Monday, January 12, 2009
It has been a long and bumpy road to legality but I am finally on the right path and nearing the finish line. Over the past three weeks I have gone from illegal to almost legal to temporarily legal, several huge steps. Let me fill you in!
During my last rendez-vous with the Préfecture de Police Cité I learned that I needed a Visa D long séjour pour famille ou conjoint Français before I could apply for a Carte de Séjour. Period. This visa can only be obtained at your local French Consulate. The trouble was, of course, that my local consulate is in San Francisco!
Since I was heading back to Seattle (There, see? I used the proper name instead of home. Progress.) for the holidays, I incorporated a side trip to San Francisco. After much debate about how long this little meeting was going to take and if I needed to spend the night for not, I decided to hope for the best and buy a flight that went down and back in the same day.
As it turns out, one of my new friends, who is has also married a frenchman, had an appointment that very same day! I flew in and met Dominique for lunch. Clutching her visa in her hand she told me all about her successful appointment over a bowl of wonton soup. Encouraged by her story, I marched in to the office feeling confident. I was told to sit on one of the blue chairs and wait for my name to be called. I was surrounded by a lineup of doe-eyed college students who were applying for student visas. In their oh so french slouchy boots, trench coats and barrets they looked postcard perfect before they even touched the ground in Paris. As I waited to be called up to the front, one of these little darlings leaned over to ask where I was going to study? I smiled and said, "Oh no sweetheart. I have moved on to the next level: Marrying a Frenchman." The girl's mouth fell open a little and the other girls leaned to overhear my story. It was a priceless.
Moments later, my name was called, my file reviewed and my passport stamped. I was then the proud owner of a Visa which meant that I then had the right to enter France and ask permission to stay, a small but important step.