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France facing significant strikes this week, will impact train travel

French labor unions and student groups are on strike around France right now thru March 10th. This is impacting travel throughout the country. Make sure to check SNCF’s time tracking website for updates to train schedules as well as the Paris transit system RATP.

France24 has great coverage of this here and the US State Department has issued the travel warning below for expats.

Bon courage, les amies, les amis.

SNCF_strike_March2016

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Strikes in France on March 8-10, 2016

On March 8 -10, 2016, members of several unions and student groups plan both strikes and protests all across France. These protests and strike actions are likely to make travel and/or local transport (including movement by private vehicle or taxi) difficult.

Nationwide, the unions that represent 70% of SNCF employees have called on their employees to strike; local media report that this is the first time since June 2013 that the four biggest unions have been unified in their intention to strike, suggesting that the participation rate could be very high and disruption accordingly significant.

In Paris, unions representing local transport authority RATP will also be striking, leading to possible slowdowns on the Metro, buses, and RER.

In separate actions, several groups plan to converge on the Place de la République in Paris at 2 pm from various assembly points across the city to protest the government’s consideration of reforms to the labor laws.

Unions have called on their members to meet around Paris metro station ‘Ecole Militaire’ to march on the MEDEF headquarters in the 7th arrondissement on avenue Bosquet. From there, they intend to head to the Labor Ministry on rue de Grenelle before heading for the Place de la République.

Student and young people’s groups have called on their participants to gather at Place de la Nation in the east of the city before marching to République.

Please note that the actual strike plans filed by the transport workers’ unions designate a start of the action at 8 pm Tuesday night, March 8, and a finish Thursday morning, March 10, at about 8 am.

Please consult various sources of local information for updates, including local TV stations and websites (to include BFMTV, Le Parisien, and France24), as well as:

RATP – Paris local transport system – for information on metros, buses, and RER lines:

http://www.ratp.fr/informer/trafic/trafic.php

Transilien – for Paris region transport:

http://www.transilien.com/info-trafic/temps-reel

SNCF – for national and regional rail travel:
http://www.sncf.com/fr/horaires-info-trafic

Twitter feeds for particular metro and/or RER line(s) are always very helpful, as are the Twitter feeds of the Paris Prefecture de Police (@prefpolice) and Aéroports de Paris (@AeroportsParis), which also provides information on traffic conditions to/from CDG and Orly airports.

The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that demonstrations and large events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. Avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Large public gatherings can affect all major incoming arteries to the city in which they occur. Demonstrations in one city have the potential to lead to additional public rallies or demonstrations in other locations around the city and country.

We strongly encourage U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are therefore urged to access local media to stay abreast of developments, avoid demonstrations, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.

For further information:

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in France, located at 4, Avenue Gabriel, Paris,
    +33 (1) 43 12 22 22, 9:00am – 6:00pmMonday through Friday.
    After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +33 (1) 43 12 22 22.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

U.S. Absentee Voting Deadline Oct. 6 + Lyon Consular update

For American citizens living abroad who wish to vote in the November 2014 US Elections, the absentee voting deadline is October 6th. Please find all relevant information here from the State Department.

Also, as of October 1st, 2014, the American Presence Post (APP) in Lyon is no longer accepting applications for U.S. passports and birth registrations, Social Security numbers and other federal benefits, and it will no longer provide notarial services. More information is available here.

EACC conference in Lyon Dec. 17th: Investing in the USA

December 10th, 2013 No comments

The European-American Chamber of Commerce (EACC) has an upcoming conference in Lyon, France on Investing in the USA. The details (and registration information – under “inscriptions”) are below. I worked with some of these professionals before, and I can tell you it’s a great opportunity to learn more about transatlantic business relations, as well as network with like-minded professionals in Lyon.

Presenters will include the US Consul to Lyon, Clayton Stanger.

The Lyon newspaper Le Progrès also published an article on the conference today.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY:
The right time to INVEST IN THE USA
Enjeux | Dispositifs | Clefs de réussite | Supports pratiques

Réussir vos projets aux Etats-Unis: opportunités et moyens à disposition des PME.

Mardi 17 Décembre 2013 | 12h – 14h
OnlyLyon – Skyroom – Tour Oxygène
10-12 bvd Vivier Merle 69003 LYON
27ème étage
Conférence en français et en anglais

Les États-Unis représentent toujours la première économie du monde et le premier consommateur de la planète. À l’heure où les contours d’un traité de libre échange entre les États-Unis et l’Union Européenne se dessinent, il est impératif de comprendre les enjeux qui y sont liés et de tirer avantage au plus tôt de ces futures opportunités d’affaires. C’est également l’un des marchés les plus difficiles à pénétrer car l’implantation commerciale ou industrielle est souvent recommandée pour gagner en proximité et répondre à une très grande exigence en matière de services.

