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Old 05.06.2006, 07:28
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Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

I am commuting from Boston to Geneva every other week to my new job pending my work permit coming through. I have 4-6 months to complete my move. I am a US citizen and I have been told that it is far cheaper to live in France and work in Geneva. Is this a possibility even though I am not an EU national? What are my chances if I apply for a long-term residence visa in France?

I am quite scared of the rental scene nightmare in Geneva that many of you have described. Can I buy a house (is that permitted)? Also, does it make sense to buy a car locally or to import my car in Boston to Geneva? It is a 2002 Mercedes SUV. I am trying to see if it will work out to be cheaper than buying a car locally.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 05.06.2006, 18:52
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Not sure about your first questions, but get a hold of Living and Working in Switzerland. I think amazon has it and it is a book that answers hundreds of questions like the ones you pose.

About cars, go to www.autoscout24.ch, and you can do a detailed search on make/model/year/ what kind of airbags etc. and you will get a quite good idea of what your car would cost here.

I would never ship it because a) hassle b) costs c) you do not know what is going to happen. I would say try living in CH first, because what if you move back within 1-2 years? Also, while you are looking for a car to buy, sign up with www.mobility.ch, it is cheap and much easier than renting a car normally and you can choose from lots of different models each time you rent. You can rent by the hour, so use it to visit cars etc. or go shopping
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Old 06.06.2006, 01:42
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Thank you.

It looks like my car is far more expensive in CH than in the US. I need to find if there are any moving companies that would be willing to ship my car and the quotes.

I will look at the book you suggested. Does anyone know about living in France or about buying a place?

Thanks
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Old 06.06.2006, 02:16
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Quote:
It looks like my car is far more expensive in CH than in the US.
That would surprise me greatly. Usually European cars get shipped from the Europe to the US, not the other way around. I sublet my flat a while back to a guy from the US. He bought a BMW from the factory and shipped it back to the US when he left. He reckoned he saved himself a small fortune.

How old is your car and what is the model? How much is it worth in the US right now (second hand)? For the shipping of the car you'd had to contact companies in the US for a quote.
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Old 06.06.2006, 10:31
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

I have no idea whether a US citizen can live in France and work in Switzerland. It's likely that an EU citizen could.

Your Merc M-class would cost around $2000 to ship if quotes from friends are something to believe. Who's paying that? Do you have finance outstanding on the vehicle (as the finance company might have issues with their "asset" leaving the shores)?

Anyway, the Merc should largely be type-approved and any Merc dealer would be able to help. You can also drive around for a year with US tags on the car if your insurance allows this.
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Old 06.06.2006, 12:40
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Lob brought up a good point there. I also can't see any reason why you would be able to live in France, especially if you didn't have a job there. To illustrate the point - if I had a work permit for Canada, could I live in the US? Probably not!

You may have another issue - what type of work permit will you have? The last I recall L-permits and B permits issued to non-EU are restricted to the Canton they are issue in. In other words, if you are working in Geneva, you have to live there. There are exceptions of course, but this was the general rule last I checked.
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Old 06.06.2006, 14:11
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

EU citizens definitely can, in fact I know someone who did it. I also know people who currently live in Germany and work in CH. What the rules are regarding US citizens I don't know, I would suggest asking official sources.
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Old 06.06.2006, 15:39
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Since this thread is most definitely a question asking for help I'm moving it to the Help and Tips forum.
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Old 06.06.2006, 15:59
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Almost certainly not. American friends who have returned to Geneva from the States (with C permits) are having to wait for Poland to become a full member of the EU before being able to move to France. (She's Polish, naturalised American).
The only americans I know that do live in France have duel swiss/EU-american nationality.
Ask your company with help in finding an appartment or house, most Regies (estate agents) have a list for "special" clients.
As for the car, get a smaller one!
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Old 06.06.2006, 16:08
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Quote:
Almost certainly not. American friends who have returned to Geneva from the States (with C permits) are having to wait for Poland to become a full member of the EU before being able to move to France. (She's Polish, naturalised American).
Umm, you are writing this in the future tense, like they are waiting for it happen? Surely they know that it already has happened - like 2 years ago???
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Old 06.06.2006, 16:23
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

As far as I understand the situation, Poland (and a couple of the other countries that joined in 2004) doesn't have full residency rights in other EU countries, and won't for another year or so.
My friends are desperate to move out of Switzerland so that they can afford to buy a house of their own, they've contacted the American, Polish and French embassies several times to try and beg their case, but the answer is no, they've got to wait until the treaty is fully ratified.
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Old 06.06.2006, 16:42
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

I did some googling and it appears that you are correct. Apparently the old EU states can place restrictions on the free movement of people from the new states for a period of 7 years after they joined. So I guess this means there will only be true freedom of movement in 2011. What better way to make the new states feel welcome than to keep all their people away. You gotta love this whole European gambit sometimes....

