Category Archives: Carte de Séjour

My Love Affair with the Préfecture: A Timeline

By   June 7, 2008

October 2006: Apply for first Carte de Séjour at Seynod mairie
December 2006: Receive récépissé #1 in Seynod
February 2007: Receive first CDS travailleur temporaire due to being a language assistant; but need to change adress on it already since I had moved. Since I stayed within the same département, a sticker with the new address is placed on the back of the card.
March 2007: Apply for second CDS at Meythet mairie
May 2007: Receive récépissé #2 in Meythet
June 2007: CDS gets lost in the mail (uknown to me)
August 2007: Re-apply for second CDS at Annecy préfecture; receive récépissé #3 same day
October 2007: Receive second CDS visiteur due to being PACSed, but not having lived together for one year
December 2007: Apply for third CDS; receive récépissé #4 at Annecy préfecture same day
January 2008: Discover that Paris sent the wrong CDS; re-apply for third CDS, receive no récépissé
March 2008: Receive correct third CDS travailleur temporaire due to being language assistant again
April 2008: Apply for fourth CDS at Annecy préfecture; receive récépissé #5 same day
June 2008: Receive fourth CDS vie privée et familiale due to being PACSed and having lived together for one year; and finally have the full right to work in France!


March 2009: Wander all over Annecy trying to find out where to request a recent récépissé de PACS that is needed in order to renew my CDS vie privée et familiale for another year. Finally discover that I need to request it from the TGI Paris, but their website no longer exists and they never answer the phone. (Address & Info on what to do is here.)  Finally get the stupid récépissé de PACS and hand in all the paperwork to the préfecture in Annecy. No récépissé though since they assured me I would receive my new CDS before the old one expires.
May 2009: Pay 70€ to a tabac to buy OMI timbres which the préfecture requires. My new CDS vie privée et familiale is actually there with the correct information so I am set for another year in France!
June 2009: Moved to Chambéry, which is in a different département, so instead of just putting a sticker on my current CDS to change the address, I have to re-apply from scratch! Same exact papers that I just gave to the préfecture in Annecy a month ago. ::sigh:: (Luckily none of them were too old, so I didn’t have to get any new documents.)  Find out the préfecture in Chmabéry does not give out récépissés immediately.
July 2009: Receive a convocation to go pick up my récépissé, which is good until September 30.
September 2009: Return to préfecture to ask if my CDS has arrived yet and what to do when my récépissé runs out in a week. No CDS because Annecy has not yet sent my file to Chambéry and I’ll be sent another convocation when my new récépissé is printed so I can go pick it up.
December 2009: Still waiting for a new récépissé and new CDS with my Chambéry address on it. Something tells me I will not receive either one…. My CDS (with my old address in Annecy on it) is good until May 2010, so I’m not that worried about it. I have to do the renewal process in March anyway, so I don’t bother going back to the préfecture to ask what’s going on. I’m sure the answer is: Annecy has not yet sent your file.

March 2010: Still no news about CDS with Chambéry address, but it’s time to renew it anyway. Turned in all the paperwork on the 9th and was told my change of address card (that I applied for in JUNE) would arrive in a few days.  A few days meant 16 days later, on the 25th. Chambéry just said Annecy never wanted to send my dossier so that’s why it took so darn long.

Guess who has the right to work in France now?

By   June 5, 2008


I got my carte de séjour vie privée et familiale today! It says “autorise son titulaire à travailler” right on it. And it’s good until May 2009. I am beyond ecstatic!!!

It has taken me almost two years and a lot of months wondering how I’d make it financially in France. I hope EU citizens realize how incredibly lucky they are. Not that I’m bitter or anything…

Time to apply for unemployment and any and every job I can find!

Carte Vie Privée et Familiale

By   April 14, 2008

So remember that list of documents needed to obtain a vie privée et familiale carte de séjour due to being PACSed for a year? Let’s review and see if it was what I really needed.

1. Copy of passport & visa
2. Copy of ID card of French partner

Ok, these were fine. Except they also wanted a copy of my current carte de séjour, which I should have known they would want.

