(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Friday, January 23, 2009

taking stock of logistical lessons I've learned.

anyone ever go back and re-read their blogs? I have been doing that a bit, trying to wrap my head around the monumental changes in my life since spring of 2008. I've no recent a-ha's to share, other than godDAMN a lot has been accomplished since then. It did strike me that I basically just said "I'm doing this" and leaped ... it doesn't appear that I ever seriously thought that I could not make it happen.

It occurred to me that I have a number of newer readers, some who are wishing and dreaming and even considering going about a move abroad ... maybe even to, gasp!, France! and maybe I might dredge up a few of the logistic-related posts I shared last year ... might be of interest, might be of assistance, might is right ... who knows? so here goes ...

On moving more than your suitcase ...

shipping saga begins

she downsizes

Shipping containers I used

Final selection of moving company

On moving live animals ...

louis and bruno oh my!

basics of preparing to move dogs to France

On getting a long-stay French visa and Carte de Sejour ... 

I followed these steps and it wasn't terrible! Please note I completed the process in San Francisco, one thing I learned via this blog is each French consulate in America has slight differences ... so I recommend you inquire with the French consulate nearest you (the internet is your friend!). and Yes, you must apply in person.

Applying for long term visa-SF Process

Once you have your visa and arrive in France, your Carte de Sejour is the next step. You must apply within 2 months from arrival in France. What follows is an excerpt from a post describing my visit to the Prefecture to initiate the CDS application:

We waited another 15 minutes or so to meet with the gentleman for the Carte de Séjour. Despite whatever scary claptrap I have read about how awful this process is (and perhaps it is not claptrap in other towns with more immigrants or other reasons, since we have seen a great deal of variation in the French processes ... even in the U.S. consulates), the process in Perigueux was smooth. The clerk spoke English and was very kind. I was extremely anxious about my passport and visa. After checking-in to the hotel, I had read more closely the slip of paper stapled in my Passport by the consulate. It indicates that one must have the police stamp your visa at the airport IMMEDIATELY upon arrival. My visa, although handed over in the airport, did not have any stamp. I had brought my ticket to prove when I entered.

Mr. Clerk was not at all surprised. "They don't seem to stamp Americans anymore." "Do I need a police stamp from somewhere else?" "No problem, just bring your ticket."

He was just a very easygoing person. They already have a sheet outlining all the items one needs for the CDS. Most of it I already had gathered and presented for the visa. One needs proof of resources/income, a doctor's visit (in France), Passport, Birth Certificate, Proof of residency, 3 Passport photos. I can return next week during regular hours and be helped.

Click HERE for another helpful link summarizing the Carte de Sejour application process, ... It covers EU and non-EU citizens.

So after I submitted the items I already had, my application commenced. I received a letter with an appointment for a medical exam and instructions on how to obtain 'timbres' (tax stamps) for the process. After a trip to Bordeaux for the doctor's visit and buying five 55 euro stamps, I returned to the Prefecture to complete my application. About 3 weeks later, I received my official Carte de Sejour (national identity card).

So, the most frequently asked logistical questions typically cover those areas ... moving, moving with dogs, and the visa/Carte de Sejour process...

Sometimes the devil is in the details ... so if there are questions out there, let'em rip!


Randal Graves said...

I'm still stuck in my rut, so no, I don't go back and read my blog. ;-)

But if I ever get the chance to move to France or invade another nation, I'll need logistical expertise, and now I know where to look!

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

rg- i know i should be working on this meme thing, but i'm in avoidance mode at the moment ...

Dazed and Confused.Com said...

When I decide to move back to Scotland to live sans the dead weight of a Scottish husband can I get you to do my research for me??

amy said...

I so appreciated this post - I'm still trying to work out this crap and i've been here over two years - now that I have my new passport I can get the visa to get the carte etc...you made it seem less intimidating (though I bet the Perigueux prefecture is cheerier than the one in Limoges!)

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

Di-Sure, I'm a pro by now!

amy-I'm glad! If there's anything I can do to help, let me know... (the Perigueux prefecture is a dream, in my opinion)