The Saga of the Titre de Sejour, French Paperwork in 4-parts. Part VII, ‘THE END…I think, for now

I think we're done!  Our 4-part Saga (see parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI)  in getting all of the paperwork, permissions, etc. done to legally reside in France, is finally coming to an end…sort of.  Two weeks ago we got the dreaded letter from the 'Powers That Be' regarding our 'Cart Vitale' or French medical insurance card.  I prepared myself mentally for the list of new things that would be required and opened the letter.  I read it.  Then I read it again.  Then I called our translator and read it to him.  He assured me that I had understood it and there were no hidden meanings: we had been granted the coveted 'Cart Vitale' .  No further paperwork, test, or anything would be required.  We had it!  Well, actually not the card, we had a piece of paper saying that we would GET the card.  One thing at a time, here.   
The other item we were missing was the 'Permis de Conduire'  French driving license.  We had been denied permission to exchange our Andorran licenses and had submitted an appeal.  I wrote it, explaining the details in typical American businesswoman fashion:  a succinct accounting of the events, and, implying, while not actually stating, that they (person who denied) was an effing idiot!  I gave it to a friend who translated it, (in more ways than one) putting in all of the flowery phrases, kowtowing, ass-kissing, etc. necessary to get anything done in France.  Last week I got an e-mail from the 'Prefecture de la Vendee'.  Well not actually THE Prefecture (I assume) but from someone in the office.  The e-mail said, briefly, that our filed had been reviewed and that we could bring our documents back to the offices of 'Permis de Conduire' and it would be re-opened.  Happy Day!  We wouldn't have to go to Driving School and take all of the exams!  Yippee!
We dutifully gathered up all of the documents, pictures, copies of documents etc. and off we went.  While we were waiting our turn I was debating whether or not to just pretend this was our first time (easiest, but I'd have to fill in all the paperwork again) or to try to explain all of the details (in my less than perfect French).  I finally remembered that this was France and they probably had a file a mile high on us that everyone had access to so best to confess our transgressions and throw ourselves on their mercy, once again.  When it was our turn I stumbled through our story, gave her lots of papers, (the denial, our letter of appeal, copy of the e-mail, etc.).  She took it all, smiled gravely and left.  I heard her on the phone for a bit, then she came out of her office, nodded, and went into someone else's office.  Ten minutes later she came back, nodded again, said it would be a few more minutes, and went back to her office.  Then she came out and told us to go sit; she waited on the next people.  We had no clue as to what the problem was:  fake e-mail?  someone playing a bad joke?  PTB changed their collective minds?  we were not worthy?  Finally she called us back and handed us our Andorran licenses with a smile.  I numbly took them…but wait…that's a different picture!  I turned them over and….it didn't say 'Andorra' it said 'FRANCE'  (I didn't know they were the same style…duh!).  They weren't making us redo all of the paperwork and wait 6 months…..they had actually issued the licenses….right there…on the spot….now….today!  I was speechless (which is a very bad thing to be in France)  I finally remembered my manners, gave her many 'merci beaucoup's, kissed her ring and we left,  still unbelieving but pink paper in hand.
Now if we could only convince them to let us exchange the Andorran number plates on our car…..That file is 2 inches thick and growing…. 

4 thoughts on “The Saga of the Titre de Sejour, French Paperwork in 4-parts. Part VII, ‘THE END…I think, for now”

  1. Holy crap, I’m impressed! And SOOO jealous you got your driver’s license….I’ve had it up to here with the damn auto-école!

  2. You were right to persist, refiling documents, etc… It seems that the french administration just loves to see thick dossiers. Only when the pile of paper work reaches the right heigth will you ever get anything done.

  3. I’m still giddy with joy – we had to take the exams in Andorra so we didn’t come away completely unscathed….I’ll have to remember about the height of the ‘dossier’…I wonder if ‘paper stuffing’ would speed things along? No…..

  4. I am so jealous……..living legally in France with the most difficult of paper-chasing over with! Enjoyed the story of all the trials and tribulations!

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