Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
Resource for people that would like to live or travel in France.

Attractions

Culture

Daily Life

Driving

Links

Moving Planner

Podcast/Hangouts

Q & A

Reading List

Travel Planner

Videos

Expat Store
Currency
Services

Driver's License

Events

Foods

Garbage
Disposal Units


Insurance

Learn French

Tax Services

Telephony

Daily LifeFrench Bureaucracies

France is a maze of bureaucracies and government offices, which makes knowing where to go to for a given problem difficult. For example, if you are unemployed and you would like to register as someone looking for work, you start not at the ANPE, the employment office, but at the Assedic, the agency that, among other things, pays out employment insurance.

In my experiences with French bureaucracies and government, I have had only run into a few fonctionnaires (civil servants) who I would classify as rude or indifferent. Most have been very nice and tried to help. What I did find was that things are not well organized, and you have to ask where you need to go. Nothing is obvious in French government buildings, and sometimes signs can be hard to find.

The préfecture is probably the most important government office for a non-French person, as that is where Carte de Sejour's (long term visas) along with driver's license are issued. In the countryside the local Mairie (town hall), carries out most functions that the préfecture performs. This can make things much easer, as like in most countries, people in the countryside are much nicer in France. I have had people tell me that their local Mairie service is very personalized.

Here are a few tips on dealing with French bureaucracies -

  • Bring it all - Take all your paper work, no matter how trivial you think it might be.
  • Copies - Have at least two copies of all your paperwork.
  • Wait - Be prepared to wait, I once had to wait over three hours at my local prefecture to get my Carte de Sejour renewed.
  • Ask - Be cool - Before you go make sure that you are in the right state of mind and that you realize that you will it will be a lot of trail and error. ou need help, look for the Accueil (information desk).
  • Proactive - If a visa deadline is approaching don't expect a letter to arrive telling you how to renew it. As the chances are it will never come. Just go down to your prefecture or Maire and find out what needs to be done.

Related links-
French Civil Service

Sign-up for the FREE Americans in France newsletter!



cookieassistant.com

HomeBack

Contact

Newsletter

About

Search Site



Travel Store

Auto Rentals

B&B's

Cell Phones

Hotels

Phone Card

Sightseeing

SIM Card

WiFi

Workshops

Terms &
Conditions

This site
uses Cookies!

Terms of Service

Other

Follow me
on Twitter.


Facebook Page

RSS Feed