3. Birth certificate and official translation into French

I probably could have gotten by without these (and without wasting another 35 €) since they were already in my file. At least that’s what the man made it sound like…

4. Déclaration de communauté de vie (à remplir en mairie)
5. Déclaration de non polygamie (à remplir en mairie)

The mairie in Cran-Gevrier had no idea what these were, so they made us just write up an attestation on a blank piece of paper and they stamped it. Then the prefecture said we didn’t even need the non-polygamy one anyway because that’s only for people who come from countries that allow polygamy.

6. Proof of housing, with both names

Just the lease was good enough.

7. 3 ID photos

Impossible to screw this one up.

8. Last 3 pay stubs of partner

Ok, we had those, except the man also mentioned pay stubs for me… not sure why because having a job already is not a requirement in order to get the vie privée et familiale card… but then he didn’t actually require pay stubs for me. So I’m confused.

9. Justificatifs de communauté de vie antérieurs au PACS

I thought this one would be a problem since even though we’ve lived together for over a year, February to August 2007 was in Meythet. We moved to Cran-Gevrier in September. But we didn’t need any paperwork from Meythet, because we’ve been PACSed for a year, which implies we’ve lived together for a year.

Other documents needed!

I brought our original récépissé de PACS and contrat de PACS with us because I assumed they would need it (and I was right), but of course there were other documents that we needed that weren’t on the list:

recent récépissé de PACS (less than 3 months old)
déclaration des impôts (though I don’t understand this one since we haven’t done our joint 2007 taxes yet, and I’m not on David’s 2006 taxes…)

So we ran to the Tribunal after leaving the Préfecture, only to find out that the Tribunal d’Instance in Annecy is no longer at the Conservatoire d’Art et d’Histoire, across from the ugly-as-sin-and-soon-to-be-torn-down Centre Hospitalier. It moved to 19 Avenue de Parmelan about a year ago (so right after we got PACSed), which is next to Galeries LaFayette, and right down the street from the Préfecture.

When the Tribunal was at the Conservatoire, you just had to walk around to the back and go in to some small dark rooms. Now that the Tribunal is downtown, there’s a stupid metal detector at the entrance. And the woman at the accueil tried telling us that you can’t get a recent récépissé de PACS because… wait for it… ça n’existe pas ! Luckily she called upstairs to make sure and found out she was indeed wrong. So we got our recent récépissé de PACS, and discovered that David had never notified the mairie that he was PACSed so it could be put on his birth certificate. (Birth certificates in France constantly change, depending on if you are PACSed, married, divorced, have children, become mentally insane, etc.) Not that that really matters to the Tribunal, but it’s just that we could have given the Préfecture a copy of David’s birth certificate with the PACS info, instead of getting a recent récépissé de PACS – at least that’s the what the Tribunal says. But either way, we need some official document to prove that we are still PACSed.

I don’t know yet if I’ll have to do the medical visit again (I hope not since I just did it in December!) or if I’ll have to pay the 70 € renewal fee or the 275 € first-time fee (I’m hoping for the first, obviously). The Préfecture claims I can work with just the récépissé – and it does state that I have the right to work – but I still think most employers are going to require the actual carte…

David’s going to drop off the two missing documents tomorrow morning (they said we could just leave them at the accueil instead of both of us returning and waiting in line). And then in 4-6 weeks, I should receive my card as long as it doesn’t get lost in the mail like last summer.

So I suppose the lesson for today is to never believe the Préfecture’s list of required documents because they’re usually wrong. They would save people a lot of time if they’d just redo their lists, but I don’t imagine that happening anytime soon.

Travailleur Temporaire to Vie Privée et Familiale

By   March 11, 2008

I love that I just now received my travailleur temporaire carte de séjour for being an assistant when I have five weeks of work left. Really, what was the point??

Anyway, I got the list of documents that I need to provide for my first vie privée et familiale card due to being PACSed. For the Annecy prefecture, this is the list:

Demande de Carte de Séjour
Premiere Carte Vie Privée et Familiale – PACS
Photocopies et Originaux

Important: Lors du dépôt du dossier les deux partenaries doivent être présents. SAUF CAS PARTICULIER (régularisation exceptionelle…) CETTE CARTE EST DELIVREE AU RENOUVELLEMENT DE LA CST VISITEUR précédemment obtenue avec un visa D.

