Things are getting serious.
I officially have an appointment with my lawyer this week and we’re going to discuss (in French!) the ~3 paths that I can pursue with the government so that my roots in Paris aren’t abruptly pulled up. I still have 6 months left on my current Carte de Séjour, but I want to make ready with minimal stress this time around.
My first visa application process was done in conjunction with an employer, so it was fairly stress-free on my end (plus or minus a really lovely trip to the consulate in San Francisco!) My visa renewal in 2015 was… less calm, to say the least. Everything worked out for the very best, which is what I’m hoping for this time around. I’m just putting some legal expertise behind my hope!
I’m glad that my initial email to the lawyer was very descriptive, because I have a better sense of the vocabulary that I will need to fully explain my situation. She was recommended by a good friend, so I’m hoping to have a candid discussion about the realities of the application process. I’m in a very safe position compared to many other immigrants in France, and I’m very aware of that as political discourse heats up around immigration into France.
There is a lot of misinformation being perpetuated by some main stream politicians about the ease of immigration… Feel free to Google ‘how to naturalise in France’ or follow along over the next few months to get a glimpse over just how difficult the process is for even the most well-positioned, well-funded applicants. I have savings set aside for the legal fees, the photocopies, the new birth certificates, the new translations, and many people who arrive in France, do not.
One of the things that this process teachers you is meticulous planning, but the practice of sheer stubbornness is another valuable lesson. Part of why people turn to lawyers when making things with France permanent is the sheer disunity of required paperwork – some people get away with less, others are required to present things that weren’t ever mentioned on the ‘list’ of required documentation.
When faced with a situation like that in 2015, I did my best to grand jeté through the hoops held up in front of my visa process. This I just don’t have the emotional bandwidth or the time to race around from copy shop to library to office after office tracking down the appropriate papers in the preferred language.
I want to be able to say, “Why do I need that document if I am not legally required to furnish it?” with 100% confidence. I want to be able to share my experience for people in the same boat, especially for people who aren’t able to lawyer up. This process, as a friend wisely told me, is utterly crazy-making, but we’ll get through it together!