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Survival Home in Paris

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November 2022

Oh, oh, oh
Day in, day out
Sidewalk sleepers turn about
Day by day, the work gets done
Day by day, another war goes on

Tell me, where are we going? 
Oh oh, what’s the future showin’? 
Oh, where are we headed? 
With all that’s goin’ on, where are we gettin’?

Day in, day out
A little boy and girl are goin’ out
Day by day, baby’s babies are born
Day by day, people say, “Right on”

Tell me, where are we going’? 
Oh oh, what’s the future showin’? 
Oh, where are we headed? 
With all that’s goin’ on where are we gettin’?

All we need
All we need
All we need
All we need
All we need, oh

Day in, day out
It gets better, the people shout
Day by day flames get higher
Lives and pains, yeah, they fuel the fire

Oh, where are we going? 
Oh oh, what’s the future showin’? 
Where are we headed? 
With all that’s goin’ on, where are we gettin’?

Oh oh oh, oh oh oh (Where are we going?) 
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh (Where are we going?) 
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh (Where are we going?) 
With all that’s goin’ on, where are we headin’? 
Day by day, baby (Where are we going?) 
By day (Where are we going?) 
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh (Where are we going?) 
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh
(Where are we going?) 
(Where are we going?) 
(Where are we going?) 
Ooh, hoo-hoo-hoo (Where are we going?) 
Oh oh oh, da-da-da-da (Where are we going?) 
(Where are we going?)

Where Are We Going?” is a song by the American singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye, recorded in around 1972 for an album Gaye decided not to release. It first came out in a jazz-funk version by Donald Byrd in 1973. Gaye’s own recording was finally released in 2014.

In both France and the USA, many wonder where the country is going. Forecasting the direction either country will take and what will happen even in the near term is becoming increasingly difficult. The accumulated unknowns include the uncertainty of election results and passage of laws, government decisions and so on. There was a time when things felt a lot more predictable, giving a sense of security to people about what to expect so they could make plans.

At the same time, people need to go on with their lives. But beyond day-to-day life, people need predictability to make decisions. It might be about the choice of a career: to take just one example, is it wise to choose obstetrics and gynecology as a medical specialty in the USA today? Or is it a good idea to buy a home with interest rates so high? I could go on and on: all the normal decisions throughout one’s life demand a certain level of predictability. When it is impossible to know what the laws and rules will be six months from now if there is a change of majority in Congress, how can people make decisions? Whatever the election results are, the electoral decision could end up being catastrophic and bring complete ruin to millions of people.

What strikes me most about this is that in the USA, France and probably many other countries, discussing the merits of this or that policy rarely includes their effect on people. I am not talking about the talking points that politicians use but sound technical analysis. I remember a long time ago on French TV an economist detailing data about a massive layoff by a major corporation. There were X number of people committing suicide, getting divorced, becoming homeless, and so on. The same type of analysis could be done on the failure of Texas’s electricity grid, a high inflation rate for five years or more, a sharp increase in health insurance premiums – again, I could go on and on.

During the single term of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, from May 2007 to May 2012, it seemed as though immigration law in France changed weekly –an exaggeration, but it happened so often that it was impossible to put together plans regarding an immigration status that needed several years to be fully implemented. At the time, I controversially stated that I would rather have a harsh law that would last at least a decade than more favorable legislation that was modified every year to change the conditions and requirements for various types of status. It was my way of emphasizing the need for predictability to make long-term decisions.

Going back to this month’s title, “WHERE ARE WE GOING?”, many people in the USA do not know what to expect regarding the coming elections, which may have considerable consequences for people’s lives.

The elections are mentioned all the time in the media. One day it is lengthy analyses about the Democrats winning because of Supreme Court decisions or the January 6th committee. The next day, they come up with the Republicans winning because of high inflation and low ratings of President Joe Biden. In all these comments, they mention polling to illustrate their statements.

There was a time when polling was close to the outcome and therefore reliable. People always want to know the outcome before it happens. In recent years, however, professional pollsters have gotten it wrong, big time. It has reached the point where they were ridiculous.

