It happened! I was regularised in France after more than a year of waiting. Yes, i know i said it happened in less than two months but just wait, get comfortable and read on so i can tell you the whole story.
NO LONG STAY VISA, THE SHAME!
Some of you know that i had entered France with a visitors 90 day visa then got married to a French man a month after entering. Some of you know that we tried to apply for my card de sejour (green card) 6 months after being married and that each time we went to apply at the prefecture ( immigration office) we got sent back home in search for more idiotic unnecessary papers. Well, we spent a whole year doing that in Paris. Each time we went we were sent home in search for more things to collect like my air plane tickets or a less than 3 month old marriage certificate. The waiting time for each appointment was three months! That is how we spent a whole year just trying to apply that we eventually gave up.
Afteer all that, we made plans to move to USA sooner than we had expected it to happen. Many people advised me to go back to USA and get a long stay visa first then begin the process again, the only problem with that was that it had nothing to do with me not being able to apply. My husband and i had not been rejected, at least not yet. Others told me to stay illegal and not to worry about it and others told me to keep trying because the French administration did that to everyone to discourage people from coming to France. Listen, if i would have known how much easier things would be in the south of France, i would have asked my husband for us to move here sooner! So what happened then after applying in Montpellier in November 2016?
LIES AND MORE LIES
The people who told me to go back home to apply for a long stay visa were totally wrong on this one. And the real problem in Paris was the clerks who kept sending us home in search for more papers which in the end we would find out that they were never needed.
When we moved to the south, it never crossed my mind to keep trying to apply; but suddenly and expectantly, my daughter’s school principal told me one evening about a group of people who help immigrants in France. The conversation had been all about taking French classes but somehow it curved to the famous card de sejour. I told him the Paris story and he sent me to talk to some people in the immigrants office at Secours Populaire. He suggested that i go ask about the french classes they offered and to also mention my paperwork because he had heard stories about how they help people in my situation. I ignored the part about the papers and went there out of curiosity to see if they really offered French classes.
After I took a French test, i was informed that there were no current classes given to people who were on my level (6th level whatever that means) and that i had to wait until they were available . The woman who helped me asked if there was anything else she could do and i jokingly told her that she could make the prefecture give me a card de sejour. She then set an appointment for me to meet with another person who would be able to answer all my immigration questions. I didn’t want to go but when i told my husband about it he said we should try it one more time and if it worked well, it worked!
The woman helped us by giving us the list of all papers needed to apply at the prefecture in Montpellier; and get this, we had all needed papers since day one. She told us the same thing a French immigration lawyer had told me in Los Angeles “Everything is hard in France but in Paris is harder. Everyone does whatever they want and no one is ever on the same page at the prefectures” She told us to try in Montpellier and to pray that we got someone nicer than those before. I prayed! And i told God that i wouldn’t fight it anymore, that if it was meant for me to be here to help me fix my status and that if not i would leave asap. The clerk at the prefecture took all our papers and was even impressed at how organized everything was. She told us that we would receive a letter in the mail asking us to go back and pay if i was approved.
SENT AND RESENT
Apparently they sent us a letter two months after applying but since we didn’t receive they resented it again and was received by us three months after we had applied. Once there, the woman asked why it had taken so long for us to go and we simply answered that we didn’t know about it and that we had never received the first letter. She made me sign here, there, and here and there, afterwards my husband paid and then she took my finger prints. After that she stamped my passport and handed me my work permit that said i was regularised and told us i would receive my card de sejour in a month in the mail. We couldn’t believe it! No questions asked, no interviews, no medical examinations, no OFII visits and no going back to USA to get a freaking long stay visa! Booya nay sayers! God works in mysterious ways 😉
I hold in my hand my work permit and soon i will have my card de sejour, that is.. If nothing else happens. Freaking awesome! I am happy i didn’t listen to all those telling me to go back home when i had just arrived because no matter what, Paris would have made me wait a whole year to begin the process anyways.
Here is a video of the restaurant we celebrated this great victory in Montpellier. I posted it in Vianka’s World, my kid’s ututbe channel. Thanks and VIVE Montpellier! 😀