– Passeport: pages d’identité, numéro, dates de validité et entrée régulière en France
– Carte nationale d’identité ou passeport du partenaire FRANCAIS
– Extrait d’acte de naissance datant de moins de 3 mois, avec filiation traduit en français (traducteur assermenté)
– Déclaration de communauté de vie (à remplir en mairie)
– Déclaration de non polygamie (à remplir en mairie)
– Justificatif de domicile aux deux noms : contrat de location ou quittance de loyer ou d’électricité de moins de trois mois. Si vous êtes hébergé par un particulier, attestation d’hébergement du logeur + piece d’identité + quittance. Si vous êtes hébergé dans une résidence, attestation d’hébergement.
– 3 photos d’identité (45mm x 35mm)
– Justificatifs de revenu du partenaire
– Justificatifs de communauté de vie antérieurs au PACS

Imprime visite médicale ANAEM à renseigner en MAIRIE
Désistement recours contentieux en cours

UPDATE April 14: You also need to bring a copy of your current carte de séjour, a récépissé de PACS that is less than 3 months old, the actual PACS contract, and a déclaration des impôts !!!

So I’m not sure what some of those documents are, especially the last one about communauté de vie antérieurs au PACS. I guess we’ll have to go to the mairie and figure this stuff out. I’m annoyed that I have to get another birth certificate from Michigan and then have it translated (for 35 €), when I’ve already done that for my previous CDS and to get PACSed.

And I need to renew my passport soon, but first I have to find a photo shop around here that will do American passport photos. Luckily I can renew by mail and pay with my American credit card too:

Paperwork fun never ends. I can’t wait for May when I can start filling out unemployment forms!


By   January 31, 2008
Annecy in winter

I tried to pick up my new carte de séjour today. Except the people in Paris had made a mistake and sent an exact copy of the card I already have – visiteur that expires at the end of March. It’s supposed to be travailleur temporaire that expires in May. ::sigh:: By the time (HA! If…) I actually receive the new card, I’ll have to do another changement du statut anyway to vie privée et familiale. I didn’t really mind going to the Préfecture every 2 months for all of the renewals and changements, but after a year of this crap, I’m over it…

Then on my way to the bank afterwards, I noticed that there was an Auto-Banque on the side of the building – so driveup ATMs do exist in France! But your car needs to be really tiny to fit next to it.

Working at the middle school was easier today than most other days. Apparently students like doing number dictations, especially when you throw in ordinals and fractions.

This poster has been advertising Molière’s play “The Doctor in spite of Himself” at my high school for like a month. Look closer at it because I’m sure it’s not what you think it is. Can you imagine this hanging in an American high school?

I came home to find our heater had finally been delivered! The chauffage au sol (heat in the floor) does not work at all, so our apartment has been rather cold all winter. David finally ordered a little ceramic heater, after weeks and weeks of me complaining about how cold I always am. I’ve been glued to this thing ever since I got home, and I’m entertaining myself by reading the cute translation mistakes in the user manual.

“Keep out of children and do not allow them to operate this appliance.”
“It is not recommended to use this appliance in humid ambient as bathroom.”
“Never move or range the appliance by pulling the cord.”
“When the heater is not use for a long time, protect it from dust and moist.”
“When the heater is switch on… an alarm is hear.”

And now I have to prepare for tomorrow since I have to leave at 6:45 am. Except somebody does not want to me work on my computer.

Or maybe he’s still mad because we just got him sterilisé

Visite médicale, times two

By   December 12, 2007

I went to Grenoble today for a medical visit required by the préfecture (or else no new carte de séjour). I had done the exact same thing last year when I first arrived in France, so at least I knew what to expect. But still, wasting 20 € and an entire day just to get a chest x-ray is rather annoying.

It took me 3 hours to get to the ANAEM office (bus, train, tram, walking), which was closed upon my arrival anyway. So I had to stand outside for 30 minutes trying not to freeze to death (why was it so ridiculously windy today?)

I recognized the same nurse and doctor as the previous year. I even had the same weight (you don’t want to know) and same bad left eye (I swear I got new contacts!). The doctor was just as inquisitive as before – Is Bush really as dumb as people say he is? Who do you think will be the next American president? Thank goodness Bush can’t be president for a third term!

