December 17, 2006

Reality Check

We were feeling soooo cocky. So proud of ourselves, thinking we had it all figured out.
"We know how this system works. We've been here 4 years and this year's carte de séjour renewal should be a piece of gateau."

The French should want us here, right? We pay our taxes, contribute to sécurité sociale, support the local vignerons (hey, we try to do our part) and I'm now a business owner. We're upstanding residents, supporting the French economy. They should make it easier for us, right?
Monday I went to the mairie to try to find out why my husband's carte de séjour renewal is over 2 months late. He needs to travel to America next month to attend a memorial service for the family member we lost recently and needs his new carte de séjour before he leaves. The secretary at the mairie, who is definitely on our side, made a couple of calls to the sous-préfecture to explain the urgency and by Thursday had a letter in hand stating that they needed five more documents to complete his dossier. FIVE! In addition to all the paperwork we turned in on September first!

-4 more pictures (they already have 4 that we gave them in September, plus all the others we've provided every year for 4 years. and they've never used one of them)
-Tax returns
-An attestation stating that our bank accounts are healthy and that we have enough money to live here. (haven't we proven this by now?)
-An attestation stating that he will not try to work in France.
-Photocopies of his pension. (which we also gave them in September)

So on Friday we got the attestations taken care of and tried to get the pictures taken in one of those machines. Of course the damn machine was broken. The pictures were all too dark and when I explained this to the manager of the shop, because I wanted a refund for the 8 euros we'd spent taking pictures we couldn't possibly use, he argued that we hadn't closed the curtains! Of course we closed the curtains! Duh....
So he had to prove himself that we were wrong by taking more pictures, which of course were all too dark, and finally agreed that we weren't complete idiots and gave us our money back. I think he just wanted to get rid of us by that point.

I am tired.
And frustrated.
When does it get easier???
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Alison said...

Just hang in there.

Mimi J. said...

How frustrating. C'est normal, n'est-ce pas?

Loulou said...

thanks alison

not sure if this is normal or if our département is trickier than others.

Katie said...

You're scaring me. We just submitted our 3rd renewal and, like you, I thought it was easy. Who knows what I'll find in the post box when we get back.
(We recieved our first carte 1 month after it expired...)
Nice to have the Mairie on your side. Our secretary is a sweetheart!

Riana said...

that sucks! they change the laws and papers every ten minutes, so yes, its normal and you will get it eventually.

ps i'm illegal right now, i am still waiting for my renewal from 2 months ago last time it took FIVE freaking months! for a renewal! and i am married to a french man!!!!