|Off to downtown Bordeaux.|
This isn't going to be a long post...I just wanted to share a little observation about some differences that I find here in France around government/Carte de Sejour (long-term VISA) paperwork - how it's done here in France and how the US completes passports. Recently, we have had the luxury(?) of completing (or in process of) both!
At some point, when I'm really feeling motivated - I will share my experience of getting my first long-term visa before we moved here and then the continual paperwork that I still provide to have this thing renewed (now Carte de Sejour)- at this point yearly, but then will be 10 years. (Please also note, my process is considered easier as I am married to a French citizen) But I won't go too far down that path right now. That is another whole blog post in itself!! I will just say for the sake of comparison that a few weeks ago, I spent a good part of several days - first trying to figure out exactly what documentation I needed for renewing my carte de sejour & then - pulling together and copying all kinds of documents to renew it and finally figuring out exactly where I needed to hand this dossier in. (About 2" thick) Last year I was able to do all of this at our local town police station - but of course we live in France - and these type of things constantly change. Finally figured out that this year it had to be at the regional Prefecture in downtown Bordeaux. I swear they want everything - including the kitchen sick!! At this point, it's been handed in and now I wait (& wait - last year it was almost 2 months) to hear back from them for an appointment to continue this process! (Last year it was 3 appointments - one to get the initial temporary carte de sejour, a 2nd to renew it again as I waited for a medical appt. and a required 'Welcome to France" orientation to be scheduled and a final time to go back and pick up the official carte de sejour - once my medical and welcome orientation had been completed)
Let's shift now to the US process of doing passports. This is the first time we have experienced this as expats. Really the process is the same as it is in the States. If you are an adult, you can mail in your passport, and appropriate documentation for renewal. If you are getting a child passport, it has to be done in person - in the States we went to the post office. Here in France, one has to go to the nearest US Consulate to do this. We are lucky at this point - we have a US Consulate right here in Bordeaux. (Although, as of January 2014 - the passport renewal process is streamlining, so it can only be done in Paris & Marseilles) - hence my push to get it done here in Bordeaux this month.
So given that last little bit of news & the fact that all of my girl's needed their passports renewed this Spring - we scurried to get them done here. This is how it went...Email the US Consulate asking for an appointment -. Getting an answer back in 48 hours with an appointment date & time (2 weeks from when I emailed) and links to documentation that we needed to bring. Step one - follow link to fill out Passport renewal form on-line - easy enough and then print. I did all three of these forms in about 20 minutes. Step 2 - read list of required documentation (listed on same form) and copy those. Copy passports for both my husband & myself. Step 3 - Have ID photos taken of each child - with clear instructions for photographer as to proper sizing for US passport. Found our local photo shop had no trouble with these instructions. Step 4 - Purchase overnight delivery envelope at post office - type of envelope clearly stated and pictured on website.
|Chartron - near the US Consulate Office|
|The US Consul -Bordeaux and my youngest daughter|
Just making a comparison here and sometimes it's just a bit hard for my American brain to wrap my head around the French system....(let alone - find some clear instructions of the exact process!)
|My oldest at lunch|
|Just a candid having lunch - middle daughter|
|Finally - my youngest enjoying her shrimp and avocado sandwich!|