For a lot of complex reasons, the polls show many elections as being quite close, whether they are for the Senate or state level races. Whether this ends up being true or not, it enables pollsters to avoid predicting who the winner will be, noting that the results are within the margin of error. In the end this is probably the only thing they can be criticized for if the results are more striking. This gives the false impression that the polling is more accurate this time. When pollsters refuse to predict anything because the polls are too close and too uncertain, it illustrates the profound divisiveness of society as well as the importance of new topics that could motivate so-called single-issue voters.

As a Frenchman, I have always been baffled by the existence of single-issue voters. French election campaigns systematically involve a program with numerous political promises of things that will supposedly be done. French voters are supposed to weigh those policies as a unit and decide according to their preferences. Sadly, it has been a long time since I have been able to vote that way, being forced to choose in a black-and-white way.

In a week or so we will see the outcome of the US midterm elections. Then we will see what happens after the results are official and how people react to them.

France has recently been crippled by a gas strike, which had major consequences in parts of the country. In Paris, I saw long lines of cars waiting to get to gas stations. Many were so long that it disturbed the traffic, blocking the right lane. Instead of explaining why these workers went on strike, I would like to remind my readers that some people are old enough to have lived through a similar situation. The 1973 oil crisis took place long before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur war (October 6th to 25th, 1973), and OPEC had already doubled its prices between January and September 1973. The conflict was the pretext for an oil embargo, which lasted until March 1974, and for a spectacular surge in crude prices imposed by OPEC. Even without the war, crude oil prices would have risen five-fold by mid-1974. The price of oil went from $2.90 a barrel to $11.65 a barrel. In most Western countries, there were long lines at gas stations. It was then a purely political decision, exactly as it is today. For me, it is amazing that the animosity between two men, in this case Mr. Mohammed ben Salmane and President Joe Biden, can have worldly consequences of that magnitude. This always existed in the past, when kings, emperors and other leaders were foes. Until recently, we thought we were past that. We are not.

Throughout my career, I have tried to give basic useful information almost everybody needs at one time or another. Banking in France is critical for several reasons.

1 – French law drastically limits cash payments by setting the maximum that can be paid in cash at 1,000€. It also gives a growing list of transactions that cannot be paid in cash, such as employees’ salaries. This means use of bank payments is always increasing.

2 – French businesses receiving cash payments must deposit them in a bank account to be accounted for when there is an audit. For many, this discourages accepting cash payments.

3 – The prefecture usually checks foreigners’ French accounts when reviewing an immigration request. That is why the recent decree forcing French banks to make it easier to open an account is useful for foreigners.

The decree helps people who encounter difficulties in opening an account for the first time. It can also be quite complicated to open a new one when a bank gives a client only 30 days to close an account.

This information should be widely shared in the expat community because the prefecture, among others, will not accept the excuse that one did not know about this regulation.

I thank AARO for publishing the information.

The basic renovations should be done by November 15th. The furniture has been ordered and should be delivered in early December. Then we will order the appliances and have them delivered, but the delay is much shorter. So I already know I will not have much vacation when I close my office. Booking will be done through an extension of my website, which should be up and running early enough in December to get the first rental booked for January 1st. Payment will be accepted by wire transfer, PayPal and credit card. This extension of my website will have pictures of the studio and its furniture and appliances so people know in advance what is available. There is a safe in the studio, that the guests can use. There will also be some basic information about the neighborhood. Furthermore the two walk-throughs cost 150€ each and the initial one includes a one-hour session with my assistant, Sarah, for advice and guidance to help with the stay in addition to showing the studio, its appliances, and other things. I am focusing on practical things like public transport; the studio is served by several metro and bus lines, and the RER A.

I ordered the furniture with a single renter in mind but for a couple can also be comfortable. The business model I have in mind is to offer a practical and reliable place for people who need to be in Paris for a long stay: The guidelines state a minimum of two months and a maximum of six. I can think of several types of tenants such as someone who has secured a long-stay visa or is submitting a request for one, as well as someone who is testing living in France and staying within the 90-day Schengen regulation. After 25 years of offering “A Survival Kit for Paris,” now that the renovations are done my project of a “A Survival Home in Paris” makes more and more sense as an extension of my services.