Quelles opportunités et quels moyens sont à disposition des PME désireuses de conquérir le marché américain ? C’est ce que vont vous présenter nos Experts, spécialistes de l’implantation et de l’accueil d’investisseurs étrangers aux États-Unis.

    Intervenants

Clayton STANGER :
Monsieur le Consul des États-Unis | Lyon

Julie-Capucine HOURS :
Responsable Amérique du Nord | CCI de Lyon

Tom THORELLI :
Avocat au barreau de Chicago | Paris

François HECHINGER :
Parner – West Region Venture & Private Equity Tax Practice Leader | BDO U.S.A.

Nicolas BERNARD-MASSON :
FDI manager de l’Etat de Pennsylvanie en Europe francophone | Lyon

Témoignage d’une entreprise (à confirmer)

    Modérateurs

Johann SPONAR :
Représentant Officiel de l’Etat de Pennsylvanie en Europe francophone et Directeur Général de SALVEO

Bradley STOCK :
Président de l’European American Chamber of Commerce Rhône-Alpes

    Programme

11h40 – Accueil + Cocktail de bienvenue
12h15 – Séminaire
13h30 – Questions | Cocktail networking | Rendez-vous B to B

Inscriptions
L’inscription est gratuite mais obligatoire : natacha.lalande@eaccfrance.eu

U.S. Embassy France important update for citizens

November 17th, 2013 No comments

I wanted to let my readers know that the U.S. Embassy in France recently posted this update regarding its citizen services in its offices outside of Paris. It will affect particularly those near the cities of Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse. Please visit their website for more information.

U.S. Embassy
Paris, France

Effective January 1, 2014, American Presence Posts (APPs) in Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse will no longer accept applications for U.S. passports and birth registrations, Social Security numbers or other federal benefits, or provide notarial services. After January 1, 2014 passport and birth registration applications and notarial services for U.S. citizens in those consular districts can be scheduled at either the U.S. Embassy in Paris or at the U.S. Consulate General in Marseille. Please contact the Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Paris for information on applications for Social Security numbers and other federal benefits.

The U.S. Mission to France will schedule periodic visits by consular officers to provide routine services to American citizens in the districts of APP Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse. We will publicize these visits to citizens actively listed in our Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP), so please ensure that you are signed up in order to receive notices about such services as well as other messages from the U.S. Government. U.S. citizens can enroll online at https://travelregistration.state.gov.

Voting from abroad in US elections (update)

If you’re American and live abroad, that does not mean you have to put your political views on hold come election time.

Make sure to check out this website Vote From Abroad for information on how to vote from other countries. A video is below. (Disclaimer: This is a Democrat-affiliated organization).

The US Embassy in Paris has also send out helpful information, below the video. The US Embassy’s page on Facebook is also a great resource.

In addition, the non-partisan, non-profit association Union of Overseas Voters has a site at WeVote.fr for tips. You can join them on Facebook.

They have also made these information sheets available for you:

Important Voting Facts for US citizens

About the Union of Overseas Voters

Flyer for help sessions in person in Paris (1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 2-5pm at Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris)

Merci for the helpful documents!

If you have any stories about voting from abroad, feel free to post a comment. Happy voting!

Message from US Embassy Paris

Have a say in our country’s future. One of our most treasured values is the right and the privilege to vote – to participate actively in our country’s democratic process. This November, U.S. citizens will elect a President, a Vice President, one-third of the Senate, and the entire House of Representatives. The U.S. Embassy in France encourages all U.S. citizens to participate in this year’s elections, and stands ready to help you vote.

Almost all overseas U.S. citizens can vote. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now allow adult children who have never resided in the United States to vote using their parents’ state of voting residence. Details are available on the FVAP website at http://www.fvap.gov/reference/nvr-res.html.

Register and request a ballot. To vote, new laws require you to complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) this calendar year. The FPCA allows you to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. If you haven’t yet done so, we urge you to do so now. The easiest way to complete it is online at www.FVAP.gov. Depending on your State’s rules, you then send it to your local election officials electronically or by mail.

Mailing guidance. Print out the completed FPCA and the (U.S.) postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials. You can drop off the postage-paid envelope (containing your FPCA) at the Embassy, and we will mail it back home for you without the need to pay international postage. If it’s easier for you to use France’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.

Embassy Paris drop box: You may drop your signed, dated, sealed FPCA registration or ballot in the Consular Section drop box:

a. Go to the Consular Section entrance of the Paris Embassy with your registration or ballot;

b. Announce that you would like to drop off voting materials;

c. Present suitable ID (preferably a passport);

d. Present the registration or ballot;

e. After the security check, place the ballot in the ballot box.

