 60 days later, from an American airline. She got stuck at the airport for over three hours and missed her flight. Do you know what the new ruling is?
I have received numerous first-hand reports of people traveling to France, either with a one-way ticket or with a return ticket, having serious problems on non-French airlines. Apparently some staff members of US airlines have been blaming their stricter procedures on the French authorities. But I am not aware of any new ruling having been made on the French side. Here is my understanding of what is going on:
In the last few months the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (the former INS, now a part of the new Department of Homeland Security) has tightened its regulations for security reasons, and has put more and more responsibility on the airline industry to monitor a lot of the security procedures. Now, normally the US airlines look at the immigration regulations of the countries they fly to and try to make sure they comply with them. In the case of France, French passport control officers basically deal with two types of foreigners: those who have the right to travel to France without a visa (Americans fall into this category) and those who need a visa even to get a connecting flight in Paris. In the former category, the French police look at the passports, then may (rarely) stamp them, and do not check a database. In the second category, they look for the visa and if it is missing or not in order, the individual is taken into custody until a decision is reached whether to expel him or her.
What seems to be happening lately, though, is that the American airlines are not just applying French regulations to those traveling to France; they are trying to apply to France (and the rest of the world) what they have been asked by the US government to do for people traveling to the US. Thus many people who frequently fly between France and the US who do not hold French legal immigrant status — either because they choose not to even though they are** breaking the law doing so**, or because their profession or lifestyle often takes them to France for stays of less than 90 days, i.e. not long enough to break French law — are being required by US airlines not only to justify their stays of more than 60 days in the US, as per the new US regulations, but also to
The only solution to this situation that I see is for people who fall into this category to get to the airport for their flights to France very early, three hours or more, and be ready for the possibility of some unpleasantness when checking in. Either that or be sure always to fly Air-France, which I am not sure is the easier choice of the two. Despite what may be said or written in the American media, there is absolutely no attempt in France to make the lives of Americans more difficult when here. Indeed, Americans, like Canadians and Australians, are likely to get quite favorable treatment at French passport control.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]