The monthly rent is 1,200€, all included – internet access, utilities, etc. The first month’s rent is due when the reservation is completed, along with a month’s security deposit, making the initial payment total 2,400€.

The following email, which I have translated into English, was sent to one of my readers by the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés, A.N.T.S.

“We understand that you would like to know the status of your application for a residence permit. After checking your file in the computer system, we see that your application has been processed by your prefecture. The production of your residence permit will be launched in the next few days. You will be contacted by your prefecture when it is available.

“In the meantime, a certificate of favorable decision is available on your ANEF account. Thanks to this document, and your previous residence permit, you can exercise your rights while waiting for the new residence permit.

“By law, you must submit your application starting on the third month before the end of your residence permit’s validity. If your application is not submitted within this deadline (e.g., during the last two months of validity), an additional fee of 180€ will be charged. You can renew your residence permit online up to nine months after its expiration date without having to pay an additional fee! After this period, you must contact your local prefecture.

“We hope we have answered your expectations and thank you for your patience.”

What was supposed to be a simplification of immigration procedures with the prefecture ends up being a maze for users and only helps the people working at the prefecture. Here is how I would describe the current situation.

The prefecture is in charge of physically delivering the carte de séjour and still handles some procedures on its own. The tendency is that it does less and less as other platforms take over reviewing uploaded requests.

ANEF (Agence National des Étrangers en France, is where the vast majority of requests for renewal or change of immigration status are handled. For identification on its website, one uses the foreign ID number, officially called the AGDREF number. The foreigner has an account and, once logged in, can submit a request. Lately, the system has been asking users to change their password if it has not been used for several months.

Démarches Simplifiées ( is the other site dedicated to what are supposed to be “easy applications.” I have used it mostly for EU citizens’ spouses who want a carte de séjour. According to the site, the most common applications handled there are those related to:
Driver’s license
Registration of a catering business
Professional cards of drivers for ride-hailing services (e.g. Uber) 
Foreigners residing in France
Medals of honor

The Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés, A.N.T.S., (the titres sécurisés) deals with the vehicle registration certificate (the former carte grise), electronic and biometric passports, the national identity card, the electronic identity card, the electronic residence permit, the biometric visa and other identification and travel documents.

In my experience using these sites, for the public it is like going through a maze just to figure out which website has the procedure one needs. It is even more difficult when the procedure needed is not identified by one of the descriptions or icons found on the site.

The reviews by civil servants are done in a narrow-minded way. And often the platforms require more information or better explanations, which usually means submitting more documents, but when it is not possible to send anything else, it becomes difficult to comply with their requests.

Some of the procedures use what I call “prefecture logic” rather than what I consider common sense. For example, once I had some serious issues with this situation. The carte de séjour « vie privée & familiale » is issued to the spouse of a “passeport talent” holder. So the normal and logical way would be to follow the path of the private life procedure. However, this is not the case as the procedure is done through the“passeport talent” one because it is linked to that status.

The office will close for three weeks over the Christmas holidays, starting on Friday, December 16th in the evening and re-opening on the morning of Monday, January 9th. As always, I will be reachable by email for emergencies and important matters. The service I offer of receiving mail for clients will continue while the office is closed. Of course, Sarah or I will honor prefecture meetings already scheduled, as well as a couple of other engagements.

Best regards,


There are several ways to address your situation. Overlooking some of them could create major problems in terms of securing your immigration status.
Always keep in mind that you are the one asking for the carte de séjour and defining which type of card you want. That is going to be the theme of this entire answer: You are forced to choose one type over another.
The starting point is that you will not be able to renew your blue card in 2025, but I sense that you do not want to wait that long to change.
You understand that the prefecture, to issue a private life (vie privée & familiale) carte de séjour linked to a PACS with a French citizen, requires proof of the continuity of the PACS relationship, including proof of living together for a minimum of one year. Proving that you have lived together, according to the prefecture requirement, means showing a minimum of one document per month, from a minimum of two sources, carrying both your names. The documents must come from reputable establishments. Examples include documents issued by utility companies, monthly statements from a joint bank account and joint income tax declarations.

