The Expat

Over the weekend I found myself at a wonderful picnic along the Seine. As I reflected upon the group – new faces to me for the most part – I realized that Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, the US and France were represented. And that was just by origin – one of the Danes was getting set to move to Italy. All night my main topic of conversation was paperwork and French bureaucracy. Because despite being different, it’s something we’ve all dealt with, or at least have been close to someone who had to go through it. We all have stories, and it’s a bonding point.

My visit to the Préfecture yesterday was a success. I think an angel was sitting on my shoulder when it came to a couple documents, but my dossier is now complete. I was given a récépissé (temporary visa extension) good through late November, and assuming there are no further unforseen glitches, I should have my full auto-entrepreneur visa in the next couple months. As far as I know, all that work will be good for a year. However, after what I just went through – collecting the paperwork was more challenging that writing my Business Plan from scratch – I now am in the system and know the ropes. I could be celebrating my new visa, but after this month, I’d much rather celebrate having my life and sanity back. What a road it’s been to become an expat! It is kind of rewarding to know I did it on my own, especially when so many people tell you “get married.” We’ll just have to wait and see what happens from here…

{Thanks to Frédéric Bocquillon Valente for this photo he took on Saturday night after the picnic! C’est moi in the black dress with the orange bag. I love the feeling of real life passing us by…}


  • Congrats on having that behind you Anne, whew! You deserve a vacation from the paperwork and bureaucracy. And who knows…maybe you will find your partner in life there, might make things easier ;)

  • maybe that having paperwork done in August was not that bad: less people at the prefecture, less stress, less grumpy “fonctionnaires” (We, French people, do grumpy a lot… it makes us happy!!?!!). Hope you get your final papers soon.

  • Congratulations! I don’t know you, but I am super-impressed and proud of you! I know that was a lot of work, and good for you for not just “getting married.” :D Hope you get to celebrate some more!

  • Félicitations ! I totally get the wish to want to get the visa on your own merits rather than just get married. It really feels like the country has accepted you then. You’re a great example for the rest of us!

  • Félicitations, Anne! I’m so excited for you and really mean it when I say I’m thoroughly inspired by you! I always hated it when I was told the only way to really move to France was to marry into the EU – I knew that wasn’t the only way and being the independent go-getter it wasn’t the way I wanted to get in. It’s great to hear about your experiences and know it is possible – of course, always with a lot of hard work and dedication. I hope you are celebrating soon and enjoy each passing moment until you hear back from them!

    All the best,

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