So, how did I go from being a lowly illegal alien to someone who is welcomed into the country? I went to my appointment.
Preparing for the appointment was actually more work than one would expect. The list of documents from the website turned into a one-inch stack of papers. I showed up on time on the correct day. I waited in line for about 45 minutes, but had conveniently run into someone that I knew, so it passed quickly. At the end of the line, I presented my invitation and stack of papers to a nice, but stressed individual who promptly told me that I wasn’t cool enough to get into this club. My proof of address wasn’t acceptable, so he gave me 1.5 hours to find a cooler proof of address.
A short sidebar for people who have never lived in France: Proving that you live someplace in France is hugely important. If you want your bank to send your statements to a new address, you need to prove that you live at that address. If you want to receive state health care, you have to prove that you’ve maintained the same address for at least 3 months. I’m not totally sure what happens that allows France to claim that even homeless people have healthcare here.
Back to the story: The power company was only a couple metro stops away and was willing to hook me up. The line was shorter the second time and was allowed through the main door.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the thing on the other side of the door was an even longer line. At least they were kind enough to give me a form to fill out while I waited. An hour later, I got to speak with another woman who was not as nice as the first person and who seemed fairly bored. She was annoyed that my stack of papers wasn’t in the right order. She looked at the first few papers and sent me away. Several of the documents in my inch were difficult and/or expensive to procure: my translated birth certificate had cost me over $100, the fiscal stamps cost around $150. None of the difficult papers or stamps ever got pulled out of the folder.
Again, you probably aren’t surprised when I say that I got to wait again. About 2 hours this time. They handed me my précipissé and told me to come back in two months with other denominations of fiscal stamps to receive the real card.