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My husband and I are US citizens living in the States. He is a college professor and has accepted a fellowship in France during his sabbatical year from September 2016 to May 2017.

I'm currently working full time for an US based company. I would like to join him with our one-year-old son to France, but will need to keep my job in order to support us.

Not sure what type of visa I will need for this. Would a long-term visa allow me to work for an US company while in France? What's the tax implication? Or do I need to leave the country every 90 days in order to keep it legal?

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You will most likely be entitled to a long-term visa, but that does not necessarily give you the right to work in France. It does however relieve you of the need to worry about leaving the country periodically.

(If you are not able to secure a long-term visa, then your presence in France will be limited to 90 days in any 180-day period, so yes, you'd have to leave after 90 days and remain outside the Schengen area for 90 days before you can reenter. This has nothing to do with whether you are working or not; it has only to do with your presence in the Schengen area.)

Immigration law has emphatically not kept pace with remote work. Even if your visa comes with a right to work, I think there's actually no legal way for you to do what you're proposing unless your company has a legal presence in France and can hire you as a French employee.

For example, French labor law gives employees much greater protection than US labor law. It is probably illegal for your company to employ you in France without giving you these protections. Additionally, the law probably calls for your employer to pay French payroll taxes, which your employer is unlikely to be set up for.

The easiest way to deal with these considerations is probably for you to set up a French company to work for your employer as a contractor.

As for tax implications, your absence from the US might qualify you for the foreign earned income exclusion. You would probably be liable to pay French income tax even if you are getting paid in the US. Obviously, if you are set up as an employee or a contractor getting paid in France, you will certainly be liable for French income tax.

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  • Thank you, phoog. I should be able to get a long-term visa through my husband's fellowship. But the question of whether i will be able to keep my job remains. I've read somewhere that as long as I'm not working for a "French" company during my stay in France, I should be fine. But from you comments- it doesn't seem to work. – user9387 Apr 14 '16 at 17:41
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    @user9387 You might want to keep in mind that "fine" could mean "not actually legal but it's very unlikely that anyone would find out." – phoog Apr 14 '16 at 17:48
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    (+1) Interestingly, in many other situations, if your work contract does not satisfy the requirements of French labour law, you, the employee, typically aren't doing anything illegal, only your employer is. You can sign it, work and still go to court to void illegal clauses or get monetary compensation as applicable many years later. – Gala Apr 14 '16 at 22:27
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    @phoog that I have no idea about! I'm not sure even France knows how France feels about that. I wish I had more info, but without auto-entrepreneur or something like this, OP will probably just be in a 'frowned upon but not totally illegal because French immigration doesn't really acknowledge this one way or the other' grey area. – la femme cosmique Oct 16 '17 at 22:08
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There is an agreement on Social Security between France and the US, such that if the employee is sent for less than 5 yrs, he/she typically will be covered under the initial resident state (US) and only some fundamental labor protection laws apply (e.g., minimum salary, PTO) but not all Social Security coverage https://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Texts/french.html

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You have to apply for a long term visa and since your husband is working there it is gonna be easy (note that US Citizens doesn't need visa to enter France and The Schengen area but the visa here is needed to secure to right to apply for a carte de séjour (residency card) for any period longer than 181 days .. France doesn't give foreigner only a visa or immigrant visa, all visas in France are subject to change to a carte de séjour which in your case would a renewable Card every year (easy and rotine process) if your husband has the European Citizenship you will be entiteled in that case to a résidency of 10 years renewable 'de plein droit'. No Visas or carte de séjour prohibit its holder from working only if it has the 'mention' student 'étudiant' which allows him/her to work only 20 hours a week. All carte séjours holder are entitlement to government help and services and no discrimination even on the basis of nationality unlike the US.

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