20 minutes later and I was out the door, precious récépissé de visite médicale in my hand. I originally thought I wanted to do some Christmas shopping in the Grand’Place mall, but after dealing with so many random (and angry) people on three forms of public transportation plus the fact that I couldn’t stop shivering even indoors, I just wanted to go home and be warm.

I don’t know why, but Grenoble doesn’t impress me. Every time I go there, I find it dirty and bland; just like any other big city with old buildings. But that could be because every time I go there, it’s for les démarches administratives and nothing else. I get to go back in about 6 months for the new immigrant integration crap that Sarkozy passed into law recently. Usually it’s for new arrivals, but since I will be getting my first vie privée et familiale carte de séjour, I will have to do it too regardless of how long I’ve already been in France. Yippee.

So now my question is – what does one do with two x-rays of one’s chest? Start making a Halloween costume for next year?

Success (sort of) again.

By   November 26, 2007

Is it weird that I actually don’t mind going to the préfecture? Since I had finally received my new arrêté de nomination and procès-verbal (six weeks late, but no biggie, right?!?), I had to head back to the préf and do another changement du statut from visiteur to travailleur temporaire. I was a tiny bit worried they would ask for a new visa, but luckily they didn’t. I had all of the documents listed on the form they gave me last month… except now they are requesting a new medical visit. (I think because I’m changing back to a worker card – I certainly didn’t need it when I got my visiteur card this summer.)

I highly doubt my school has asked for an appointment at the ANAEM. Since I’m the only non-EU citizen assistant there, they tend to forget things aren’t as simple for me… which is weird since last year’s English assistant was American too.

Anyway, the man working there is quite pleasant and he remembers me because of the lost card fiasco this summer, so I like going to the préfecture these days. I received my new récépissé and autorisation provisoire de travail; now I just need to go to Grenoble and do the visite medicale, and I won’t have to deal with stupid paperwork again until March!

This is rather long.

By   November 15, 2007

I realized I haven’t made an actual post in quite a while. I guess that means nothing too interesting has been happening. I’m still commuting more than an hour to work 3 days a week, and it’s made me so incredibly tired. Plus we have no heat in our apartment, so I have to spend the rest of my time under a huge couette in order to not freeze to death. (We supposedly have chauffage dalle – heating in the floor – but it does not work at all and our crappy radiators don’t heat anything.)

I did absolutely nothing during the Toussaint vacation. It went by so quickly, but I have no recollection of actually doing anything worthwhile besides cleaning the apartment. I definitely have no photos of foreign cities that I’m dying to visit. I’m so jealous of the other assistants who actually get paid by the rectorat so they can go on vacation. One of these days I’ll travel again. But considering that I’ve already flown 5 times this year, I’m content to stay home with David & Canaille en ce moment.

Ah yes, the rectorat. I finally received my new arrêté de nomination this week. Normally, assistants receive these work contracts during the summer in their home countries so that they can get a visa in order to come to France. But since I was hired in the last week of September and live in France already, the rectorat took their sweet time sending it to me. Now I need to get the procès-verbal from my school, and take both to the préfecture so I can have a travailleur temporaire residency card and actually get paid for working. It’s been nearly 6 weeks and I have yet to fill out any official paperwork stating that I do indeed have a job.

I currently do co-voiturage on Tuesdays instead of taking the train. I work 9-11, 2-4 & 5-6. We leave Annecy at 6:45 am and return at 7 pm. I absolutely hate Tuesdays. On Thursdays, I work at the middle school, sometimes 2-5pm and sometimes 8-11am. The problem is that it’s 4 km from the gare, so someone always has to drive me to and from there. On Fridays, I work 10-11 and 2-4 (or 3-4 in week B). I have to leave Annecy at 8am and I get back at 7pm, just to work 2 or 3 hours. I know the teachers can’t change the schedule because that’s just when the English classes are, and it’s not like the train schedule can be modified either. But it’s frustrating that the only reason I don’t like my job is the commute; it doesn’t even have anything to do with the teaching part!

