samedi 6 juin 2009
Yesterday, Alain and I went back for our yearly Happy Happy Fun Time with the Prefecture des Etrangers in Marseille.
We have to go, together, to get the file to renew my carte de sejour.
By now, we know the drill pretty well.
Take: passports, livret de famille, and carte de sejour.
Arrive: around 8 am. Wait in line for about an hour to even get into the building. Try to prevent anyone from cutting in line.

Go inside, get in another line. Wait for several hours in said line. There was a couple, a Frenchman and a French-canadian woman, waiting in line behind us. I guess it was their first time there. The man said "Don't worry, after the first year, it renews itself almost automatically." Oh yeah? Then what the heck are we doing here, year after year after year? I don't know if he was just unaware of the depths of inefficiency of the system, or did know but just didn't want her to go screaming back to Quebec. We didn't enlighten them. Poor couple- just married. Best not to.
About a half an hour later, one of the workers came out and announced that there were no more tickets (they give out 200 per day and that's it) for the upstairs part- first demand of the carte de sejour- and to come back another day. This is what happened to us my first year too. We had to come three times to even get the file, once we arrived at 5 am and still didn't get the darn magical ticket.


Except this time, they changed it on us. We got in the building, got in The Line, and after only a few minutes, got to the front and explained why we were there. We got a nice ticket with a number on it, and were told to wait for our number to be called. 166. Oh fantabulous.
It took them about 45 minutes just to give out the tickets, before even starting to call the numbers. Luckily they started at 100 instead of 000, otherwise we would have been there all day.
Alain ran across a guy that he knew while doing his Master's, so they spent two hours talking about research while I read the newspaper.
Finally, two hours later, our turn came. All in all, it took us about 4 minutes at the guichet (why couldn't they have just done that the first time instead of taking three minutes to give us a ticket? Another minute or so and it would have saved everyone time. Don't ask questions about French Bureacracy Megan, just deal with it or they will send you to the very back of the line.) - we showed our passports, she checked the names against the Livret de Famille, we signed some papers, and she gave us the file. She also gave us the sheet of extra things we need to send in if I want to get the 10-year card. Yes yes yes yes yes yes!

So here is what I need to send in:
(besides the file, the declaration of non-polygamy, four photos, the copies of our taxes, bank accounts, gas bills, and everything else "proving" our life together this past year.)

1) a letter stating why I want the ten year card.
Well, that's easy- so I don't have to go through this hassle every year. Oh, wait, what? I'm supposed to spout off something about the fabulousness of France and how I would be so honored to have a ten-year carte de sejour? Yeah okay, whatever allows me to not spend about 40 hours per year here.
2) An integral copy of my passport.
3) Justification of our familial life. Uh what, you want photos of our last vacation in Italy or something?
4) Justification that I have a health insurance.
5) Justification of my kids going to school. That's an easy one.
6) Our three last tax declarations
7) Justification of my resources (work contract, pay stubs, etc.)
Yeah, sure, how about I send all my private financial information, along with address and photograph to some unknown worker? How about my pin codes too?
8) A declaration, upon my honor, that I engage myself to respect the principles that govern the French Republic.
Okay, sure, I can do that. Strikes, wine, cheese, a boatload of public holidays in May, five weeks of vacation per year, and not cleaning up after my dog. Next!
9) A declaration, upon my honor, that I don't live in a polygamous fashion. What, like people can handle more than one frenchman at a time? One is enough thanks.

The best part:
Your demand will be examined in light of the elements sent and in application of the reglementary dispositions raised as a function of your nationality.

Yay French bureacracy! Here we go again!

6 commentaires:

Jess a dit…

Congrats! That should save you a huge amount of time.

Starman a dit…

I thought after five years you qualified for permanent residency.

Dedene a dit…

Oh gad! This has brought back hideous memories of the Préfecture in Bobigny...
Be courageous, and when you get your Carte de Residente you will not be tormented by that annual hassle. It's even better if you get your nationalité!
Good luck.

Anonyme a dit…

Me thinks I would like to read your letter explaining why you want to live in France! But I can't read French!
Mom

Anonyme a dit…

This was so funny, ha! Congrats on making some headway on this CDS issue, and good luck with everything!

Del a dit…

great description. I have lived in Marseille for only 16 months and already learned my lesson. It is a grueling process. Great test for my patience.

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