more fun with french administration

Now that we’re married, I qualify for a “vie privée et familiale” residency card – the French equivalent of a green card for spouses . As my student residency card is up in October, we decided to head to the Prefecture to ask for an appointment straight away (i.e. less than a week after the wedding).

more fun with french admin - titredesejour

The French Prefecture is always a fun fun place to go (note the sarcasm), but at least this time, J was accompanying me so I wouldn’t have to wait alone. After handing over document after document (and this was just to make an appointment!) and her criticizing our proof of address even though I’ve always used said document (and always less than 3 months old of course!), she finally agreed to let us make an appointment.

She gave us the long list of documents we need to provide (Including a photocopy of each page in my passport! I just renewed it last week, so it is completely empty) and then turned to her computer. She was like the first available appointment is the 10… I thought to myself “October, not so bad”, December. What?! Nothing available until December?!

She then asked someone higher up if she could give me a récépissé (basically an extension on my current card while waiting on my appointment). Nope, she couldn’t as it’s a change of status. I can have one the day of my appointment though while I wait for the actual card. Oh, yay. And their advice? Don’t leave France after October.

This means that I get to sit around doing nothing from October to December. I hope to give English lessons, job search (though I can’t prove I’ll have the right to work), and hang out with Elliot (who will be ecstatic), but legally, I can’t do anything. And as it’ll be the holidays, I probably won’t be able to really start looking until January. It was a real punch in the stomach for us.

But it gets even better. Another girl in my class also just got married and headed to the Prefecture after hearing there are no appointments until December. She was super super lucky. Someone had just canceled, and they had an appointment in September!

I will officially be the only person in my class who can’t work after graduation. All the other foreigners applied for the APS (a way for foreign students to work for a year after graduating), but I didn’t because I was getting married, and now it’s too late. Fun fun.

On the upside, updating our file at the CPAM was a snap (who would have thought?). And the paperwork is far from over. After I do finally get my new card, I need to go about exchanging my driver’s license.

When will the paperwork be over? Who am I kidding? This is France, there is always paperwork.

So if you have ideas of what I can do to occupy my time once I finish my internship at the end of September and when I can finally work, I’m all ears.


18 thoughts on “more fun with french administration

  1. Perhaps you will be able to work using the recepisse? It has been a long time since I did it (2005-2006) but I was able to do it back then for nearly a year (I ended up leaving France before they gave me my actual residency card because they misplaced my file for 9 months…). Best of luck in any case!!


    • I know I shouldn’t complain too much, because immigrants to the US can wait ages just for a simple response, but if I had known, there were other options that are now too late to take.

      I just renewed my American passport here in France! The only problems were those caused by Chronopost.


  2. Are you still going to try to interview for jobs? Every process is different, but maybe if the company has a drawn-out hiring process they could still consider you for when you’ll have the right to work in December…

    Suggestion for the meantime – teach your dog new tricks!


    • I’m definitely going to try to look for jobs during that time. I just don’t know how the whole “Yeah, I’m going to have the right to work… No, I don’t have any proof” thing will work out.

      Elliot needs longer than a few months to learn new tricks (took him 5 to learn “sit”), but I’ll try 🙂


  3. I suggest you call the prefecture on a weekly basis to see if there were any cancellations. You never know! I knew someone who used this strategy and in the end she got an earlier appointment. Also, looking for work: when we weren’t yet married, but it was coming up soon, I used a phrase in my cover letter to the effect “following my upcoming wedding to a French Citizen, I will be authorised to work “au même titre qu’un resortissant français” or something like that. October will probably be too early to mention your ability to work, but I would say in November you could add it to your applications.


    • Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately, they won’t grant appointments by phone at the Prefecture, only in person. And we already tried contacting them once since to see if there wasn’t anything we could do or get me a recepisse, and they got really snippy with us and said I’d have to wait until December. And I’ll have to add that to my cover letter, thanks!


      • I think as soon as I have my recepisse, I’ll be eligible. I definitely plan on signing up so that if I can’t find work right away, I can do a “formation” through them. We’ve heard that they are often better than what unis offer 🙂


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