March 16, 2011 chartreusian

I thought we already had that.

So today  we have done the last step – en principle  -to get our carte de sejour. That’s right – we may actually get a visa.  We are one step closer to not being illegal immigrants! What a thought. 

The last step was just to pay for them.  For some reason the kids have 1-year renewable visas that were issued in Vancouver – so they’ve been fine since before we got here.  I will get a ‘researcher/scientist’ visa – and Susan get’s a ‘spouse of a researcher’ visa. Both apparently are a type of work visa – and will be good for 1 year at a time.  So by the time we get our one year visa – we’ll only have a few months until we need to start the renewal process.  Honestly – it’s been pretty much a complete gong show.  No one seems to know if I’m a student with a small stipend, or a really-poorly paid employee who takes classes. Is it a work visa or a student visa? Do I get social security with the temporary one – or wait for the real one.  Do I go to the Marie, or the Prefecture?  Is Susan’s a work visa or not? Do the kids need an additional document?  Are we entitled to this benefit or not?  Can anyone even tell me who to talk to or where to get an answer? 

I can’t even start to explain the number of trips to different offices that I’ve been to since last August. It’s taken so long that we’ve missed out on all kinds of benefits, have been without health coverage, and a bunch of other stuff.

But I digress….

Today – was the last step.  I had to pay €340 for each.  In order to do so – I needed to get some timbres fiscaux.  Some type of ‘financial stamps’ that are a kind of government money order.  So I had to find a Tresor Publique  and wait in line to buy them, so that I could bring them to our Marie, for them to send by mail to the prefecture in Grenoble, for them to release the cartes that are ready to our Marie, who will tell us to come and pick them up.   So ignore the 8x back and froth – and you’re still left with les timbres fiscaux.  It’s a small paper document issued by the government, to create a secure and portable way of transferring wealth from one place to another. Yeah – pretty much the exact thing that currency is.  So I went and paid with my bank card, to get these stamps, to bring to the Marie, to go to the prefecture, so they can turn them back into the currency from whence they came.

The French administration  may be tonnes of redundant paperwork –  and highly frustrating – but man is it ever slow!