bitching about passports and visas

Before I begin to recount this long tale of frustration and woe, I have to note three things that are directly attributable to me that definitely didn’t help my situation.

1. I don’t have a driver’s license.

2. I procrastinated on applying for my visa and passport until pretty much the last possible moment.

3. I put off logging my work hours for months at a time, so that prevented me from being paid, which prevented me from getting my money into my debit card.


Once upon a time I got accepted into a program called Stanford-in-Paris (colloquially), and they gave me step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a six-month visa if I wanted a temporary residence permit (carte de séjour). Unfortunately, I didn’t look at these instructions until about five weeks before my departure date, so my visa appointment at the French consulate is slated for maybe three days before I leave for New York, then London, then Paris. (Yep, I’m doing the touristy thing for Spring Break, but that’s mostly not my fault. More on my itinerary later.)

On top of that, my passport was set to expire next January while I wanted to stay in France until next March, so my mother told me to get an expedited passport renewal. It’s about $200 and was supposed to take about two weeks. But when I got to the post office to do it exactly two weeks before my appointment with the French Consulate, I discovered I was lacking a few key things:

A driver’s license or state ID. (I’d just applied for a state ID the week before, but it still hadn’t come in the mail.) If you don’t have this, you need to bring someone you’ve known for 2+ years and who does have valid ID. I had to bring my mother to sign an affidavit that claimed I was legit.

Cash. You need either a debit card or cold, hard cash to pay for the damn thing. (Credit cards not accepted.) I also had to get my mother to front the money, but that’s how she rolls anyway.

Once I gathered the materials (and person), I returned an hour later to the post office to finally get my passport renewed. (It’s sort of like an RPG!) But get this: they’d JUST gotten a fax from the San Francisco Passport Agency that said expedited passports no longer take 2 weeks, but 3-4. They got this fax literally ten minutes before I got my mom to come to campus to sign the affidavit.

I don’t know whether that was a godsend or someone up there’s idea of a joke, but the deal was called off and I’m renewing my passport from France… once I get my temporary residence permit and can mail my passport (with the 6-month visa still in it) back to the US for renewal without fear of deportation.

And besides, I signed up for a visa appointment online with the SF French Consulate under my old passport number, and if they discovered that I got a new one in the meantime things might get complicated.

Funny how things work out sometimes.


0 Responses to “bitching about passports and visas”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This is a blog of things place-related, by a cash-strapped Stanford grad who's lived in various places and writes about life. She's currently looking for a job in Manhattan or the Bay Area.

This Month

March 2007
    Apr »

%d bloggers like this: