Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Happy day

Today I literally feel like jumping for joy, celebrating this momentous occasion and overall feeling of peace and liberty. Today (drum roll please) I went to the préfecture and picked up my 10-year carte de résident!!!!

At the Préfecture just after receiving my carte de résident

I feel so free - free from yearly préfecture visits and piles of paperwork, free from the stress and frustration of spending multiple months a year without a proper, valid form of French ID, free from the hassle and the need to waste so much time dealing with administration, just absolutely, completely free. And it feels good!  So, so good. I almost want to abandon the entire citizenship request (which is not going nearly as well, by the way) for the time being and just relish in the delight and happiness that this 10-year card brings. I want to enjoy a few Préfecture/Bureau des Etrangers-free years before throwing myself back into administrative battles. But I won't because that would be silly and who knows how long the entire process is going to take, especially considering all of the obstacles I've already encountered.

The entire process at the préfecture went very smoothly. I was able to buy my 260€ de timbres fiscaux at the préfecutre and then get in the line to pick up my card. I only had to wait about 30 minutes, which was quicker than I expected, and then I had my card in my hands. I was surprised to see they updated the format and that all new French ID cards are now credit card-sized rather than the gigantic cards they have been using for years that don't easily fit in a wallet. It also now contains an electronic chip with a digital copy of my photo and personal information as well as having all of that info appear on the card. Quite impressive and modern...way to go France, finally entering the 21st century!

I'm also thrilled that I was able to get my card today because I leave for a two-week trip to the US on Thursday and I was starting to worry how I was going to fight my way back into the country without a valid titre de séjour (my old one expired in May) and only a récépissé de demande de renouvellement. Though in theory this shouldn't be a problem I read a few horror stories and a lot of sites recommended printing out a copy of the French law as you would most likely encounter problems at passport control. Now I'm just happy I don't have to worry about it. Ever again!

As ridiculous as it may seem (though anyone who has experienced the titre de séjour process will probably understand), today I just feel victorious.  And it feels great.

8 comments:

  1. I felt the same way when I got my 10-year card back in 2007..I hope renewing it in 2017 will be stress free too!

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    1. The renewal process can't be that difficult...I would hope!

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  2. Exciting! I am hoping for one this year (and my citizenship request is still all sorts of complicated) but since they don't count the PACS once you get married, I think I still have another year or two of préfecture visits to look forward to . . . Have fun on your trip!

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, the prefecture visits are rough, hopefully you'll be able to find some way to get around it. Don't you have the right to a ten-year card based on the amount of time you've been in France, married or not?

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  3. Congrats! :)

    Traveling with peace of mind is awesome. I know what you mean-- often the majority of people say, "It'll be fine," but you always think about those few horrible anecdotes you hear.

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    1. And I am so, so happy I was able to get my card before I left! In the end, I had no problems getting into France; they didn't even ask to see my residency card. However, on my way to the US, in the Amsterdam airport, for some reason they insisted on seeing it before they would let me on my flight to Detroit. And then in the US they wouldn't let me check-in for my flight to Paris without showing my card. I have a feeling that my recepisse, expired card and copies of French laws in French wouldn't have gotten me very far in Amsterdam or the US and I'm afraid the trip never would have happened if I hadn't been able to pick up my card just in time!

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  4. Congratulations!! But don't drop your citizenship request, it is SO worth it to not have to go through this even every 10 years (or every out-of-department move; I had my 10 year one immediately based on the law at that time, but had to renew when we changed departments a year later). Now I can move anywhere in France, no more tear-filled prefecture appointments (was that just me?!).

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    1. Thanks! I agree with you. and even though it would have been nice to enjoy a few peaceful years before tackling another major administrative procedure, I nonetheless mailed my citizenship request back to the prefecture before leaving for my trip to the States. So I'm continuing with the process and hopefully I get approved the first time around so I never have to deal with this stuff again!

      And rest assured, you are definitely not the only one who has experienced tear-filled prefecture appointments! I think we've all been there at some point. I know I have.

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