After our first somewhat unsuccessful attempt at getting a Titre de Séjour, residence permit when we first arrived in France, our application for the new post-Brexit permit , or WARP as they have decided to call it, had been submitted in October 2020 and we had been waiting patiently ever since to hear something.
Anyone who has been in France a while will know that this is probably the most useful attribute to develop, when arriving in the country – PATIENCE. Forget learning the language (No, don’t forget that – it’s REALLY important), if you don’t learn how to take a deep breath in the face of the infamous French bureaucracy, stroke your ears, hum a mantra and adopt a zen-like half smile, you WILL keel over from high blood pressure.
Coming from a high-speed, want-it-yesterday society like Britain or the US, the pace at which the cogs turn here can seem excrutiatingly, frustratingly slow. (It drives the French mad too, but they are obviously born with hereditary coping mechanisms) It drove me crazy when we first arrived – and we had had a second home here for nearly 15 years, so I should have been prepared. But eventually you learn that there is no changing it – accept or explode. So I do feel for the many hundreds of new arrivals, escapees from the madness of Brexit, who frantically post on Facebook and ‘expat’ forums that they have applied for their residence permit online “two weeks ago, got the confirmation email but haven’t heard anything since! – what can I do?!”
Of course, after five months with no news I wasn’t at all bothered. I always check my Spam folder four times a day. But at least I knew that the majority of applicants were in the same boat. Then a couple of weeks ago someone posted in the Facebook group, WA Carte de Séjour for British citizens in France, (yes folks, there really is a FB group for everything!) that they had been contacted to exchange their existing permit for a new WARP one by our Préfecture in Le Mans. At last, they had made a start!
I wasn’t expecting too much because every Department seemed to be starting with the long-term residents who had been here years and already had a carte de séjour, that now needed swapping. All the background work had been done first time round, so they were going to be easy to process.
I suggested to my other half that it might be a good idea to get some new photos done this weekend because some departments were only giving a couple of days notice when they eventually called people for interview. Then yesterday afternoon he was checking his emails and called that he had received one from the Préfecture! Yeeesss!
Mine pinged through a few minutes later. We were invited to attend the Préfecture in Le Mans in just over a week’s time to have our finger-prints taken and provide photos.
As well as taking a copy of the email (or at least the reference number if we couldn’t get it printed out) we were to take, for each of us:
- 2 recent ID photos 35mmx45mm – not copies
- a recent proof of address (usually a utility bill – we soon discovered after moving here it is a good idea to have everything in both names, or at least some in one’s name and some in the other’s)
- Our old carte de séjour, if we had one
So, watch this space! (Sorry, no Star Trek puns intended this time 🙂 ) . Fingers crossed our trip to the city will be hassle-free.
If you are reading this and going through the same process, how are you getting on? Leave me a comment – I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Oh, and the pictures of flowers and bees? There’s only so many images of admin documents the world can put up with – so I thought we’d have some nice ‘spring-is-coming’ type photos instead!