Thursday, 28 February 2008

Hitting the bureaucratic trifecta

We're on a roll again this week. Not only do I have my social security number but after visit number 5 to the Préfecture, my dossier is complete and being sent off for my carte de séjour. I'll be amazed if it arrives before my current récépissé runs out in 3 weeks but the woman thought it would. We'll see. It was a good thing we all went as we had a new woman and she spoke so fast, I could barely understand a word she said. The phrase "five year carte" was bandied about, but I'm pretty sure it will be a one year carte which I'll then have to renew. Maybe I'll be able to get a five year one next. Still, in 18 months, I'll be able to apply for my Italian passport and after jumping through whatever hoops the Italian consulate wants, I'll finally be able to stop dealing with the Préfecture.

After that success, we went next door to find out about exchanging our Australian drivers licenses. We spoke to two of the friendliest and most helpful public servants I've ever met in any country. The good news is we can exchange without any lessons or tests. We'll need to get a few documents from Australia and get them translated but we've got a bit of time. David has to make his application within a year of arriving (that is, by May) and I have a year from when I get my carte de séjour. Not that I have any intention of driving here yet, but at least when I'm ready, I'll be able to do so without having to go through the rigorous testing process they have here.

11 comments:

Justin said...

Oh you are so luck your license transfers. I currently have a US license for one of the states that will not transfer, so I am going to try and get a different state before my one year is up. I really do not want to have to go through all the lessons and testing... or have to pay for all of it!

Anonymous said...

Hello People! Great to see the video and photos. Going to dinner with a couple of locals we met travelling. Buenas airies is pretty arty. Seen some great tango bands and dancing. No haven´t learnt the tango. Great galleries, book shops etc... I usually don´t like markets but these ones are fantastic with tango music dancers and performers.
Can´t wait to see you all. Going to columbia on the 15th
hugs to all mg

Penny said...

Hi Justin - it seems crazy to me that some license holders from the US can exchange and some cant. They don't make it easy for you do they?

Hi Mimi, travel safe :)

Justin said...

Well I suppose it is give and take. The 14 states that France accepts are the 14 states that accept transferring the French drivers license. Unfortunately, I last live in Massachusetts. But my brother lives in Pennsylvania... so I am going to "borrow" his address and then be able to transfer. ;-)

Emily said...

We're in the same boat as Justin. But it was more like 45 states that France accepts unless the law changed in the last 2 years.

IslandGirl4Ever2 said...

You are soooooo lucky... didn't work that way for me... I'm from California and we cannot exchange our license like that... Oh well, I am not driving here anyhow... Take care and Felicitations!! - Leesa :)

Jennie said...

I love the people who work in the driver's license office! They were so nice to me too! Mine only took about a month to receive, and that was in summer, so you shouldn't have to wait long.

Le Tigre said...

Keep me updated on the license transferring I'm planning on doing the same thing, but like you I have no intention of driving in France. But I guess it's better to have the license when you don't need it then suddenly need to go through the crazy testing and paying out money for driving lessons.

Function of Time said...

So far, my experiences have been pretty good (just bought a house and got a bank account). I forgot about the driver's license as I know I'll have to have a French one.

Penny said...

Le Tigre - only thing I need is a statement from dept of Transport in Qld saying when I first got my license. David needs that and something from the Italian Consulate. Its the first time he's ever needed more paperwork than me, not less!

FOT - YOU are REALLY on all roll this week. Congrats! :)

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh yes, I second the lucky on getting the exchange on your driver's license! I came from a US state that didn't have the exchange agreement with France, so I'm STUCK. Up until now I haven't needed to drive, but I do regret not having my license on the weekends when we make two or three-hour trips to visit my boyfriend's family -- I can't even take the wheel! I also need to learn to drive a stick shift... UGH! But I agree that the driver's test process is grueling, difficult, and SO expensive here -- I'm dreading it! But I know I'm probably going to have to go through it eventually...

Justin is smart, and this is what I've heard a lot of Americans do -- get their hands on another state's driver's license before leaving the U.S. Or by setting up a PO box in another state even once here! I wish I had thought of doing that... But I've been here more than five years now, and it's WAYYY too late! Man.