10-Year Card!

Looks like Paris’ Prefecture de Police is getting a make-over. Not only physically (though, that, too – I love how even construction can be classy in this city. Scaffolding hidden by these large panels made to resemble the building).

No, even their messaging is getting a make-over. “At the public’s service.” Aw. Doesn’t that sound all nice and fuzzy? I am a member of the public! Thank you for being at my service!

Only thing is, I’m terrified of the prefecture. This is where you stand in long lines, wait in windowless rooms, clutch your dossier chock full of every official document known to man, fearing the person behind the desk will say non! c’est pas possible or c’est pas bon, both of which I have heard many times when it comes to bureaucracy.

BUT, for the second year in a row, I just had a great, easy time at the prefecture. The female security guard (never seen a female guard at the entrance before) smiled. The cashier, too (after relieving me of 110 euros). The person who handed me my new card laughed and joked, while going to town with the stamps (multiple stamps – always a good sign).

And, I. Well, I could have cried.

With joy! Friends, I just received my 10-YEAR CARD.

As in, expires 2021.

I stared at the date for a long time. Tears started welling up in my eyes.

I am thrilled the prefecture has become a shinier, happier place….but I can’t say I’ll miss going each year to renew. A full decade of residency is now mine. I am so thankful. So grateful.

Vive la France.

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45 Responses to “10-Year Card!”


  1. 1 thetravelingpear March 22, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Ok…so I need some advice on getting that stamp! Oh and can I bring you with me to the prefecture this summer? Since you’re a pro and all ;)

    • 2 paris (im)perfect March 22, 2011 at 12:38 am

      I charge for such services. Ha! Just kidding. Well, I never had to do the student visa thing before, which I’ve heard can be pretty….um, interesting. Definitely not a pro on that process! Bon courage!

  2. 3 Tara Lynne Groth March 22, 2011 at 1:21 am

    I love following your blog – you are an inspiration and glad to hear your 10-year card was approved! Looking forward to at least 10 more years of your Paris-based blogging! :D

  3. 5 thetravelingpear March 22, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Oh god…what does “interesting” mean? Do tell. I’m freaked now!

    • 6 paris (im)perfect March 22, 2011 at 1:48 am

      Oh sorry. Didn’t mean to freak you out! No, really. You’ll be fine. I’ve just heard those coming for student visas have to stand outside in long lines for awhile for some reason. But that might be old school. The prefecture has an online appointment system now which works well. And, it should be encouraging news to you: every one I know who came to study got their card. So don’t worry. Just be patient and know that if you come with a dossier and they say something’s missing…well, that’s the way of it. You’ll just come back another time. (So my advice, bring everything possible – even documents they never even ask for – just to make sure and save yourself a trip! :) )

  4. 7 friscolex March 22, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Et cette fois-ci, c’est bon ! C’est possible ! Félicitations…

  5. 9 Linda March 22, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Wow! Congratulations! Ten whole years of bureaucracy free residency! As I said, I’ve only lived a couple of months at a time in France – I have no idea at what point you need to apply for a visa or what’s required for residency. I take it marrying a French citizen is not enough? Can you enlighten us?

    • 10 paris (im)perfect March 22, 2011 at 1:52 am

      Hi Linda. I know. I can’t believe it. I still feel like pinching myself. 10 whole years? And actually, I *do* have residency because I’m married to a French citizen. So you get married, you have the right to a 1-year card. Then you renew it the next year. Then after 3 years, you can get your 10-year card. Voila! So happy!

  6. 11 Oneika March 22, 2011 at 1:53 am

    Awww, congrats!!! The coveted 10-year residency card!!!

  7. 13 Sweet Freak March 22, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Felicitations, mon amie! You officially have your second (lovely and amazing) home! xo

  8. 15 Linds March 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I hope my upcoming visit to the prefecture goes as smoothly as yours. I definitely want that stamp happy employee! Congrats on getting your 10 year card!

  9. 17 Beverly March 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Félicitations! The coveted card is right!

    Such a great feeling. A new lease on your French Life!

    We must have shared the room – escalier F Niveau 0 – with you yesterday, as Mr. T and I picked ours up, too. Hooray!

    Does that mean you can “officially” work here now?

    • 18 paris (im)perfect March 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Beverly. I’ve been able to work since I got married. I started the job at Expedia way back in February 2008. But the 10-year card just makes me feel like, I don’t know, I can *breathe* easier or something. Like I am settled here. Paris feels like home – and it’s nice to have this card that says, yes, go on now. All’s good for the next decade :)

  10. 19 Lindsey March 22, 2011 at 10:04 am

    yayy!!! you put in your time and are rewarded for it :) so glad it went swimmingly!