Need help? Go to the Embassy’s voting website page to receive assistance. Voting Assistance Officers or private U.S. citizen volunteers in France may also help you. (NOTE: It is acceptable for private U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens’ groups to collect FPCAs and deliver them to the Embassy on behalf of other eligible voters, as long as each FPCA is in its own U.S. postage-paid envelope.)

Make your vote count! Follow your State’s absentee voting procedures carefully. Send in your FPCA before the registration deadline. When you get your ballot, vote and mail it promptly so it reaches local election officials by your State’s absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Questions? If you have any questions about registering to vote, please contact the Paris Voting Assistance Officer by email at VoteParis@state.gov

U.S. Embassy in France cautions Americans abroad

October 3rd, 2011 1 comment

The U.S. State Department, via the U.S. Embassy Paris in France, has just issued this travel warning below. There are several warnings per year, but it’s always better to be cautious. You don’t have to cancel your trip, just be aware of your surroundings. Safe travels!

U.S. Embassy
Paris, France

Travel Alert
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Worldwide Travel Alert
October 1, 2011

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for retaliation against U.S. citizens and interests following the deaths of key figures in the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula on September 30. This Travel Alert expires on November 30, 2011.

On 30 September, U.S. and Yemeni government officials confirmed that dual U.S.-Yemeni citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, the external operations leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed in Yemen. Open source information also indicates that U.S. citizen and AQAP propagandist Samir Khan was killed along with him. Awlaki played a key role in advancing AQAP plots targeting the United States.

The death of Awlaki, in the near term, could provide motivation for anti-American attacks worldwide from individuals or groups seeking to retaliate against U.S. citizens or interests because of this action. In the past Awlaki and other members of AQAP have called for attacks against the United States, U.S. citizens and U.S. interests. Awlaki’s standing as a preeminent English-language advocate of violence could potentially trigger anti-American acts worldwide to avenge his death.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the embassy/consulates to contact them in case of emergency.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

For information on “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis,” please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Emergencies and Crisis link at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html

New birth abroad consular rules to start January 18

January 17th, 2011 1 comment

This message from the US Embassy in Paris…

U.S. Embassy, Paris

Redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad

(Upgrade of Systems: January 1 to January 18, 2011)

The Department of State is pleased to announce the introduction of a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240). The redesigned CRBA, which is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship, has been updated with a variety of state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft.

Beginning January 18, 2011, overseas posts will still document the citizenship of children born overseas to U.S.-citizen parents, but the CRBAs will be printed at our passport agencies in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New Orleans, Louisiana, using the information provided by overseas posts. By centralizing production and eliminating the distribution of controlled blank stock throughout the world, we will help ensure uniform quality and lessen the possibility of fraud.

Additionally, the Department will no longer issue the DS-1350 Certification of Report of Birth Abroad. Instead, the Department will simply provide new FS-240s in response to requests for additional, replacement, or amended CRBAs.

In order to upgrade our systems for this change, the Consular Section of the Embassy in Paris is suspending CRBA adjudication from January 1 through January 18, 2011. CRBA applications submitted during that time will be adjudicated after January 18.

***

For details on consular services, births abroad, you may refer to the Embassy website page: Birth of U.S. Citizen Abroad.

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E-mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) If you are going to live or visit France, please take the time to tell our Embassy (and/or Consulate) about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/).

Country Specific Information is available for every country of the world. These pages include such information as location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. We strongly encourage visitors and persons residing in France to refer to the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information Sheet for France and Monaco at the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1116.html.

Your U.S. Passport
Remember to renew your passport and your children’s passports in a timely manner for departure from France. It takes at least 14 business days to receive a new passport, and you may need to schedule an appointment with our office, so plan ahead if you are traveling soon. Information on passport services is available on our website at http://france.usembassy.gov/passports.html. Important note: the Immigration and Nationality Act (U.S. C. 1185 (b) requires that U.S. citizens enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

US midterm elections: electronic voting from abroad for 25 states

October 12th, 2010 No comments

I got this message from the US Embassy in Paris concerning voting in the upcoming Nov. 2 US midterm elections.

Electronic Voting System Project
October 12, 2010

Attention U.S. citizen voters:

The following 25 states, or parts of these states, are participating in an Electronic Voting System project:

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia

If you vote in one of these states/counties, you should follow the instructions in the attached Electronic Voting System Fact Sheet to find your respective state, and use all of the voting options available to you through www.FVAP.gov. Many of these state tools allow you to use a full ballot reflecting all contests (federal, state, and local). Follow the instructions for returning the voted ballot.

If you subsequently receive your blank state ballot from your state after submitting the online ballot, you should vote and return the state ballot immediately. The state ballot will take priority over the electronic voting project ballot if both are received by the state deadline.

If you have already received, voted, and returned your state ballot, you should not participate in this project.

