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Friday, March 18, 2011

Visa Blues, Parte Deux

So if there's one thing the French love (besides bitching about their language, making fun of my accent, being passive aggressive, and being stingy) its bureacracy. I learned this the hard way, almost a year ago when it took a whopping SEVEN visits to the cell phone store to obtain a forfait bloqué. I learned it again (because I am a foreigner, afterall) with my Carte Vitale, which I still havent been bothered to get, after five attempts.

I had yet one more crash course in bureaucracy in late November; and thus my tale begins on a snowy November morning.

For reasons unknown to me, and despite it being 2011 (or 2010 at the time) the form that is needed to start the carte de sejour proccess can only be obtained with a trip to the Prefecture in Versailles. This requires getting up at 5 am, catching the bus at 5:30 and waiting outside in sub zero temperatures until 9 when the place opens. Then you get to wait inside. Then you wait in the right line, they look at your pictures, then you get a number and wait in another line. At this point, they give you the paperwork you need for your carte de sejour. Which, they assure you, can be done by post.

Then you get home, and actually read the document they gave you and realize, it ain't the right one. You curse, a lot, and throw your phone around and finally resign that you have to do this process YET AGAIN.

After a lot of tears, you go back again and get the right paper work for an "Aide Familiale." It consists of a questionnare demanding to know if you are in a polygamous marriage and if your parents too are illegal aliens. There's also a huge list of documents that you are required to bring including but not limited to, birth certificates, proof of residence, proof of employment, blood type, severed left leg, and first born child (if a legal citizen).

Anyway, you are now legally permitted to stay in France until the date of yet one more rendezvous in which you are to go back yet again and turn in the paperwork. Then, you wait another month and you will be notified by post to come back and pick up the actual carte du sejour.

So thousands of massacred trees later, here we are, one step away from being legally recognized.

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