Moving to the United States: some tips
Crossing the Atlantic to discover the United States is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience. Land of immigration for centuries, this country continues to fascinate and attracts more and more suitors. However, it is no longer so easy to settle there.
It has become difficult to come and settle permanently in the United States: since 1990, the government has set a threshold of 675,000 immigrants per year. Work visas are distributed in a trickle, favoring illegal immigration.
The need to have a visa
Unless you are working illegally, which is really not recommended, you will have to have a visa to work in the United States. The myth of easy-to-find work has fallen into disuse. A work visa allows you to obtain a Social Security number , a Social Security number that identifies you in the country and without which you will not be able to open a bank account or benefit from minimum social protection, which remains insufficient however.
The homeland of lawyers
In the land of trials of all kinds, lawyers are king! A Frenchman working in a large finance company told us that recently the management had been afraid to fire an employee who had alcohol problems on the grounds that he risked suing them. As an expatriate, whether in the process of immigration visas or when setting up a business, everything is done through a lawyer: it’s easier, faster but also expensive.
Health and housing: two major issues
Health : No law obliges an employer (or an employee) to contribute for health. But generally, most large companies contribute ” benefits ” including health and retirement plans to cover you, through unscrupulous insurance companies. Reimbursement and reimbursed care vary from company to company. If your company does not contribute for you, it is strongly recommended that you take out insurance because a simple visit to the general practitioner costs on average $ 120 ; up to $ 500 for a specialist. There are two solutions available to you: take out French insurance, of the CFE type (Caisse des Français de l’énergie) to which you will have to add a complementary mutual because you will be covered on the basis of French social security, much lower than US tariffs. Or take out local insurance. Depending on the case, you will have more or less freedom to choose your doctor. Housing : Housing in the United States is generally expensive, especially in large cities, especially New York, San Francisco, Boston and Washington. To find accommodation, the two most common solutions are the real estate classified ads called Classified in the “Real Estate ” section of local weeklies and the call to a Real Estate Agency, which generally takes 15% commission. Sharing an apartment is the cheapest way to find accommodation.
Often advantageous taxation
Taxation in the United States is very complex and it is not uncommon to call on experts to find your way around! If you are a tax resident (those who hold a green card or have resided in the United States for more than 183 days in the last calendar year, for example), you will be taxed as a United States citizen.
To pay your taxes, you have the choice between the annual declaration or the withholding tax (“ Pay as you earn ”) with an annual adjustment. Certain donations and health expenses may be deductible. Generally, the French who live in the United States are winners in terms of taxes, compared to France, taxes ranging between 15 and 36% depending on income and family situation.
To better integrate into Uncle Sam’s country
To successfully integrate and improve your English, it is important to get to know the local population as much as possible. However, if you are a little homesick and want advice, French networks exist. Beyond the relational aspect, they often constitute a mine of information (housing, employment …) which allows to save time and sometimes, to better integrate. Two main channels exist: the FIAFE (International Federation of French and Francophone Reception Abroad), an association which has reception points in the main cities of the United States, the network of Alliances Françaises, which offer cultural activities various (films, exhibitions …) and which generally have a library. You can also contact the “French Tuesdays”, a network created by two French people living in the United States, whose goal is to bring together members of the Francophone and Francophile community around themed evenings.