Our first houseguest is arriving in Paris on Monday. We had planned to leave today to spend a few days in Brittany before picking her up but, with the possibility of getting our visas renewed being dangled like a carrot in front of us, we decided to stay close to home these next two days.
We spent the day sprucing up the cottage for our guest…..all the while, anxiously watching the clock and wondering what progress Emillie, at the Mairie, had made working with the Prefecture on our visas. As the 5 o’clock hour approached, we put on our “city” clothes and headed into town, hoping for good news.
It was a busy day at the Mairie…..there were two people in front of us and more were walking up behind us. When it was our turn, Emilie asked if we could wait a moment while she helped the people after us. We knew coming without Sue as our translator would present a challenge, but Sue’s out of town until Friday night and time is of the essence.
After everyone was taken care of, Emillie called us over and tried to explain, in French, what had transpired. It was an exercise in futility…..we just didn’t understand. Ah, but Emilie wouldn’t give up easily. She sat down, brought up the Google translator, typed in the results of her conversations with the Prefecture, hit the “Translate” button and turned the screen toward us.
It was not good news. The Prefecture insists that the type of visas we have cannot be renewed in France.
Dejectedly, we returned to the cottage and debated our options:
– return to the OFII and request them to write a letter, on our behalf, to the Director of the Carcassonne Prefecture explaining why our visas can be renewed…..but helping us might put them at odds with another bureaucrat….would they be willing to do that?
– try to renew the visas at a different Prefecture? The website for the Prefecture in Montpellier lists the steps necessary to renew a visitor visa so they certainly wouldn’t turn us down….but we’d need to provide them with an address in their territory.
– gather supporting documents and go head-to-head with a French official on our own ……with our limited linguistic skills, this would be a disaster unless we were able to bring a friend along to translate.
– return to San Francisco to request new visas…..an expensive option in both time and money.
We called the Consulate in San Francisco. Surprisingly, someone answered! We explained our problem and were assured that the type of visas we have could most definitely be renewed in France….but that the Prefecture had the final say.
We stayed up until 3:00 am finding and printing documentation that we’re pretty darn sure supports the fact that our visas can be renewed at the prefecture. But, after we had printed reams of official paperwork, we sat down and wondered what we should do with all it.
It was too late to think clearly, so we turned off the computer and headed off to bed.
“And if it ain’t this then it’s that
As a matter of fact
She hasn’t had a day to relax
Since she has lost her ability to think clearly”…….Jack Johnson