Wednesday, 1 February 2017

How to become French - Part 4

Today I acquired my official documentation as a new French citizen. Administratively it's useful but psychologically it's a great disappointment.

Unlike some prefectures here in France and cities in NZ there is NO ceremony at all at Chartres. There's no event where a group of new citizens are welcomed by the Mayor; where there's a sense of solidarity and celebration and where friends and family can participate. Zip.

I mentioned my disappointment to JC but he just said "What does it matter? At least it's official. French people don't make a big song-and-dance about things like Anglo-Saxons." Somehow that didn't make me feel better. I wanted some warm fuzzies.

I received a message to turn up at a certain time on a certain day, which was impossible for me to do as I can never take time off work in my current job. JC had to make a phone call and plead for a change of day on my behalf. Changing the system is no small ask.

Today I walked past the horrid little man there who had delighted in making my life shit each time I had to renew my titre de sejour. I would never have to be at his mercy again.

I stood up at a tiny counter and handed over my required documents to the lady responsible for making this final document exchange. She apologised for not knowing me at all but the system is spread over various parts of France now and my prefecture has no part in it except to hand over today's documents.

After explaining each document in the little folder and obtaining my signature we shook hands and I walked out.


Inside the folder were the following documents:
  1. A letter from the Prefecture of Chartres for my local mairie in exchange for a national identity card (already requested by me)
  2. Letter signed by Manuel Valls (Prime Minister) and Bernard Caseneuve (Minister of Internal Affairs) confirming the decret making me a French citizen
  3. A letter signed by Francois Hollande (President of the French Republic) welcoming me and reminding me I have responsibilities, I am considered an EU citizen as well.
  4. A copy of my birth certificate (French version)
  5. Copy of my first marriage certificate (French version and divorce details)
  6. Copy of my second marriage certificate (contains divorce details too)
  7. List of rights and responsibilities as a French citizen
  8. Copy of the Marseillaise (French National Anthem), very pretty
  9. Copy of the Declaration of the Rights of Man 1789 (equally pretty)
  10. Copy of the constitution of 4 October 1958 extracts only
I'm very happy to have all that and am relieved I can't be thrown out of France but in reality naturalisation isn't making it any easier for me to find work so I can stay. I try to comfort myself with the knowledge that at last I have achieved my dream, even if it proves temporary. I do love France, despite its quirks and illogical difficulties. My soul is quite at ease here. To all those who have in any way contributed to today's success, my heartfelt thanks.

And Thank You France!

Now on to getting my identity card which enables travel throughout Europe, and my French passport enabling travel anywhere else. In the meantime I can use my kiwi passport while I wait. I do think in this globalised world it's important to have options at either end of our planet for better or for worse.
I can finally close the 'dossier' which has taken 6.5 years to complete.



















1 comments:

Susan said...

Bonjour and congratulations. Your story is both encouraging and depressing :-) I'll no doubt have to go through a similar process in a couple of years time when Brexit finally happens. A bunch of expensive and tedious paperwork!

Anyway, my advice to you now would be to register as an auto-entrepreneur. That way you have the possibility of earning a bit more money and developing a small business. Have a chat with your local Chambre des métiers and see what they suggest, how they can help, etc. I've got an appointment with mine on Friday, and having spoken to them earlier this week I am pleasantly surprised at how switched on and helpful they have been so far. After the CdM, I may also go to see the local communautés des communes dévelopement advisors. They can't help me just at present (too early in the project) but having spoken to them, they could be useful later (financing, premises, etc).

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