If you have questions about this project, or about voting by absentee ballot from France, please contact the voting assistance officers by e-mail at: VoteParis@state.gov
or, at the following telephone numbers:

04 91 54 96 10
01 43 12 29 93
01 43 12 20 93
01 43 12 20 21

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E-mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

U.S. terror alert raised in Europe

October 4th, 2010 1 comment

New evidence has come forward recently on the European terror plot, leading the U.S. State Department to raise its level to an official terror alert.

There is information that Osama bin Laden has been linked to the financing of a terrorist plot in Europe in high-tourist density area (danke, Der Spiegel):

German Islamist Ahmad Sidiqi has delivered new details about the apparent new terrorist plot against Europe and the United States. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, he has told his interrogators that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden approved the attack plans and also provided financing…He met with Sheik Younis al-Mauretani early this summer under conspiratorial circumstances in the city of Mir Ali in Pakistan, the German claimed. He said he discussed possible attacks in several European countries, including France and Britain. He allegedly claimed that Osama bin Laden had given his personal approval for the plans and that he had also provided some of the money that was needed for the attacks.”

So now the American authorities are urging citizens to be “vigilant” in Europe (BBC). So much so that the State Department is likely to raise this from travel alert to travel warning, the most serious level.

French authorities have detained a man who is suspected of threatening to bomb Paris St. Lazare train station, but no connection has been found to terror plots or networks. But European authorities have stated their approval of American warnings, saying that they too are being vigilant and increasing security presence in London, Paris, Berlin and elsewhere. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and Berlin’s central train station have been said to be among targets for Mumbai-style commando executions. Stay safe and alert of your surroundings, but don’t let this hamper your travel plans; I just had a great weekend in London and now back to work in Paris.

U.S. State Dept increasing consular fees July 13

I get regular updates from the State Department for travel warnings, news, job openings, etc. They have great resources for those living and travelling abroad. One service I recommend to Americans is the travel registry so that you can register your itineraries with emergency contact information, in case you need to be contacted abroad and you need help from the U.S. government, etc. Think natural disasters, terrorist attacks, crime, etc. It takes 10 min to create a profile, well worth it. Then you can log-in and update itineraries.

They also have a great guide for living in France. This and other links are of course listed on my links page.

But these tools are financed by other services. Consular fees in particular, for passports, visas, etc. Below is an email I just received talking about increases in charges starting July 13. Just wanted to let my American readers know, as well as those planning on traveling to the U.S.

United States Embassy
Paris, France

New Schedule of Consular Fees to Take Effect on July 13, 2010

In June 28, 2010, the Department of State published its Schedule of Fees for Consular Services in the Federal Register. The schedule includes fees for passports, immigrant visas and other consular services.

The 27 adjusted fees are based on a Cost of Service Study completed by the Bureau of Consular Affairs in June 2009. The study, which was the most detailed and exhaustive ever conducted by the U.S. Department of State, established the true cost of providing these consular services, which the Department recovers through the collection of fees.

New Schedule of Fees for Consular Services

U.S. Passport Applications and Other Service Fees

· The total charge for an adult passport book renewal, including the application fee and
security surcharge, will increase from $75 to $110.

· The total charge for a minor passport book (age 16 and under), including the application fee,
security surcharge and execution fee, will increase from $85 to $105.

· The total charge for a first-time passport book for an adult, including the application fee,
security surcharge and execution fee, will increase from $100 to $135.

Other Passport Service Fees

· Additional visa pages fee will be $82.

A complete schedule of passport fees for passport books and cards may be found at this State Department website page.

Notarial Services

· Providing notarial services has increased from $30 to $50 for the first service; each
additional seal has increased from $20 to $50.

Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States

· The fee for the report of birth will increase from $65 to $100.

Immigrant Visa Fees (IV)
The Department is increasing most immigrant visa (IV) processing fees based on results of the cost of service study and also establishing multiple fees. For more information see the State Department website page on consular fees.

***
The U.S. Embassy in Paris can be reached at 01-43-12-22-22 during regular hours and for after-hours emergencies. Our website address is http://france.usembassy.gov. For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs internet website at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Country Specific Information, Current Travel Warning, Current Travel Alerts, Worldwide Caution, and other Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings can be found.
Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada; or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E-mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

Country Specific Information is available for every country of the world. These pages include such information as location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. We strongly encourage visitors and persons residing in France to refer to the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information Sheet for France and Monaco at the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1116.html.

Your U.S. Passport
Remember to renew your passport and your children’s passports in a timely manner for departure from France. It takes at least one to two weeks to receive a new passport, and you may need to schedule an appointment with our office, so plan ahead if you are traveling soon. Information on passport services is available on our website at http://france.usembassy.gov/passports.html. Important note: the Immigration and Nationality Act (U.S. C. 1185 (b) requires that U.S. citizens enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

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