So I guess for your friends it just comes down to when the French government decides which of the new states it likes, and which is doesn't. To my mind such discriminaton going against the purpose of the EU in the first place. I hope your friends aren't holding their breath
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Old 06.06.2006, 22:14
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Dear Mark,
I knew I was right (rapidly suppresses smug look, most un-lady like).
Sadly my friends are holding their breath, as they’re hoping to move next year. But I’d suspected they’d have to wait quite a bit longer than that.
2011, I won’t tell them, they’ll cry.
I digress, back to the Bostonian.
Might I suggest that you contact the Personnel Office at your new company?
They should be able to help you find a place to live, they usually have “contacts” within the Rental agencies, some firms will even subsidise your rent for the first year.
Expect to pay at least CHF 3,000 per month for a 3-bed apartment (extra for parking) or CHF 800,000 upwards if you plan to buy same. More like one and a half million if you want a house, with a 20% deposit. There aren’t any restrictions to foreigners buying that I know of (within the canton that you’re working in), but Personnel should be able to tell you that. It might depend on your permit.
They should also be able to arrange things like Medical Insurance without you having to go to the hassle of doing it yourself. Most firms have special group tariffs with an insurance company. The shipping of belongings (including that car, if you must) might be part of your re-location package, if not, then they should be able to suggest some reliable firms and costs. Do check that the car is up to swiss specifications, otherwise you will not be allowed to re-register it once your first year is up without spending a fortune bringing it up to scratch.
Parking in Geneva city really is a nightmare, a smaller car is a much better option to a huge merc, and the public transport system is usually adequate for every-day travel.
There are several American/English/International schools around the city, or the local schools are fine if you’re planning to stay for a long time. The local curriculum is very different to the English/American systems though and is, of course, in french!
Otherwise, Geneva ain’t so bad, we lived there for over twenty years before hearing the siren call of cheap French property, lucky, EU passport-holding us; but neither of our sons could be persuaded to leave, so in our case it was the parents that left the nest!
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Old 08.06.2006, 02:42
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Yes get a smaller car. Don't forget, parking lines here are very narrow and the Swiss get terribly upset if you park over the line, but even on the line with your wheels! I just found out that in my kanton, even a tiny Opel Corsa is not easy to fit between the two lines, if other cars have not left much room to manouver (like not being parked straight).

So let alone fitting a big American car! Seriously, for your health and sanity (read normal stress levels), get a small one.
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Old 08.06.2006, 10:24
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

muez7, you're telling me that nobody in Bern has a Mercedes ML? BTW it's a German car
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Old 08.06.2006, 10:32
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Quote:
muez7, you're telling me that nobody in Bern has a Mercedes ML? BTW it's a German car
I also wanted to make that point. While I think it admirable that people try not to drive around big monstrosities, the sad fact is that those with money in Switzerland often try to show their money with a huge car. In my area all I ever seem to see is well-dressed tiny women driving around in enormous Range Rovers. I've no idea how they manage to park them, but at times like that I give thanks to Switzerland's over-pillared car parks.

While I admit that the situation isn't as bad as in the US, there is a trend and it is increasing!
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Old 09.06.2006, 16:00
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Thanks everyone for the help, particularly Angela.

When I filled out the residency application, it said E on the top right-hand corner, I don't know if that is the permit code. I have a failry senior management job with an indefinite time frame, so I am assuming the permit would reflect that.

My HR is helping me and are generally directing me to houses in Geneva but I know of other people who live in France, that is why I asked. But it looks like Geneva is the way to go. I probably would rent first and then think of buying. I still own a house in Boston and from how the market is, it is going to take me a little while to sell.

The car is still an outstanding question. I am going to be geneva again next week and I will check out some dealerships to see how they compare. I will have one company car (a sedan) so I only have to worry about a second car for my wife. We have always had one sedan and one SUV, so I am going to check this to see what makes sense. To the poster who asked about the car, it is 2002 and fully paid off.

I really appreciate this thread, it helped me get a much better perspective over and beyong what my company HR was telling me. I am off to Debai right now, and will be in Geneva on the 17th.

