September 12, 2008

Life as a Stranger

We need to move.

We love this village and we couldn't be happier with our sweet neighbors, the friendly owner of the épicerie, the great young guy who owns the bar, the patient and kind secretary at the Mairie and the helpful, supportive Mayor. But we need to get out of here!
More specifically we need to get the hell out of this corner of the Hérault département that is tied to Béziers and their hideously xenophobic Bureau des Étrangers.

Whenever I write about my difficulties with the folks at the Béziers sous-préfecture, afterward I'm sent notes of encouragement from other foreigners living in France. They too run into problems and have moments of frustration, and I find it encouraging to hear that others do finally manage to prevail.
Their experiences vary from préfecture to préfecture, but what is glaringly obvious is that Béziers in undoubtedly the absolute worst, most difficult, most evil of them all.

After my entire French Citizenship dossier was unceremoniously sent back to me in June, I haven't properly brought you up to date on what happened.
As I said before, all the birth certificates and marriage certificates have to be returned to the various states where they originated to get apostilles. Then those apostilles need to be translated into French. At €45 a page.
Ok, fine. Expensive, but doable.

But why do I have to wait until the randomly chosen date (in my eyes) of October 22 to turn in the dossier, you might ask? Our Mayor was also confused and sent them a fax asking them why.
Their answer:
you're going to love this...

Because that is when the Bureau des Étrangers sent out our first cartes de séjours. Not issued. Sent out.
Thus, they won't consider us as being residents for a full 5 years in France until that date.
Even though we arrived in March - 7 months earlier.
Even though my carte de séjour was issued in August.

So I have to ask...who lives in a region or city where the people working in the sous-préfecture/préfecture are decent human beings? Does such a place exist?
If so, we're moving there! Pin It
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