One More Trip To The Préfecture!
We’re preparing for yet another trip to the Préfecture…this is where legal life in France begins and never seems to end. The Préfecture de Police is the not-so-lovely huge square building just opposite Notre Dame on the Ile de la Cité where all immigrants must bare their souls, express their desire to live in France and be granted permission by the authorities on high (in Paris, anyway).
I’ve been carrying around a paper “Récépissé de Demande de Carte de Séjour” in anticipation for my official plasticized “carte de résident” with photo to be ready today. After ten years of renewing my carte de séjour annually (long stay visa), meaning one or more trips each year to the Préfecture and copying hundreds of documents as proof of residency, I will finally have the right to live and work in France for the next ten years, without interruption.
By sheer coincidence, my daughter also has an appointment at the Préfecture tomorrow morning to make another attempt at securing her carte de résident, which didn’t happen as we had expected the last go-round. We flew her back to Paris from New York for four short days just to make the appointment for a second time. What we didn’t understand one year ago from now, was that without a parent having a carte de résident, she only had the right to a renewable carte de séjour, yearly for three years until they would grant the ten-year visa. Now that I have mine, we will make a plea to skip the three-year renewal process and go for the gold…the real carte de résident.
Jean Taquet, our stalwart immigration advisor, will be with us to insure we don’t screw up. Screwing up is an easy thing to do…if you don’t have all the right documents with you, exactly as they demand them, or if you don’t have the documents with you that they didn’t demand but secretly expect of you, or if you say the wrong thing (whatever that is?), or look at them the wrong way or do something that just doesn’t sit well with them…you could be doomed for failure. It’s tricky business when you’re at the mercy of a “functionnaire” (civil servant) whose “raison d’être” is making sure undesirables don’t get into their country to take away a job meant for a French national.
Luckily for North Americans, we’re generally considered quite desirable! I was once told at the Préfecture that our passports are “golden,” but there have been many times I wouldn’t have believed that was true by the way I had been treated.
Now you understand that the law states that if you INTEND to reside in France longer than 90 days, consecutively, that you are required to obtain a long stay visa. Being the good law-abiding citizens that we are — “we” meaning North Americans — who toe the line and never tell a lie — are frightened of staying one extra day…images spin in our heads that the authorities are going to come rip us out of our beds to deport us as immigration criminals the very next morning.
Get those thoughts out of your head. That’s simply never going to happen, but if you do INTEND on really making a life here, make it more your home than not, find a job, start a business, send your kids to school, etc., etc., then yes, a long stay visa makes sense, and not just because it’s the law…but because it will put you on the road to be coming a real part of this community.
And if I had known then what I know now, I might have handled my status in France as a resident differently, but maybe not, but at least I would have understood the process better. For any of you thinking of making France more a home than not, I highly recommend a consultation with a professional before you proceed. It will save you time, money and hassle and help you prepare properly for your future in France.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]
P.S. We recommend several different professionals who can be of assistance in a variety of ways. Visit /parlerparis/services/index.html to learn more about each of these. For a general consultation to help you get a grip on the “big picture” before you get down to specifics, I’m still working with individual clients in a one-on-one two-hour session, by phone or in person. Visit /parlerparis/services/consultationservices.html for more information.
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here the Black hair salons were, where you could go to listen to soul and gospel music, where to buy sweet potatoes, corn meal and black-eyed peas. http://www.insiderparisguides.com/black/index.html
* Practice speaking French and English with people from all over the world at the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group! http://www.parlerparlor.com/
* Paris When It Sizzled: Les Années Folles (The Crazy Years)…Take the Tour with famous author, John Baxter! http://www.paris-expat.com/tours/paris_sizzles.html (Be sure to let them know Parler Paris sent you!)
============ HELP WANTED ============
Seeking Intern to Become Paid Professional Assistant
Parler Paris is seeking a bright, young, hard-working computer-literate native Anglophone with basic working knowledge of French and lots of knowledge of Paris to intern and be trained for possible paid position as professional assistant, to start immediately.
A 60-day unpaid commitment is required, 35 hours a week. Skills required: Computer proficiency in Word, Excel, Outlook or Other Email Program, Internet Search, accounting software (such as Peachtree) and Dreamweaver or other Web site development software, if possible. Must have good command of English language and the ability to write clearly, concisely and correctly. Must have good public relations skills, be personable, friendly, patient. Must be organized, manage details, have tidy work habits.
Duties include: email customer and reader correspondence, light bookkeeping and record-keeping, general office duties (filing, copying, posting, etc.), phone reception, appointment scheduling, etc.
High speed Internet access and computer supplied for work in Parler Paris office. Relative expenses reimbursed (phone, Métro/transportation, supplies, etc.)
Compensation following internship for permanent position negotiable, if proven to be suitable.
If you’re seriously interested and willing to invest in your own future while helping people who wish to live, work or invest in France, then send your resume to Adrian Leeds at [email protected]