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Old 14.05.2012, 00:45
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Childcare/Education France vs Swizerland (Geneva)

Hello,

My husband has Irish citizenship and we will be moving to Geneva area for my job. I only have US citizenship. We have a 2-year-old daughter.We are trying to decide if it would be easier to live in French or Swiss side of Geneva.

I have few questions:

1. Can we live on the French side and work in Switzerland? I understand as solely US citizen that would be hard, but my husband has EU citizenship so it shouldn't be a problem, right?

2. How do the costs of child care compare for living in Swizerland vs France. I believe France it's all free (does that inlclude after school care for working parents?) How about Swizerland, what are the costs there? How about when she starts school, at what age for both? What are the schedules, after school care etc? (I'm sorry, the more info you can provide the better)

Thank you for your help!
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Old 14.05.2012, 00:47
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Re: Childcare/Education France vs Swizerland (Geneva)

sorry *Switzerland
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Old 14.05.2012, 09:14
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Re: Childcare/Education France vs Swizerland (Geneva)

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1. Can we live on the French side and work in Switzerland? I understand as solely US citizen that would be hard, but my husband has EU citizenship so it shouldn't be a problem, right?
I can't comment on the cost of childcare on one side of the border vs. the other, except to say that all of my friends who are eligible to become frontaliers generally do. Between the French tax system (which gives good credit for having a child) and the much lower cost of childcare, this seems to be the conclusion that most people reach. I'll let others who are actually frontaliers with kids talk about the comparisons with more specifics.

However, your biggest hurdle is going to be getting permission to live in France. With a B-permit, you won't be allowed to reside in France. Your best bet would be to apply for a French residency permit as a dependent of your EU spouse, but this is likely not to be a straight-forward process, particularly if he's a frontalier. Sorry I can't offer more specific detail, but I think you've got an uphill battle ahead of you.

A good place to start might be the Groupement Transfrontalier European.
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Old 15.05.2012, 09:41
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Re: Childcare/Education France vs Swizerland (Geneva)

Hi,

You might want to check out esa-hs.com/, which is a website for English speakers of Haute Savoie, a French region on the border of Geneva. The administrator is very helpful (tell her I said hello). For childcare, France is usually better/easier, if you want to work, because there is usually a cantine for lunch time and a periscolaire (after school club). There is a small cost for these facilities. However, while saying that, facilities vary in different towns. In my own town (near Basel), these facilities are very poor, and there is no after-school care in my children's school. French holidays are longer than in Switzerland, but they usually have holiday clubs, where children of working parents can go.

Tax is an advantage of being a frontalier, as are lower costs of living, and living 'in the country' (in a house, at a reasonable price). Transport is not as good in France as in Switzerland.

Good luck.

Last edited by Manley Hopkins; 15.05.2012 at 09:53. Reason: to add info
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Old 15.05.2012, 14:08
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Re: Childcare/Education France vs Swizerland (Geneva)

As for your question 2, school (well pre-school) starts at age 3 in France and 4 in Switzerland, assuming you mean the public schools (different if choosing private or bilingual). From friends I know in the Pays de Gex, it is a full day arrangement with lunch provided etc.. In CH, it is quite another story, with odd hours and minimal, if any, afterschool care etc... although there are a lot of local variations and things are going in the right direction; but still nowhere near ideal if two working parents.

However, I would step back a bit and really examine the schooling and future direction of your child before making a decision based on convenience. Coming from an anglo world to french-speaking switzerland will bring a lot of challenges, and understanding the school systems and how they work or set your child up for the future are likely most important. While the French and Swiss public schools are taught in French, they are quite different in the teaching style, approach, even at the entry level. Have a look at the French public system, the Swiss public system, and perhaps private or bilingual options if that is of interest or possibility.
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Old 15.05.2012, 15:10
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Re: Childcare/Education France vs Swizerland (Geneva)

In your position I'd live in France without a doubt.

Cost of living is lower, and child care is actually affordable! Actually in France, you can send your children to pre-primary school at the age of 2 1/2! My daughter started just after the age of 3 (as we were in Paris), and that can cut costs a lot. Also health care is a lot less in France, and much easier to understand.

Also, finding a place to live in Geneva is very difficult and expensive. As VillageIdiot says "all of my friends who are eligible to become frontaliers generally do".

A frontalier has a special permit for working in Switzerland. As a residant in France, if you are coming over from Eire than I don't think there is any paperwork to do. Slightly personal, no need to answer, but why are you not taking Irish nationality? Would make Europe a lot easier!

HTH
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