lundi 7 avril 2008
Last Friday it was time for my trimesterly Prefecture Happy Happy Joy Joy visit. I still have not received my carte de sejour (which expired Sept 30th 2007, we sent the dossier in in August, so now it has been nine months) so I have to go back every three months to get my temporary Recipisée de carte de sejour renewed. I thought that my Recipisée expried April 4th (Friday) but in fact it expired April 2nd. So I was illegally in France for two whole days! Ahh!! I suppose I am lucky I didn't get stopped because I am sure some policeman would make a big deal out of the card being expired for one day. Well, how about you talk to the Prefecture about that, because I would really like to get my carte de sejour for this year before it expires again in Sept. 08.

The process is (relatively) painless I suppose- I go there, hand in my old one and a photo at the door, go upstairs and wait. And wait. And wait. The waiting room is always packed, so I sat on the floor for an hour or two until I got nice and sore in the rear, then managed to secure a spot on a bench. You get to the point after you have been waiting a few hours where you start to think "I don't care if you are elderly, handicapped AND pregnant, I did my time, I got this seat, and I am NOT giving it up. Someone else can give up their seat."
Surely if I was elderly, handicapped, and/or pregnant I would feel differently.

I brought along my Suduko advanced book, and spent a few hours staring at numbers and listening to the names being called by someone who sounds like she trained under the teacher from Charlie Brown. Did she say my name? I can't tell.
Finally got called in to the office around 11.30. I was prepared for a fight- I want information darnit. When will I get my real card? It has been nine months now. Who can I talk to?
The woman was nice and didn't know anything, so I didn't get very far. Apparently, all the files are taking an exceptionally long time at this moment. Well, maybe that is because you, the French Government, have made it harder on yourselves to process files and cards. No wonder there is a backup. Instead of just issuing a card and then putting a new stamp on it good for one more year, they have to fabricate a whole new card for all of the people are renewing their cards each year, plus all the new cases.

Left the Bureau des Etrangers, and went over to the Car Registration area. Took a number, realized it would be about two more hours of waiting. Why couldn't I have combined my wait times, and waited for my car registration (we have to change the address, because apparently if you get pulled over, you can get an extra fine for the address not being correct) then gone up and waited for my Recipisée? Oh yeah- because you never know how long it will take in the Bureau des Etrangers- it could be half an hour or four hours, and you don't want to not be there when they mumble out your name.
I decided to go to one of the sub-offices near our apartment. Waited for them to open at 12:45, went in (no line- yay!) and was informed that Monsieur had to sign the paper as well as Madame, so no luck. Was so fed up with French Administration that I came home, plotched on the couch, watched Gilmore Girls and ate gummy bears.

So the way I figure it, I have to wait about one hour for every month of being able to stay in France. So, why couldn't I just take a week off from work, go to the Prefecture every day and sit in the corner with my Ipod, a good book, and take out from McDonalds, and at the end of the week get a five year card? That would suit me just fine.

I think that next week I am going to go to the Sous-Prefecture in Aix. Supposedly you can only go to the Prefecture where you live but I don't trust anything that the officials tell me anymore. It would make my life so much easier- less waiting, faster turn-around time. Or else just move out of Marseille. At the very least, I hope I can get some clear information about the whole process- when can I apply for French nationality? when can I get a ten-year card?

7 commentaires:

Alisa a dit…

that's the beauty of france.....nothing is easy. the french don't like change so they continue to do things the hard way. also the people who work for the government don't care, they are taken care of, clock in, clock out and that's it. just like people here in the states that work at the post office. being american you are used to getting an answer, getting things done, but you need to just realize it's not going to happen and then look around you and realize 'holy crap' i'm living in france! people would love to live your life.

poppy fields a dit…

I had to do this in Nice and hated it, but they finally got my paperwork straightened out.
I see photos below of shops on a street in Aix that I know well. I am curious to know where you're working now....

Soulamouse a dit…
Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.
screamish a dit…

Huurah for eating gummy bears as an antistress measure. You need everything you can get when visiting the hell-hole that is Marseille prefecture. One day Ill write a short story about that place and drop a bomb on it int he last scene. awful Orwellian nightmare. COURAGE!!!

la fourchette a dit…

hi there!

i, too, am an ex-pat...living in aix...not far from the aix sous-prefecture, in fact!

i just got my carte de sejour renewal (after having started the process for renewal last april...yes, april 2007!) and when i finally received it at the end of march, it is only good until the end of september at which time i guess i start all over again!

i've heard that you have to live here for 5 years before you can request residency.

bon courage!

screamish a dit…
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Séverine a dit…

Lol, sorry I don't want to sound mean but I think Marseille is the worst part of France for these kinda stuff. My dad refused to work in the south of France ( and Marseille in particular) because people are...kinda slow. It's a well known fact. They take it really easy.

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