December 10, 2003

Illegal Alien in France...
I'm officially an illegal alien in France - I don't know if I should be publishing this on the internet though. My visa expired yesterday.
I went to the Préfecture, as suggested by the secretary at the school where I work to try and get things sorted out/moving. They told me to go to the Préfecture Annex down the road, who told me to go to the Cité Administrative, who told me to go to the foreigners office. Of course, you have to wait in long lines at each of these places just to be told to go somewhere else.
Outside the foreigners office was an Arab man who was trying to get in, but the two police said that he had to come back the next day at 8h30 (read that you have to line up at 5h) to get a ticket. Luckily I'm not black or Arab (there's a lot of racism here), and I speak French relatively well. I explained my situation, and the police guy was like, "wait here". I talked to the other police guy, and he said that I shouldn't worry about being stopped, that there is a delay between the time they ask for your papers and the time they arrest you. Then he said that you won't get stopped in the metro if you don't do anything wrong (I figured that wasn't a good time to bring up my metro police incident...).
After about 20 minutes, and a lot of the policeman running in and out of the building (I wasn't even allowed inside), he finally let me into the antechamber (read decrepid building waiting room), where I waited for another lady to emerge from her office.
To make a long story short, I explained my situation, gave her my passport and papers, and asked if there was any way she could please help me. She made some phone calls, talked to other people in the office, then came back a while later and said that they didn't have my dossier (read they don't have any of my paperwork). She said that the rectorat, to whom my paperwork was sent over two (2) months ago, has not yet sent my paperwork to their office. She said, "bonne courage et aurevoir".
What am I supposed to do now? You can't do anything in France without a carte de séjour, and I can't reenter the country legally if I decide to leave (which I really want to do).

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