Here are some testimonials from readers I’ve had a chance to help on their journeys:
Not only is Stephen quite knowledgeable about the Visa process but he is extremely patient. He has talked me off the ledge quite a few times during my process. I reached out to Stephen two months before beginning the arduous task of applying for a three-year visa. We met in person, and at the completion of our meeting, I was no longer anxious about what lay ahead. I returned home and began gathering all necessary documentation. Even after hitting a few snags, Stephen was available to reassure and point me in the right direction. I’m thankful for Stephen’s guidance and vast source of knowledge.
I found Stephen’s blog because of a simple google search when I was first considering a move to Paris. After exploring the wealth of knowledge to be found in his posts (seriously-do some digging on this site), I emailed him to ask for tips as I started a job search in the area. He gave valuable feedback via email and we even met up on my visit to Paris with my mom. He graciously met with my mom and I and entertained all our questions about what a move to Paris might look like- from finding a place to live to the best ways to learn French. The most valuable piece of advice that I’ve held onto was about making the move- set a date and buy that one-way ticket! Though I have not yet made the move a reality, I know that I will have a friend to help make that transition as smoothly as possible!
I found Stephen’s blog just when I started thinking about how to make moving to Paris a reality for me. After reading through the wealth of his posts (and coming to look forward to new ones!) I booked a one-hour Skype consultation session with him to drill down into my personal questions. What I appreciated most about my time with him was the candor of the conversation as well as the explicit focus on how to go about things practically, when I do eventually arrive. In an hour, we managed to canvass a range of topics: what to do to find out what arrondissement I want to live in, what kind of visas might be appropriate to investigate if the broader political situation ends up affecting the proposed use of my UK passport, how to make French friends, the particularities of French business culture and what to focus on in my language studies…it was an illuminating hour! In addition to the tangibility of the strategies he offered, he also helped me better elucidate my reasons for moving. This, more than anything else, was the real food for thought. Choosing to be an expat and to move away from familiarity (and for this Sydneysider: sun, space and simplicity) is no easy feat. I know now that preparation to do so entails getting just as clear on the questions of ‘why’ as much as those relating to ‘how’. It was a very valuable service and I highly recommend to anyone similarly considering taking their life in this same direction.
It was a pleasure to speak with you and I deeply appreciate your sharing your wisdom with me about the visa process, as well as tips and advice on taxes and health insurance. Since we spoke, I successfully jumped through all the necessary hoops at OFII in Bordeaux to obtain my “titre de sejour” or “carte de sejour” — some official looking thing in my passport that led to a long exhale by yours truly. The nice lady shook my hand, pronounced me finished with OFII, and passed me a long to the prefecture of the Pyrennes-Atlantiques for renewal of the visa mid-winter.
Having someone pave the way and share “lessons learned” on living in France long-term is a true gift. I appreciate that you have been taking the time not only to share your experiences and resources on your blog, but also to speak one-on-one with folks like me looking to follow in your footsteps in realizing a lifelong dream. You are generous, optimistic and clearly well informed. What a perfect combination for helping to make dreams come true!
Stephen was a fountain of knowledge about both the ups and downs of relocating to Paris and was extremely generous with both his time, and sharing his experiences when I met with him. He also offered a lot of fresh perspective and ideas about employment and business opportunities for expats moving to Paris. Although, personally, I didn’t need to overcome any visa obstacles (yet! After Brexit, who knows?) Stephen was extremely well versed on the visa application process and would be an invaluable source of knowledge for anyone relocating, who needed some guidance in this area. I hope to meet Stephen again soon, sometime in the near future when I am back in Paris long term, and I would encourage anyone looking for either insider knowledge or some reassurance that moving to Paris can become a reality if you really want it to – to meet with Stephen for advice.
