June 4, 2008

Hiccup Number One

I wanted the title of this post to be an expletive that begins with an F and ends with a K, but I've calmed down now, so I'll be nice.

This morning a letter from the sous-préfecture arrived stating that I cannot apply for citizenship until October 22 and that I need to get apostilles for seven pieces of paper (birth certificates and marriage certificates for me, husband and parents).

First of all, where the hell are they getting the date of October 22? Did someone close their eyes and point at a calendar? We arrived in France on March 28. My first carte de séjour was issued on June 18. My husband's first carte de séjour was issued October 12.
So, why October 22? The date has no significance to us.

Secondly, the original list I was given for the mountains of paperwork I would need said nothing about needing apostilles. Now all the birth certificates and marriage certificates that I just ordered have to be sent back to various states they were ordered from to get apostilles.

And to add salt to the wound, I have to re-apply for my seventh carte de séjour in two weeks. You know what that means. Months of papers flying back and forth between here and Béziers because they'll either lose the first set or decide they need extra papers in which I have to attest to this or that.
I'm surprised they haven't asked for my first born child yet (which I don't have so they can't have anyway).

Do I sound bitter?
I'm having a really hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Pin It


Alison said...

I feel for you. I didn't have to do all that crap (the apostilles and stuff) when I applied for citizenship.

If it's any consolation, I'm in a similar pickle with the US State Department and the renewal of my kids' passports. Being divorced makes it that much harder, even though I have their father's consent for the passports. I won't go into it here. It makes my blood boil.

Veronica said...

I feel for you too. This will definitely be no consolation, but we applied for citizenship over 5 years ago, submitted all the paperwork, had all the interviews, and are still waiting for a decision. Every couple of years the sous-préfecture asks us to send them some of the papers we've already sent "pour compléter le dossier".

We've actually reached the point where we don't really care whether we get it or not, but we are EU citizens, so we have the right to be here anyway.

So take a deep breath, there will be many more hiccups!

Loulou said...

You would think it would be easier in the States, but I hear terrible stories there, too.
Good luck and I hope it all gets worked out.

Are you in the Aude or the Hérault?
We were under the assumption that France only had 18 months to process these papers and give you a decision.
Now I'm really worried!

nola said...

That does suck. So sorry! Hang in and know that it WILL happen. And chalk the crazy date to those silly French!

Veronica said...

In the Aude. But it shouldn't make any difference to the process. And yes, we were told that it normally takes 18 months to 2 years to process an application, and it was actually only a few months between submitting it and getting an interview at the sous-préfecture. I think after that ours got stuffed in a drawer in the Préfecture somewhere and forgotten about.

But after the first 3 years we just stopped making any efforts to chase it up, on the "Life's Too Short" principle, though we do respond when they send us letters. So YMMV :-)

Samantha said...

oh man, this does not bode well for me then! and the only thing on the list i got that needed an apostille was my birth certificate.

did you mail your stuff in, or drop it off in person? cuz i had an appointment, and they verified that everything was there at point, so i'm just crossing my fingers that it's really true!

La Belette Rouge said...

Loulou: I am so sorry. Perhaps if you bake brownies for the citizenship committee? Ugh, I was really hoping everything was going to go easy peasy lemon squeezey for you.

We just had some documents apostillated and we were hoping to use the apostillation for both the Greek and the French. However, the apostillated document says "for Greece only." Oh joy, another $100 to get the same document apostillated for France.

It seems the realm of the citizenship coin is hiccups and delays. My favorite cure for hiccups is a teaspoon of sugar--it always stops them for me. But, I fear sugar will do nothing to stop these kind of hiccups.

Good luck!!

L Vanel said...

I am so sorry dear. They are terrible, aren't they? After my application for citizenship, the whole process took nearly a year and a half. Hang in there.

F.O.T. said...

Can I say it for you? *f here!* Well shit balls! Maybe you should make a zen area in your house devoted to these times when you want to curse at them.

Recently, I bought european cuss cards... I shall use them in your honor. I'll be able to cuss in English, Dutch, French.....


b said...

I'm so with F.O.T. on this... when I read this, I was f*ing all over the place on your behalf. Er... wait, that sounds horrible!! You know what I mean!

I'm so sorry that you have to go through this ridiculous b.s.!! You are absolutely entitled to curse, kick, scream, and eat lots of cheese!

Loulou said...

Those crazy French are going to make me crazy along with them if this continues!

that is depressing and I can envision the Béziers sous-préfecture doing the same thing.

We aren't allowed to bring it directly to the sous-préfecture. We have to turn it in at the mayor's office and they send it along.
I'm sure you're ok. Especially if you've already had an interview with them.

la belette rouge
I read your apostille post. We have to deal with Washington state, Louisiana, New York City and Idaho to get all of the paperwork apostilled.
Pain in the ass!

Thank you for your sympathy. We expected about a year and a half wait, but didn't expect this hiccup.

you'll have to send me some good ones, they might come in handy when I'm in their office, trying to get something done.

and drink more wine!

Betty C. said...

I'm so sorry. I thought I was pretty up on these issues, but I've never even heard of the term "apostilles!"

Bon courage, mon amie...

Loulou said...

Yes, they've become apostille crazy in Béziers.
I have to go talk to them this week and find out why they're asking for apostilles for all of the birth and marriage certificates, in addition to mine. I've never heard of this before.