Unfortunately, the stupid strikes are affecting me a little. There were no trains today, but I was able to go to work with another teacher who lives in Annecy. And then David had to drive 40 minutes to pick me up afterwards (luckily he had already taken the day off). If he hadn’t done that, I’d probably still be in the mountains, waiting for any train that I could hop on. I don’t even know if there will be trains tomorrow, so maybe I won’t be able to make it to work. Which makes me hate these strikes even more. It’s fine if you want to strike and protest against issues that you disagree with, but when it affects everyone else and their ability to get to work (and therefore get paid), it’s not so great.

I am still searching for an automatic car so I can be more independent and not waste my life in train stations. I managed to transfer enough money from the US (and lose a huge chunk of it thanks to the awesomely bad exchange rate), now I just need to find a car that isn’t so far away. Most of them I’ve found are in Bourgogne or on the other side of Lyon.

One thing I did manage to do recently was sort out stuff at my bank. You see, here in France, people who are under 25 have all sorts of special discounts and deals. But apparently when you get OLD, all of those perks are taken away from you. My bank card was a special “under 25” card, and instead of automatically ordering a new, regular (old people) bank card when the original expired at the end of October, my bank just decided to do nothing. Including not notifying me that I had to make an appointment just to tell them that I do want a new card. I also found out that I cannot open a LEP account (best savings account available) because I am not a French citizen. So I opened what I could – a CSL with a 2 % interest rate every YEAR. Umm, wow. My ING account in the US has a 4 % rate every MONTH.

Speaking of US things… my beloved Thanksgiving! I will never get used to the idea of working on Thanksgiving. I hate going to school and teaching about the holiday instead of staying home and eating food and watching the Lions lose. French kids will never truly understand the holiday or why it’s so important to Americans. I try to teach the history (ok, fake story) and the traditions, but to them, it’s just an excuse for Americans to get even fatter by eating all day and it really makes me sad that they think that. :( Thanksgiving is actually what I miss most, besides 24 hour stores and furnaces.

So because I can’t have a real Thanksgiving here, and because it’s cold and gray every single day now, I’m getting a little depressed. Actually, I’m more annoyed at the lack of heat in buildings. Being cold makes me cranky and tired, and I am always cold now thanks to no heat in our apartment, and no heat in the hallways or bathrooms and even some classrooms at work. Plus I have to go outside a lot more than I did in Michigan, which is how I try to explain why winter in the US is not as bad as winter here even though it’s much colder in North America. I could drive my car everywhere – no walking or waiting outside. Plus there are furnaces and adequate heating unlike the useless radiators found here. (Yes, yes, I know France is trying to not destroy the planet by saving resources… but what’s the point of living if you’re going to be freezing and sick all the time??? It’s no wonder the French consume more medication that anyone in Europe….)

Stay tuned next week for my adventures in visiting a dentist for the first time in France and attempting to make a Thanksgiving dinner without an actual turkey!

Success! Again!

By   October 5, 2007

I would just like to say I’m sorry to everyone else in France who is having problems with their préfecture and getting/renewing their cartes de séjour. I went to pick up my new carte today, and it was very easy and painless. It expires when I thought it would, and I was also able to make another appointment soon to do a changement du statut. I now have a CDS visiteur valid until the end of March, but I need to change it back to a travailleur temporaire one like I had last year because I’m working for the rectorat again. The woman gave me the list of required documents, but since I already live in France and was an assistant last year, I don’t need to do the medical visit again or need to have a new visa! I just need to get my new arrêté de nomination and procès-verbal before my appointment on November 22. Then that new card should be valid until sometime in May, when I can do yet another changement for the vie privée et familiale card, which will give me the right to work in France for a year for the low price of 70 €.

So to make a short story even shorter, if you don’t want any problems with your carte de séjour, move to Annecy.

Nouvelle carte de séjour

By   October 3, 2007

I received notice from the préfecture that my new CDS is there! Except they’re closed on Wednesdays, so I can’t get it today. Of course. It should be a CDS visiteur that expires at the end of March. But we’ll see if they screwed that up…

However, I need to do another changement du statut from visiteur to travailleur temporaire next month since I have a job again. I just have to wait for the official documents from the rectorat.

Paperwork and waiting for more paperwork never end in France.