  11. 21 Christina Smith March 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Congratulations! I just went through the same thing this year at the Bobigny Prefecture. Yay, 10 year cards!

  12. 23 Adam March 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    My 10 year card just ran out, but as a Brit, I’ve been told that I don’t need a new one. I feel a bit naked now though, because the ‘piece d’identité’ is often required in France. Will I now have to start carrying my passport around with me everywhere?

    • 24 paris (im)perfect March 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      Oh, I have no pity for you Brits who have much less to go through to be here :) Just kidding. Yeah, I would definitely ask someone about that. I would hate to carry my passport around everywhere. And I would think you would need *something.* Because you’re right, the piece d’identite is crucial here!

  13. 25 Franck March 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Perhaps they follow your blog that’s why they set you free?
    (too optimistic thought about their reading ability even with a finger, you think?)

  14. 27 Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) March 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Many, many, many congratulations to you. 2021. Yikes!! That sounds so futuristic!

    Welcome to being a resident in France. May you have many more years of joyful residency ahead of you!

  15. 30 Danielle March 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Congrats! After following your blog for many months, there are few people in the world who deserve this more. Enjoy your ten year card and don’t forget to apply for citzenship ASAP (how many more years do you have to wait for that as a spouse?). And be glad you are in France: you could be in Germany where they don’t allow dual citzenship (outside of EU unless you are a german naturalizing elsewhere and then you have to ask for permission to keep your citizenship).

    • 31 paris (im)perfect March 22, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      Oh, Danielle. That’s so nice of you. Thanks for making this your first post to comment on. I really appreciate your words.

      As others might be interested, I’ll just write the process here:
      The current process for spouses of French citizens (I say current, because rules can change all the time) are that you get 1-year cards and renew them for the first 3 years of marriage. After the third year, you can get a 10-year card.
      After the 4th year, you can apply for citizenship, which is not automatically granted and takes an average of 18 months for the dossier to go through! Spouses are not guaranteed citizenship and can be refused (though I don’t know enough people who have done this to have any idea what this process looks like in reality).

      I didn’t realize that about Germany. Yes, dual nationality is the dream!

  16. 34 Susan March 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Congratulations!! I will be going in for my first card soon- just a month from now, after we’ve moved. My husband is English, so I have to get one but he doesn’t (lucky boy!). But he will have to go with me and stand in the long lines because I only know tourist French, not bureaucratic French. I’m a little scared, frankly, because it’s so daunting not being able to understand exactly what is going on!

    • 35 paris (im)perfect March 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Susan. I’m sure it will all be fine. Perhaps I was exaggerating about the long lines. I think it is mainly for students that you wait in the long lines. I didn’t wait in long lines. I waited in chairs for a long time :)

      Good luck!

  17. 36 Franck March 22, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Once your dual citizenship obtained you could drive through Paris using your horn only and not the turn signal anymore (like a real Parisian, I am sure you can’t wait).

    A great French author Michel Audiard said: “Driving through Paris is a question of vacabulary”.

  18. 37 Tanya March 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Félicitations Sion! That is awesome news!!! I wish I had read your post before heading to dinner or I would have toasted you with some champagne or something. Yeah!

    I have no paperwork done except for our livret de famille, which is at the French Conslate in Toronto. In the weeks to come we’ll get my visa/1-year card and then move from there. Yes, the end goal is citizenship so…

    Anyway, it’s about you and 2021. Congratulations!!!

  19. 39 Opal March 22, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I am sure you feel relieved!! I’m very happy for you and your good news! New phase, new and old choices! Exciting!

  20. 41 Delana March 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Wow, Sion! Felicitations! I have to head over to the prefecture next month for my 3 year. If the past two years are any indication, I should have it in my grubby paws by….Christmas. And only 7 more years to go!

    • 42 paris (im)perfect March 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Hey Delana! Long time, no “see.” Thank you! Wow, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a 3-year card. For which “statut” is that valid? And yes, I remember your carte de sejour tales – aie! Things do sound like they move more slowly in the south. I had a friend who had to get her carte de sejour from Marseilles – and they start lining up before 5 AM down there! Wowza. Good luck for yours!

  21. 43 Aya March 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Sion, Congratulations on getting your 10-year card! I’ll actually be getting mine next week, and like you, I’m looking forward to not having to worry about renewing my card every year. I’ve been meaning to comment on your blog for a while now, as I think you’re fantastic at capturing both the magical side of living in Paris and the…not so magical side, shall we say! My experiences here have been similar to yours, so I was incredibly relieved when I came across your blog last year. Merci for a terrific blog!


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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