When you have an appointment at the prefecture to renew your French expat visa, you’d better show up. Rain, shine … or flu!
Today was the day to update my 12-month French expat visa — or carte de séjour. The event seems to come around much faster each year. I could swear I just picked up mine from last year. Oh well…
It’s not that I haven’t been planning for this day. I’ve been pulling the documents together, with the help of Jennifer at Renestance, for months. Birth certificate, income statements, proof of address … all together, including translations of each. The only thing I put off until the last minute was getting a new photo. Don’t ask me why. Perhaps I wanted to wait until I had a better hair day. Mistake! I ended up with the flu. Having a photo made when you have the flu makes a bad hair day look absolutely glamorous!
French expat visa — prepping
I arrived at the prefecture in NImes pretty much on time. Jennifer was waiting for me at the front door, as we had planned. After quick “bisous, bisous” we walked across the street to a cafe. I signed the application papers Jennifer had prepared. All was going well. I handed Jennifer the stack of papers she’d asked me to bring, along with the copies.
“Flip, flip” she thumbed through them all.
“Where are your bank statements?” she asked? “The ones that show your money coming into France?“
Thanks to Jennifer’s quick thinking, she captured the bank statements off my mobile LCL account and emailed them to the printer at the prefecture. Promise, I never would have thought of it … in or out of my flu induced stupor!
French expat visa — the inquisition
If it all looks pretty tame, you should have seen the room full of people waiting to get to these “windows.” We were called up to the desk at 11:30 for our 10:30 appointment.
French expat visa — expedited
If one good thing did come out of my having the flu, it was that it helped shorten the approval process. All it took was Jen mentioning to the lady behind the glass that I was sick.
“Le grippe?” (the flu?) the lady asked in horror.
“Oui!” said Jennifer.
In less than ten minutes my papers were scanned, checked and approved. After handing me the receipt for my new carte de séjour, the lady behind the glass announced she was running off to wash her hands.
Could I have made it through the day without the help of Renestance? No way! Jennifer’s familiarity with the process and the system was a Godsend. Not to mention I could never have survived without her French-speaking skills.
Thank you Renestance. ‘Til next year!
More about expat visas