Way back in the spring I started the laborious business of preparing the dossier for an application for a carte de séjour permanent. This means the right to stay permanently in France. Well, renewable every ten years – but that’s a long way ahead……
Then came my eventful health summer, which interrupted the process somewhat. But in July -after my two hospital stays – I made my formal application for a rendezvous at the Préfecture of the Département du Gard in Nimes. At this meeting you have to hand over your dossier and who knows what happens next or how long it will take. The rendezvous can only be asked for on the internet so there is no way of talking to anybody about this.
Then I waited, and waited. The wait became more urgent the more messy the Brexit process becomes. As long as the UK is in the EU, we don’t need a carte de séjour: if you have lived here for at least five years you have the right to live and work in France with or without the carte.
But now both the British Ambassador to France and the Direction Générale des Etrangers en France (DGEF) have said it is advisable to have a carte de séjour permanent before 29 March 2019.
After Brexit (horrible to think this is likely to happen) this carte should be relatively easy to change for whatever is required then (no decisions yet). This covers the first of the three big problems (residency rights, health care and the drop in the value of my pensions).
So imagine my relief when I got an email towards the end of August saying my rendezvous was on Thursday 6th. This morning I was up at 6am, anxious to get to Nimes with time to spare, given the dire warning on the website that the rdv is off if you are five minutes late.
I have bad memories of the Préfecture of Nimes, and in particular its unfriendly Bureaux des Etrangers. I was pleasantly surprised that things seem to have changed: a cheery young woman greeted me in reception and asked for my passport.
“Oh,” she said, “I don’t see your name on the list for today. Can I see your email?” She looked, and confirmed my meeting was on Thursday the 6th. BUT IN DECEMBER! What an eejit I have been!
So my rendezvous will be nearly five months after asking for it, with no idea how long the subsequent process will take and whether I will get the carte before the end of March.. And I can say goodbye to the next step, applying for French nationality, any time in the near future.
Surprisingly, apart from being annoyed with myself, I am not as upset as I might be. It has been hard work assembling my dossier. I don’t really know what the Départment du Gard wants. The Interior Ministry has provided guidelines, but apparently different départements are interpreting these with some variations
At least this is now done and hopefully I can just pull it out again in three months time.
This is what my dossier includes (thank goodness for computers; it all looks quite stylish and convincing – at least to me).
- the completed demande de titre de séjour, including some text on why I am applying
- documents confirming my identity – passport, photos, birth certificate with translation
- documents on where I live and my rights to be there – I got formal statements, or attestations from my notaire and the commune of Bréau
- proof I have lived here continuously for five years – I have downloaded electricity and telephone bills for this period
- proof I have sufficient income not to be a drain on the State -including a description of my various pensions, a spreadsheet showing income from all sources over the past five years, and bank statements showing the receipt of pensions
- income tax assessments for the past five years
- attestations showing my rights to healthcare under the French health system and that I have a fully complementary private health insurance