mardi 6 février 2007
So finally, after six months of waiting, three temporary cards, countless hours spent in the Prefecture, 55 euros (not including fees for photocopying, bus tickets, ID photos, translations, etc) I finally get my (temporary) resident card!

see related entry "I love the Prefecture"

On Friday I got the yellow sheet of paper telling me to come down to the Prefecture and pick up my card. I went yesterday, and proceeded to spend the entire morning there. First I had to buy an OMI stamp for 55 euros. Not sure exactly what OMI stands for, but it is a way to pay for official fees. Usually you can buy these from bar/tobacco shops. I went into the nearest one, nope they don't sell them. Proceeded to spend the next thirty minutes trying to find one that did. Finally bought it, and went to wait in line at the Prefecture.

Surprisingly, it didn't take that long, as there were only four people in front of me. I handed the lady my multitude of papers, she went off and fetched my card. She said "Is this your address?" (On my card it had the old address) Nope. And do you remember when I specifically told you people that my address had changed? Nope. I was afraid they would have to send it back and make a new one, but she just put a sticker over the address part and wrote the new one on.

I was a little miffed to find that the card is only good for one year and from the date my file was received last October, not from when I received it. So at the end of July/beginning of August, Alain and I have to go back and start the whole wonderful procedure over again! Hopefully they can just put a sticker over the date as well and extend it by a year. If not, it will really be a pain to have to send it back in and get a new one issued. I asked when can I get the 10 year card, and she said after three years of marriage. Come on 2009!

While I was there, I decided to go deposit the paperwork for my driver's license. France and certain US states have a direct exchange agreement for driver's licenses, meaning that you don't have to retake the test. Thankfully, Virginia is one of them. As this direct exchange option is only possible for (I think) six months after you receive the carte de sejour, I had to move quickly. I had already gotten my driver's license translated into French (42 euros for two copies). So after waiting in line at the driver's license office and watching a woman go ballistic on the poor lady behind the counter, I got up to the desk. I handed her everything, and she told me I needed front and back photocopy of my carte de sejour, which I had just received but hadn't had time to photocopy.

I went down to the main level where there was a photocopier, but only had bills, no change (20 centimes per copy). There was no change machine around, so I went to a nearby bar and ordered a coffee. In the bar there were several cages with about 20 small flying squeekers. (those small birds, I don't know what they are called, but they make a squeeking noise). They were let out of their cages and zooming all over the bar. It was amusing watching them, but I was just hoping they wouldn't poop in my coffee. Got my change, went back to the Prefecture, photocopied my carte de sejour, went back upstairs, and butted in line and gave the lady the papers. She said it would take about two months to get the license. I really hope that a) they don't loose my original VA driver's license and that b) they don't keep my license. The only positive thing is that the French driver's license is permanent, so I don't have to go through this process again.

Here, dear readers, I present my tips for surviving the Prefecture.

1) Upon arriving, go around to all the ticket machines and take one ticket from each machine for all the different lines. Don't think you will need to use the line for retired people? Doesn't matter, take one anyway. You never know where the officials will send you to stand in line. You certainly don't want to spend an hour in one line, thinking it is the right one, then get to the front and realize that nope, you have to be over in the retirees line (but I'm only (ahem) less than 30! Doesn't matter, go stand in that one). If you have a ticket for that line already, you'll only have to wait ten minutes or so.

2) Make photocopies of everything. Even things you don't think they could possibly want.

3) Bring extra ID photos

4) Bring extra change for photocopy machines and ID photo cabins.

5) Bring a book.

6) Bring a sense of humor and clear your schedule for the rest of the day.

1 commentaires:

themikestand a dit…

You're telling me that the French have no problem issuing permanent drivers' licenses to non-permanent residents? Nice.

(Actually, maybe most countries do this, provided you can show you've been licensed SOMEWHERE.)

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