Monday, September 15, 2008

I hate French Bureaucracy!

I'm sure many of you have been through this terrible headache of making the long journey down (or up) to your local French consulate to apply for your visa to live in France. I have already gone through this process two times and did not want to do it again. Here's my most recent story:

While I was in France this summer working at my internship in the south, I was in communication with the Besançon prefecture who granted me my carte de sejour and extended it after it expired to stay in France during the summer. The woman who was in charge of my dossier, my file, apparently was certain that if I sent a letter to the Foreigner Department of the Prefecture that I could obtain a new carte de sejour étudiante since I wanted to restart my studies in the fall. Since I had a lecteur/visteur carte de sejour I would just need to change it over to a student status. She reassured me that there would be NO problem. So I write my letter, I send it in, specifically saying in the letter that if there were any problems to contact me. They did not.

A month later, I come back from my internship, and wait patiently for about an hour in the Prefecture to start the process of transferring my status. I'm leaving for the US the next morning.

When my number is finally called I go in excitedly and show them all of my paperwork. The lady says to me (and btw its not the same lady who took care of my dossier):
"Oh yes, we were told about you coming today. We're sorry but there is no possible way to change your carte de sejour from a lecteur status to a student status. C'est juste pas possible. You need to go home and get a new visa at the consulate," she said bluntly and unapologetically.


I was speechless!! I asked, why did your co-worker tell me that it was ok to change my status before and now its not??

The only thing she said was "She just found out recently."

So without any apologies from the lady, I got up a left in a huff. They have no idea how bad they screwed me over.

So flash forward to today. I'm in the US, I had to extend my plane ticket an extra week, make a last minute visa appointment at the consulate and the register with some terrible website called Campus France. All in all, this set me back about 450€ that could have been avoided if the Prefecture only knew how to do their job.

I'm just hoping theres not problems when I go to apply for the visa because after all, my plane leaves that night.

This is a moment when I could have killed the French.

No comments: