oh, french admin, tu me tues

It’s been a crazy week for us as we’ve been in the midst of moving to our new place. We’ve been making numerous trips back and forth each evening, and tomorrow will be the big moving day. We will finally be sleeping there tomorrow night.

Another thing we’ve been starting to do is gather proof of “vie commune” (living together), one of the requirements for my residence card as a spouse. The list of requirements asked for one document. However, we all know the Prefecture can be fickle. One PACSed friend went recently, and all she had to show was any piece of mail addressed to both of them. Another friend (married) had to show three official forms of proof! I’m glad she warned me! Luckily, they had brought four things, but the person almost didn’t accept certain things. So we’re preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best.


As I am on J’s health insurance as his “ayant droit”, an attestation of that counts as proof. Little did we know that our adventures in health insurance were not over. We kept having trouble with the site which kept saying technical error, so J finally went to the CPAM office itself. Continue reading


fun with la sécu

Normally, as a student in France, even as a foreigner, you must sign up for the student health insurance when you enroll higher studies. It’s super cheap (think less than $300 for the entire year) and covers 70% of your medical costs if you stick with just the basic plan. However, if you’re over 28 years old (because who would still be a student at 28?!), you don’t qualify for this insurance though there are some exceptions. I do not fit these exceptions.

However, I was very happy to learn, that I would have to simply sign up for the CMU at the CPAM, which is actually free and still covers 70% of medical costs! Without going into details, it’s basically for those who don’t qualify for health insurance through their jobs, spouses, etc (think unemployed or old students).

When I walked into CPAM to pick up the dossier to get signed up (though I knew I’d need my enrollment for the actual sign up, I thought I’d get ahead of the game), they asked if I was living alone. When I stated that I was living with my boyfriend, they said that as his “concubine” (yes, concubine), I had to be added to his insurance as an “ayant droit” even though we’re not married or PACSed. Adding me on does not cost either of us anything. Continue reading

oh, the joys of l’administration française

It’s finally that time of year (for me, at least) where it’s time to go back to school. Even though I’m doing the second year of the same Masters as last year, in France, you have to apply for the second year, and then sign up all over again. You also need to hand in all of your grades from the previous year even though you’re staying at the same university. Somehow, the departments just cannot work together on this one.

To make everything more complicated, I only got my grades for the latest semester yesterday. Yes, yesterday. I may have finished classes in April, but we didn’t have the defense for our “mémoire de stage” until a week ago. Thus, I couldn’t start the enrollment process until yesterday. Because of this, all the other admin type things got put on the back burner (hello, expired visa!) since I need the magical piece of paper that comes from being officially enrolled (will still have to wait on that).

It gets even better. I’m too old for the student health insurance, so I have to provide proof of health insurance for my enrollment. For health insurance, I need to provide a copy of my “titre de séjour” (residency card). To renew my visa for said card, I need to be officially enrolled in school. Yep, that’s pretty much French administration in a nut shell.  Continue reading