April 3, 2009

How I Got My 10 Year Carte de Résident

As fellow Americans who have been living in France for about as many years as I have, Walt, Ken, David and Sam were all very excited when I announced that I had received my 10 year Carte de Résident. Sure, they were happy for me, but they were more excited at the prospect of being able to apply for one themselves!

The big question: how in the heck did I get this coveted Carte?
Here's the story, in a nutshell.


  1. 2002 - Decide to move to France
  2. Spend 6 months gathering the appropriate paperwork and getting translations for the Long Stay Visa
  3. 2003 - Arrive in France with said Visa in hand and apply for a Carte de Séjour within 8 days of landing. This will require a medical visit that is arranged for you by the powers that be, and all of the same documents as the Long Stay Visa, only this time they will need to be translated by an Official Translator at an astronomical price for each page
  4. 2004 - Receive first Carte de Séjour
  5. Spend endless hours of your life over the next five years gathering, photocopying, sorting, translating and begging for paperwork to reapply for each consecutive Carte de Séjour. The process gets more difficult and confusing every year
  6. 2008 - Decide that the Carte de Séjour process just isn't torture enough and apply for French Citizenship
  7. Receive a phone call from the newest fonctionnaire at the sous-préfecture in Béziers who tells you to come in for a meeting
  8. Meet the woman who will prove to be your personal savior and best friend at the sous-préfecture. (if you don't have one of these, find one!) She will single-handedly get her co-workers asses into gear when dealing with your paperwork
  9. Receive a document stating that you are to appear at the Bureau des Étrangers in Béziers. No idea why
  10. Go to the Bureau des Étrangers at the break of dawn and find out after waiting in the December cold for a hour that you're being interviewed for your 10 Year Carte de Résident
  11. Go home and drink a celebratory glass of Champagne
  12. 2009- Receive your 10 Year Carte de Résident
So there you are.
It only took six years, seven if you count the Long Stay Visa process. The time seems to have passed by in a flash.
And it was definitely worth the wait!

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18 comments:

Gavin said...

This both excites and terrifies me. I have a few years of step 5 ahead of me.

jpp said...

Tu l'as bien meritée après tous ces efforts que tu as déployés, j'en suis témoin.Enfin nous t'aurons avec nous pendant de nombreuses années sans plus de problémes administratifs
I'm so happy for you!!!

martha said...

I'm so happy for you. I would guess that the process no matter where you try it is labyrinthic. It took me 10 years to get the Migratsione to let me have a permanent visa and then only because the rules changed after Estonia joined the EU.

Dale said...

what happens to your US citizenship? Dual or just French?
what happens to your Social Security benefits etc due you under the US system/ jsut curious

Nadege said...

From Ken in St Aignan dealing with insurance to your adventure, it is fascinating to see how you are all navigating "l'administration". I am glad you have your carte de resident. Cheers!

Paula Maack said...

Congratulations!!! Your tenacity and perseverance are impressive!

I am so glad your hard work has paid off. Thank you for sharing the process!!

Cheers,

~ Paula

Dedene said...

Congratulations! I got my Carte de Résident by surprise too. I think that the ladies at the Préfecture like to surprise people.

What's even more exciting is getting your nationalité!
You know that you can have dual US/French citizenships nowdays.

Therese said...

Comment peux tu garder ta citoyennete Us si tu as opte pour celle de la France?
Il me semble que tu dois renoncer a ta citoyennete americaine ...Ou suis je mal informee.
De plus il faudrait preciser que la maitrise de la langue francaise est un critere primordial pour avoir droit a la citoyennete francaise.et c est normal!!

spacedlaw said...

But I suppose you might still get citizenship? Ois the 10 years card in its stead?

Loulou said...

Gavin
Patience and perseverance. And a kind fonctionnaire.
Good luck! :)

jpp
Merci mon ami!

martha
Yes the process is difficult in any country. Or so I hear!

Dale
One can hold both, so I will have dual if they grant me French citizenship.
It doesn't affect your right to Social Security already earned. But when I work in the French system I will start earning a French pension.

Nadege
There's always some hiccup it seems!
Thank you!

Paula
You're welcome!

Dedene
Congratulations to you!
I'm hoping the citizenship comes through, but won't know for another year or so.

Therese
One can have dual citizenship now. I would not want to renounce my American citizenship.
And having a grasp of the language is definitely a criteria. When the gendarmes came to the house to interview me, that was one of the things that they were checking on.

spacedlaw
Hopefully! The dossier has been sent to the final office, where it takes about 1 year to process. Maybe in 2010. Fingers crossed!

Sandy said...

Congratulations...you totally deserve it!

Loulou said...

Thank you Sandy!

Bain de soleil said...

I am very interested for this post.This site is so helpful. So I want some information for sharing this side with some of my friend. Thanks for sharing the information in this article.

Chez Loulou said...

Bain de Soleil
What kind of information would you like for sharing with your friends?

Anonymous said...

Loulou ! Congratulations, I am so happy for you> I just have a question for you, how did you entereFrance was is a tourist visa? were you able to cahnge your staus after the 3 months were up? thanks

Loulou in France said...

Anon
Read #2 in the post above.

Lilly Tchieng said...

Hi, I came across your post while online looking for some answers since I am a bit freaked out. The gendarmarie came to my apartment and asked that we go see them for an interview. They said that it will take about two hours and that it's for my titre de sejour. They didn't give us anymore information than that. I see on here that you said the gendarmarie came to see you and was wondering if you can share with me how that went.

Jennifer Greco said...

Lilly
The gendarmes came to see me when I applied for citizenship, not for a carte de séjour. They were very pleasant and the interview only lasted a few minutes. Good luck!