Monday, January 14, 2013

it's official: I can stay!

This news dates back a week and a bit. At the beginning of this year, I received a letter inviting me to pick up my 10-year residency card at the prefecture in Auxerre. While I was still on holidays I decided to drive the 50 km into town to pick it up. The office hours are from 1:30-4:00 pm (so very practical!) and so I got there around 3:15, thinking that I had plenty of time. They told me that they were no longer giving out numbers because there were too many people. I wasn't the only one wanting a number, so I thought I'd bring out my inner French complainer and told them that I was just there to pick up a card (how long could it take?) and that I had driven 50 km just for this card - plus they were supposed to be open until 4pm... Luckily for me and the other two guys also hoping to get in line, a worker came back and said that the numbers could be given out again. I waited my turn, signed a form, handed over my fiscal stamps (162€) and I got this puppy which is good until October 2022.
Oh, and are you curious what fiscal stamps look like? Here they are!
The steps to finally getting this card started on August 6th of last year. I filled out a request for a new titre de séjour and had to address a letter to the prefecture stating that I wanted to apply for a 10-year card this time (I finally had the right to do so after three years of marriage). In October I received a letter, giving me a date and time in late November that Jean-Marc and I were to come to the prefecture together. I thought they may have wanted to interview us both to make sure we're really married, but all they needed the two of us for was to sign a paper saying that we live together. After that I had a private interview with a fellow, while Jean-Marc had to wait outside.

The guy asked me about my education, work, associations I belong to (I had to scramble for that one!) and he duly noted down all the answers. I then was given a paper with two sections that I had to sign: one that said that I'm not currently living in polygamy and another saying that I will not live in polygamy in the future. He then told me I'd have a written test to see if I was integrating into French culture. Here's a sampling of the questions along with my answers.

1. name two specialties of French cuisine (mains dishes or desserts)
- boeuf bourguignon and crème brûlée (we do live in Burgundy, after all!)

2. name a French singer
- Johnny Hallyday (I stayed with a safe choice)

3. name a French athlete (help, I don't watch sports!)
- Zidane (he was the only one I could think of, and I'm not even sure he's 100% French!)

4. where is it illegal to drink? (I had to think about this one - it seems you can drink anywhere!)
- while driving

5. what's the speed limit on routes (I had to ask if it was outside city limits)
- 90 km/h

6. what's the river running through Auxerre (luckily Jean-Marc is interested in rivers!)
- l'Yonne

7. name a person who has influenced the history of France
- Napoleon (which one, Jean-Marc later asked! Erm... )

8. how is the president of the republic elected (huh? By election? No, that's too simple)
- the answer is 'suffrage universelle' but I wrote election/vote. I had honestly never heard that term before, or if I had at one point I never clued in!

9. do men and women have the same rights in France?
- yes! (although it's kind of hard to get your maiden name to stick)

I can't remember the other questions, but you get the picture. I figure I got 19/20, with my only slip being that election question. I'm just glad they didn't ask me the words to the Marseillaise! Although I think that might be coming next year when I ask for my French nationality and passport (something I'm planning on doing, just to make things less complicated and less expensive - but I'm still keepin my Canadian passport, don't worry).

I had better start studying!


  1. Congratulations, Marianne! You will soon really and truly be French! I love to read your posts - and I also love the pictures when you post them. Happy New Year to you and to Jean-Marc.

  2. I really need to come see you!

  3. Congratulations! I remember getting my 'Alien Card' in Japan. What is it called in French?

  4. Sorry for the delayed response!

    Liz - thanks so much! Happy New Year to you and Keith. I will make an effort to post more pictures soon!

    Jane - yes, please!

    Kate - Thanks! I think it's just called a titre de résidence - not anywhere near as fun as your alien card. :)