Well, that time of year has come again, the time when I must begin the loooong process of renewing my titre de séjour. Technically I was late starting the process this year (about one week later than normal) because of my friend's visit, and I just couldn't justify spending less time with her to drag myself to the sous-préfecture to once again renew my temporary, one year titre de séjour vie privée et familiale that I personally think should be valid for longer anyway.
So, on Monday I forced myself to get up early even though I didn't have work and to head over to the sous-préfecture de l'Häy-les-Roses. As usual, upon arrival, I was greeted by the very long line for the Bureau des Etrangers winding through the building, and then outside and into the parking lot (because they can't be bothered to find more space so us foreigners don't have to stand outside in the freezing cold, rain, etc.). Luckily though, Monday was a pretty nice day, so it wasn't as miserable as it could have been.
As usual I got into line, trying to calculate about how long it would be until I got to the welcome window and could ask my ONE very basic question and get out of there. Since the line looked about as long as usual, and, last year at least, I had been having quite a bit of luck, I calculated about 2 hours of standing around a waiting till it was my turn. Then I whipped out my Kindle and settled in to read Pride and Prejudice (for the millionth time), hoping that this would be the time that the line moved really fast.
Unfortunately, I was in for a big and unpleasant surprise...my calculations were quite wrong and this time the line took 3 hours! I think that is the longest I have ever had to wait just to get to the accueil. And to make it worse, about 5 minutes after I arrived, a woman with her baby got in line behind me and so I got to spend those three hours listening to her kid cry while he kept trying to kick me in the legs. Fun stuff.
When it was FINALLY my turn, I tried to put on my happy face and look like I hadn't just spent the last three hours in the line from hell with an irritating child and the mom from hell preventing me from at least being able to really enjoy Pride and Prejudice. I told the not-smiling (big surprise there) and self-important fonctionnaire that I was there because I needed to renew my titre de séjour and thus I needed an appointment to come back with Lionel and hand in my papers. She pulled out the appointment book, grabbed the all-important appointment sheet and wrote down my appointment date and time: June 28. WTF? Three and a half months later??? Is this what I get for coming in about a week later than normal? Last year I went at the beginning of March and had an appointment for the end of May. Not to mention my titre de séjour expires June 1. But she promptly reassured me that, as long as I was carrying the all-important appointment sheet that showed I had made the appointment before the expiration date on my card, I would be fine and they couldn't kick me out.
And then off I went to catch a bus home and continue with my day. Three hours in line for 2 minutes at the window and I walk away with a date to come back 3.5 months later. Looks like in about 5 months I will have my new card. Thankfully next year I get to apply for the 10 year card and I won't have to deal with the stupidity of having to go to renew every year!
However, on Sunday, I discovered something that made me even more irritated about this whole process. I live in the Val de Marne and am therefore under the Préfecture de Val de Marne located in Créteil. However, because I live in the KB I have to go to one of the Sous-préfectures. This therefore means that I do not get treated like a person who goes to the Préfecture. If you live in a town that goes to the Préfecture in Créteil, they now have this fancy online system to sign up for your appointment to renew the titre de séjour vie privée et familiale so that you don't have to go and wait in a long line (as well as add to that line) just to get your appointment to come back. But, since I go to the sous-préfecture, I do not have this luxury and I have to suffer through a three hour line for nothing basically. Seems to me like they should have rolled out the new system for all the offices so that everyone can benefit! I really would have appreciated not having to wait in that line and having been able to make my appointment online, with the internet, since we are in the 21st century and all!