Stephen is incredibly knowledgeable and generous. He’s very easy to talk with and made me feel comfortable and at ease right away. He walked me step by step through the French visa and immigration process, answering all of my questions (even the most specific ones) in great detail and with personal anecdotes to back up his expertise. He’s the kind of person you feel you can give your trust to right away, and he genuinely wants to help you, going above and beyond by offering to check out a place or two for me while I’m still in the States and not yet able to see if the apartment might be a good fit. His blog is absolutely the most direct, clear, and thorough examination of the French visa process that I’ve ever come across. I was actually astounded when I saw how he had laid everything out so clearly and offered a concise road map for others to follow in his footsteps. The meeting I had with Stephen gave me confidence about finding a place to live, securing my visa, and progressing with learning French. I walked away from that meeting feeling renewed, excited, and like I had a super strong ally on the other side of the ocean. Absolutely worth it!
While researching possible pathways to move to Paris, I came across Stephen’s blog, The American in Paris. The blog resonated with me because Stephen is also an American, and more importantly, his blog was the was the most informative guide that I have found about moving to France. I met Stephen in person a few months later, while on a trip to Paris.My meeting with Stephen reminded me of going to see my therapist– someone personable, knowledgable, and insightful, whom I trust– except Stephen’s expertise lies in France and French immigration. Stephen provided a comfortable and open platform for me to ask any questions and voice any thoughts, doubts, and concerns I had about moving to Paris. We discussed a wide array of topics, such as the process of getting a visa, finding legal financial means to support myself, and acclimating to the Parisian lifestyle. When he wasn’t 100% clear on a topic, he would introduce me to someone who was able to better advise. For example, I was asking about a more obscure and difficult-to-obtain type of visa, the entrepreneur’s visa, and Stephen introduced me to his immigration attorney who was able to provide detailed and expert information.Besides his expansive knowledge about the immigration process, one of the things that I appreciated the most about Stephen was his sincere intention to help others going through the same process. I appreciated that he gave honest, helpful, and realistic guidance that was tailored to my present situation. After our meeting, I felt empowered and hopeful, and the path to living in Paris was brighter and more clear. Thank you, Stephen!
Coleman B. Meeting Stephen was heaven sent. I always wanted to visit and/or live in Paris and after meeting with Stephen, I knew that it wasn’t only a pipe dream and it could actually become a reality. Stephen is one of those natural born mentors with the tenacity of a stern parent to give you the ‘tough love’ you need to get yourself organized and focused on your goals. He is methodical and this quality has helped him succeed not only as an individual but also as a businessman living in Paris. Stephen isn’t selfish in sharing his successes and advising on his struggles (which could one day be your very own). In a short amount of time, Stephen managed to inspire me, give me confidence, and encouraged me to chase my goals and dreams.Any amount of time spent with Stephen, is time well spent; you will always walk away with new interesting insights as well as renewed confidence. He didn’t have an obstacle free journey but he never allowed that to defeat him and that’s exactly what anyone looking to succeed needs in their corner, the perfect peer & leader to assist you along your journey.
Katherine Q.Like many people, I’ve dreamed of living in France for a long time. Finally, about a year and a half ago things started to fall into place (I suppose that I made things fall into place) to finally fulfill my dream. One of the first steps of moving to France is applying for a French Visa. This can be daunting – especially due to the lack of information available online and the fact that the requirements seem to vary depending upon which French Consulate office you need to apply to.
Feeling a little bit lost – but determined to find more information, I decided to do a Google search using the exact wording from the visa application. As a result, I found Stephen’s “The American in Paris” blog – and his post about applying for a long-stay visa at the French Consulate in Chicago. What a relief.
It was nice to read about his first-hand experience, and learn from his mistakes too. He helped make me feel more confident about the whole visa process.
Fast-forward to January 2016, and I’m back reading Stephen’s blog about his experience in renewing his long-stay visa – and I realized that I should contact him to thank him for helping me fulfill my dream.
I met Stephen just a few weeks ago, and am so glad that I reached out to him. Not only was he happy to meet and chat with one of his readers, he unintentionally gave me a good “kick in the rear” at the same time. Which was exactly what I needed. How did he know?
Life in Paris has brought me much happiness – in fact, I’m happier than I have been in a long-time. And I have Stephen to thank for helping me get here.
Stephen’s blog has been a great resource for me as a long stay visitor in France. The articles on visa application, renewal, and taxes were especially helpful as it’s difficult to find this information in plain English, let alone all in one place. Stephen also introduced me to a professional I’ve engaged with to file my French taxes. A great guy to know!