Help, please

Can anyone answer a couple of questions for me?

I am hoping to move to France next year (sell my house, buy one there, and start a daycare). I was considering applying for social security benefits here in the US for my son who is ADHD in the meantime to help with his medical expenses. (We currently do not have medical insurance, so I have to pay for his meds and doctor visits out of pocket.) I don't want to do anything that will hinder my chance of getting approved to live in France. Should I not chance it and continue as we are or go ahead and try to get benefits for him. While I'm on the subject, will it look badly that I don't have insurance for myself either (although I'm not receiving any social service benefits)?

I called my local French Consulate, but I just got more confused. If I understood them correctly, they responded that I would need to have a job in France prior to getting a work Visa and that they would need to be assured that I would be able to pay for my son's medical expenses. With the plan I have, (sell my house, buy one there, and start a daycare), I don't seem to qualify because I won't have the job prior to getting the work Visa. Can anyone share some insight?

Here is the full comment for Cory.


I will definitely remember what you said about the requirement the French have for medical insurance. What I don’t know is if the French require that we have the insurance in the country we are coming from. Thank you for the info on the Entrepreneurial VISA. My consulate told me about the “Competences et Talents” Card, a 3-year, renewable card that allows me to exercise the professional activity of my choice in connection with a “project”. Thank you for your helpful feedback and good luck to you and your partner.

Thank you all Simon, Celeste, Catharine, Barrie, Sarah, and Cory. I’m sorry I’ve been out of pocket and unable to respond to you individually until now.

Simon and Catharine:

I was told I could run a nou nou, a sort of informal daycare. I love the idea of overnight daycare, anything that might set me apart from the typical nou nou. Thank you for your feedback. This website is a wonderful resource!!


I hadn’t thought about changing my qualifications into French and to get them verified by the colleges I attended, though it seems obvious in hindsight. Great advice! I was actually thinking of getting my PhD in France in Psychology, if I could pass the language requirements. I have read in some blogs that the French do not seek out therapy as much as they do in America. I imagine the French would be less likely to choose an American therapist over a French one. This is why I’m not sure if I should pursue a practice in France, assuming I obtain all that is required to set up practice. On another note, you really got me thinking about living in rural France (Limousin). Coming from a really big city in Texas, my son and I are surely going to experience culture shock. I think, as long as we have internet, cable TV, reliable utilities and water, good food, good friends, and the beauty France has to offer, we’ll adjust well. I will look into your suggestions: American Embassy in Paris, Anglo-Info, & Americans in Paris. Thank you for suggesting I look into what resources the schools in the area of France I choose offer for children with ADHD. Your help is greatly appreciated!!


If it takes 5 years to start my own business, I might be bussing tables for a long time. I understand that I can do an informal daycare, which I will check into further. My local consulate suggested I look into getting a “Competences et Talents” Card which would allow me to work on a “project” in my profession for 3 years with the option of renewing. Re-training and re-certification is okay by me. Thanks for the heads up on that and that I’ll need private health insurance in France. I’m trying to figure out if I’ll be able to return to France to buy the house I’ve chosen prior to moving over there. It’s so much to think about but I really appreciate your input!!


Thank you for the info on auxiliaries de vie scolaire and contacting the local mairie regarding special needs education in rural schools. My son is currently in mainstreamed classes and is getting A’s and B’s, though it is a challenge for both of us. What a wonderful service your mairie is offering English speaking children with special needs to integrate into their schools. I hope I will be able to find someone with your type of training in Limousin. Thank you so much for your feedback!!


I will definitely remember what you said about the requirement the French have for medical insurance. What I don’t know is if the French require that we have the insurance in the country we are coming from. Thank you for the info on the Entrepreneurial VISA. My consulate told me about the “Compete

Felise, I am an American living and working in London. My Partner is British. We own a home in France and spend as much time as we can in France. We love it and hope to retire there next year. I have been researching my options (short of getting married). It is not that my Partner and I do not love each other it is just that we have both been married before and do not see the need for a marriage. One area that the French are very fussy about in obtaining a work VISA is medical insurance. They will probably require a letter indicating that you and your son have Insurance covering at least 20K of anything that happens. Most EU Countries are really clamping down on immigration (primarily due to the huge influx of folks coming and seeking benefits. They do have Entrepreneurial VISA (for folks wanting to come and start businesses and create jobs). This may be an option for you you will probably need to show a certain amount of Capital available to invest in this business.

Hi Felise

A quick comment about special needs education here. Resources are good in big cities but rural schools can often take on children with conditions such as your son's. Children are allocated auxiliaires de vie scolaire who are specially appointed staff who accompany children with special needs. You can always contact local Mairie's or french social services for further information.

There is a general policy of seeking to integrate those with special needs (including those with behavioural difficulties) into mainstream education, or within specific units with schools. I live in rural France and our local schools take on special needs children.Two friends of mine are auxiliaires de vie scolaire and often talk about the continuing improvements in special needs eduction.

Although I am not an expert I may well be training shortly to become a bi-lingual auxiliaire de vie scolaire as I already work as a translator/re-location advisor and having been a UK school governor (child protection) my local mairie approached me with a view to helping english speaking children with special needs integrate into our community schools. Not sure if I am ready to go down this route but the bit of research I have done has given me a positve feel on the subject of special needs education in rural areas

Bon Courage

As an American here are a few thoughts.

To start your own business you have to be here for at least 5 years.

You will have to be re-certified which may include re-training.

when you apply for the long stay visa in the USA you will need private health insurance in France.

I recommend you take a trip before u come over and find a property to buy - it will look better on your long stay

application that u have a place to live.

let me know if u have any other questions.

Re the day care - a registered nou nou who has several children on her premises is surely providing private daycare?

Also Felise - some childminders are now providing out of hours services - overnight childcare - for parents who work shifts or have a family emergency to deal with. They are few and far between and very popular in more urban areas and (I think) can charge a premium. Something else to consider maybe? Good luck! x

Thank you so much Celeste. The info is very helpful. I’m a mental/behavioral health therapist, so I try to implement in my son the behavior modification techniques that I recommend for my clients. My French is coming along…I’ve been studying it every day for the past year. I’m not fluent enough getting take a licensing exam for my profession, but I’m sure that will come with practice. My son and I have gotten by with meds alone. He’s pretty bright and I help him with homework whenever he needs it so I think he’ll adjust. He also understands that he may have to repeat a grade if his French is not up to par. Thanks for the resources you mentioned. I’ll definitely look into those.

there is no private daycare provision allowed here