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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