Préfecture du Nord, Lille

Carte de séjour: the waiting game

A queue that stretched along the street wasn’t what I expected when I turned up for my interview for a carte de séjour on Monday. I’d imagined my appointment was for just for me.

I was wrong.

I’m applying for a carte de séjour as the partner of an EU national – Damon was granted Irish citizenship last year. Hopefully, that means I should get a five-year visa straight off.

Irish passport

With Brexit – unfortunately – fast approaching, the time has come to régularise my position, as the French would say.

I checked the website of the préfecture for the Nord département a few months back. It said I’d need to come in as this was my first application. I clicked on the button to make an appointment and was offered 8.30 on Monday 13 January.

I received confirmation and told to be there 15 minutes in advance, so I could get through security. The interview would take an hour, they said.

An hour? What was I going to talk about for an hour?

Anyway, a lifetime of waiting later – patience isn’t always my strong suit – the day of my interview came around. After a sleepless night, I was up and out in time to be there for 8.15.

As I rounded the corner, I realised my error.

More than 100 people stood in the queue in front of the building. It was clear we’d be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Finally, I was seen at 11.00 – but my interview didn’t take an hour. It barely lasted two minutes.

I started to explain that I was British…

“Oh yes, I hear your pretty accent,” the woman behind the counter interrupted, smiling.

She then took my passport, photocopied it and told me to send in my documents… to the very office I was stood in. When I said I had them with me and started to pass them across the counter, she nudged them back.

“Good,” she said. “Please post them to us.”

Préfecture du Nord, Lille

And that was that. My big interview was nothing of the sort – but at least I have begun the process, even if it is one I hoped never to have to do.

Now the waiting really begins.

This entry was published on Sat, 18 Jan 2020 at 09:25. It’s filed under News and politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

11 thoughts on “Carte de séjour: the waiting game

  1. Phill Hill on said:

    We live in the Tarn region and started our process a year ago, we did manage to get a specific appointment and they accepted all our documents at the interview which only took 15 minutes. I received my Carte de séjour a few months later, it is only a two year carte, my husband is still waiting for his. Fingers crossed it will arrive soon.

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  2. As my father is here with me as American citizen retired; he gets a one year renewal carte de séjour visiteur and up again next month, its the same papers and automatically given with an appointment, he is call to go back a month later to pick up at the préfecture. Easy just the hassle of renewing every year. Of course we are citizens for many years so never an issue even coming to live in France we were already French….

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  3. Good luck with it all. It must be such a worry for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unbelievably frustrating but – dare I say – in my experience not untypical of French bureaucracy. I hope you don’t have to wait too long.

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  5. ..such a pretty…..accent!

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