La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

Archive for the tag “visa”

Adventures at the préfecture

My visa expiration date was looming and, not quite ready to go home just yet, Sim and I paid a visit to the Préfecture du Rhône. The dreaded administrative instutution, notorious for their inefficiency and lack of both sympathy and photocopiers, is an unavoidable step in the renewal of one’s carte de séjour, or residence permit.

Swish new building – same old system!

We got up bright and early, intending to arrive between 7 and 7:30 to line up for the 8:30 opening time. Yes, this is how the system works. No appointments. You have to line up like punters at a festival and hope you arrived early enough to get a ticket. We arrived at 7:10 and joined the line – turned out we were 60th.

The line was a little like this…

When the doors opened at 8:30, we had a passport check and were divided into two groups – those seeking asylum and those, like me, seeking to change/renew their resident statuses. We settled into the vast waiting room, and…waited. For over two hours. There are 30 guichets, or counters, in this section of the préfecture and 10 were staffed. Living up to the reputation.

When our number finally popped up on the screen, we hurried over to Yohan at guichet 16 and, in 15 minutes, were done – after over three hours of waiting! We had a list of requirements which we’d followed to the letter. We had so many documents, and at least two photocopies of each as, if you’re missing anything at all, they will not make a copy for you – you have to come back another day. We had photos, bills, bank statements, attestations that I won’t work and that I live with Sim, copies of all my passport pages that are stamped – even my birth certificate, translated into French! It pays to be over-organised though – the only extra thing was that Sim had to write an attestation that he’d take responsibility for me financially if I ran out of money (he later told me he wouldn’t – he’d send me home – nice!) and he did that then and there. A few signatures later and voila! I had my temporary permit, valid for 3 months, and instructions to come and collect the real deal after mid-June.

Yes, I’m pretty happy about this piece of paper!

I wonder what the line will be like for that one!



The 340€ sticker

When I got my passport back from the French Consulate in Sydney, with my visa inside, there was an accompanying stamp instructing me that, in order to validate my visa (and not get deported), I had to make an appointment with the local OFII – Office Française de l’Immigration et de l’Integration – within 3 months of my arrival.

So, like the good little legal immigrant I am, I did as instructed. Appointments are made by post, so I didn’t have to ring anyone and – gasp – talk to them! I got a reply quickly, with a sheaf of things to prepare before my appointment in 3 weeks time. It was easy enough, although expensive – my validation sticker cost 340€!

Sim, bless him, came with me to my appointment. The staff all spoke English however, and were quite lovely (except for the radiologist – she seemed quite anti-immigration)! I had to have a chest x-ray, eye test, height and weight check (I accidently told the doctor I was 173cm tall instead of 163 – damn French numbers!), immunisation check, family history of disease check and voila – I was given a medical certificate, a recommendation for a tetanus shot (it’s been a while…) and the all-important 340€ sticker, allowing me to stay for 12 months! They also gave me a little slip of paper advising what to do if I want to extend my visa after the 12 months – it involves a trip to the Préfecture, which I’ve not heard any positive stories about. Ever. Even from French people! So we shall see…

Me and my 340€ sticker!


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