Thanks
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Old 09.06.2006, 16:14
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Quote:
When I filled out the residency application, it said E on the top right-hand corner, I don't know if that is the permit code. I have a failry senior management job with an indefinite time frame, so I am assuming the permit would reflect that.
Well normal logic would say that you are correct, but rule number 1 in CH - don't make assumptions (probably true for everything, but anyway...). Do not assume that just because you have a senior position things will go well with your permit, or that because your HR department is handling it that they won't go for the absolutely easiest path - an L permit.

"E" is not a valid type of permit, so this was nothing to do with your permit. If you filled in the form in English it might have meant English.

Have a look at other threads here where we talk about the difference between the various types of permits. Most likely they will try to give you an L, which you will not enjoy. Others have reported no problems with L, but this is not always the case. You want a B, but as an American this may be impossible to get. But talk to your HR and ask them what kind of permit you will get. If they say L then start to make noise.

If you have specific questions relating to the types of permit then please post those questions on the relevant threads.

Mark
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Old 09.06.2006, 16:30
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

I'm reckoning E was for the language of the form being completed?

And I am proud to annouce that I have a Discovery3 on order which will mostly be driven by my wife

You'll possibly want to rent outside of Geneva - there's another thread or two highlighting the issues with accomodation there. Also it might be nice if one of the "locals" from that area give you an insight into how good the public transport is - certainly Swiss systems are very very good and might negate the need to have two cars
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Old 13.06.2006, 18:00
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Re: Can I work in Geneva and live in France?

Dear Desiensus,
Pet hate of mine, people who drive SUVs. My eldest son was waiting at traffic-lights last year when he was rear-ended by some stupid woman who just didn’t see him; she was looking over the top of the car he was driving, to the one at the front of the queue! Fortunately he was driving his girlfriend’s Daihatsu at the time and not his precious Mini, he’s the perfect English gentleman most of the time, but if she’d damaged Myrtle, he’d probably have made dog-meat out of the stupid ******.
Seriously though, our roads are quite narrow, the parking spaces mean (in size, it’s the traffic wardens that are mean-spirited), Hubby says they’re usually 2 metres 50 x 4 metres and the underground car-parks can be pretty tight, often only 2 metres 70 high. A lot of parallel parking too, something I’m told some americans find hard to get used to.
It is possible to lease a car for a short while, perhaps that might be worth doing while you decide exactly which region you’ll be living in and whether you actually need two cars.
I managed for over twenty years without one in Geneva, we lived in Carouge (just outside the city), and the centre of town was only a ten minute tram ride away. The infant and junior schools were just down the road, as were the shops. My husband usually walked to work, so we only really used the car at week-ends.
A tram/bus ticket costs Chf 3 for an hour or Chf 10 for a 24 hour pass (7 if you get it after 9am) and you can use your ticket to cross over the Rade (city harbour) on the little shuttle-boats, which always impresses visitors.
Get a good map, there’s a great one out now called “Plan Officiel de Genčve” with the public transport system marked on it, and most of the buildings; including the hospitals, post offices and cop-shops. It costs about CHF26 and has the maps on a CD as well. It pretty well covers the whole of the Canton. You should find it in one of the larger book shops in town, FNAC or Payot. Possibly Naville at the airport.
Most of the doctors can speak some English, especially the younger ones. The same goes for shop assistants and bar staff. It does help if you make a bit of an effort though, some of the older people can be quite xenophobic and you’ll need some basic french to read the instructions posted everywhere. This is Switzerland after all; there are rules to be obeyed! I have met people that know they’re only in Geneva for a couple of years so they’re content just to live in their expensive “ghettos” communities and don’t make any effort to mix (I’m afraid that americans are particularly well know for this), but it does seem a shame not to join in and learn something about where you’re living.
About the permit, Mark is right; don’t assume you’ll get a “good” one just because you’re in management, apart from anything else, giving you a lowly one means it’s easier to get rid of you! Can’t help about the pros and cons of L permits though, never heard of them! Been here too long, clearly the system’s changed a bit since 1979.
There’s an American International Women’s Club and American Citizens Abroad listed in the local ‘phone book and I’m sure the Consulate, 7 Rue Versonnex, can supply you with info about other clubs, churches and political thingies if you’re interested.
If you’re in Geneva on the 17th, then enjoy the music festival that’s on all weekend (it can get a bit noisy, be warned) and try to pick up pick up some free “immobilier” magazines from the distributors along the streets (usually near the bus stops), that’ll help you get an idea of what’s available and how much you’ll need to spend!
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