Tuesday, November 6, 2012

French citizenship law n°5: Thou shalt be grateful

In France there's no holiday similar to Thanksgiving, but I am thinking of suggesting one to the French government (with the related day off, of course!) as a special day to celebrate the immigrants' appreciation toward the Universe after their tons of papers have been finally accepted by fussy civil servants.

Today I am being thankful for:
1. waiting only three hours at the prefecture's naturalizations counter (instead of four, the last time)
2. no security agent showed me how to press a button to obtain an order number
3. I've only witnessed one surreal discussion with a civil servant ("- Excuse me, madame, is this the passports counter?" "- Yes". The person goes back to her place and waits some time until her number is displayed; here comes her turn: "- Excusez-moi, I'm here to request the delivery of my first passport". Civil servant: "Oh, for this you have to go to the City Hall, they're the ones in charge with it!"...)
4. I had the chance to be called in during lunch break (when there's only one civil servant active, the two others being out), therefore the three hours of waiting instead of four from point n°1.
5. And finally, because my citizenship request application was accepted, youuuhooo!!!... I didn't get any receipt though, if they lose anything from there, I'm toast!

Remember the missing paper from the bank that one lady at the prefecture told me I will absolutely need with my request application and who arrived too late last week making me lose precious time? Well, today it turned out that I didn't need it anyway, the lady at the counter didn't want to include it in my folder, plain and simple. She looked very concerned with my privacy (after she had carefully perused all my tax and revenue papers) and said that this particular information is none of her business. Well, at least she's not alone and all in all I am touched by her delicacy.

Additionally, I didn't need all the copies I made in one desperate Saturday morning either and now I'm scratching my head in search of a logical rule (for I needed two copies for some of the papers and only one for some of the others).

French prefectures work in some mysterious ways, but nothing compares with the joy provided by one civil servant finally accepting your dossier...

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