Unless you prepared exceedingly well before going to live with his parents for so long, you will be unable to submit this level of proof for the past 12 months, which is the period for which the prefecture expects this level of documentation. It is fair to assume you will not be able to meet this requirement for a few more months, starting the day you moved into your new house. Now, if you carefully review all the documents you have from the period when you were guests, you may discover that you have enough to comply with this requirement. Otherwise, waiting until January 2023 may the wisest thing to do.
But I assume you do not want to wait that long to quit your job. I understand your concern about securing your new immigration status and at least having the file ready before submitting your resignation. So I would like to review a second solution, less obvious and a lot more complicated to prove, but it considers the entire time you have lived together. Then the so-called missing year or so does not have the same impact.
The legal provision for issuing a private life carte de séjour based on a PACS and living together is so vague that its interpretation depends on the situation.
Article L313-11, § 7 of the Code of Entry and Residence of Foreigners and Right of Asylum concerns delivery of the private life carte de séjour to “a foreigner not living in a state of polygamy, who does not fall into the preceding categories or those that give rise to the right of family reunification, whose personal and family ties in France, assessed in particular with regard to their intensity, length and stability, the living conditions of the person concerned and their integration into French society, as well as the nature of their ties with the family remaining in the country of origin, are such that refusal to authorize their stay would infringe their right to respect for their private and family life in a manner disproportionate to the grounds for the refusal … . The integration of the foreigner into French society is assessed considering in particular their knowledge of the values of the Republic.”
It was necessary to come up with two completely different interpretations of this provision. When it is linked to a PACS, the two critical things in this provision are:
1 – the intensity of the personal and family ties (in your case, it is the existence of the PACS)
2 – the length of time and stability, which the prefecture understands as a one-year minimum.
That you can tell the prefecture, “If you don’t like the documents covering the past 12 months, how about these proofs of four years of living together before that?” It might not be the perfect way to prove stability for all those years, but at least you prove that your address in France matches his.
It is critical to understand that this request has different legal grounds and therefore you have to put together a different file documenting it. Do not make the serious mistake of thinking that because it is grounded in the same provision, it is just a variation of the first one.

To avoid that error, this is how I would prepare the file.
The first thing is a cover letter introducing your request. It starts by detailing and explaining how you comply with the first legal requirement and argues that being hosted is not sufficient reason to dismiss it. The second part focuses on the concepts of “length of time and stability” of the romantic relationship and its documentation. There are six years documented out of seven. You have all the documents in two names where you are living now. I strongly believe that the so-called missing year, 2021 is documented: to mention the most obvious examples, you have pay slips, and your phone bills. Also remember that for May 2021 and May 2022, your French income tax declaration mentions the PACS.
This is what I see happening if you go to the Paris prefecture. Once your number is called you give the first file with the cover letter. The civil servant will probably ignore the letter at first because this procedure – PACS and proof of living together for a minimum of one year – does not usually require one. The conclusion of the initial review will be almost immediate, as the documentation will be inadequate. At that point you insist, pointing at the letter and showing that you have a second file. Chances are, the civil servant will then read the letter, take your second file and tell you to go back to the waiting room and that it is going to be a long wait. The double file will be reviewed by several people and go up several levels in the prefecture hierarchy. Eventually you will be called back and told that your request will be further reviewed, and that you will be informed when your new carte de séjour is ready. Under normal circumstances, you would leave the prefecture holding a récépissé or temporary paper ID covering the months needed to produce a new carte de séjour. In your case, however, since the expiration of your current card is in 2025, you would walk out of the prefecture with your current card and no official document to show that you have just made this request.
All that being said, however, you hold a carte de séjour that is valid until 2025 and I see no reason for you to change immigration status. If you resign, you will not be entitled to unemployment benefits. (This is a side issue; you may be able to arrange a rupture conventionnelle or mutually agreed termination, which would allow you to receive unemployment and make your blue card last a little longer.) The bottom line is simple. If you wait until the prefecture calls you, if it even does so while your card is still valid, you then have an ever stronger file. So wanting a private life carte de séjour before you resign is the wrong way to approach the issue.
I strongly believe that, first and foremost, you should arrange to leave the company holding your current card. Get the best deal possible when you go. Then you are free to do whatever you want, including nothing. Then when do you address the immigration issue? There are two possible scenarios:
1 – The prefecture calls you before the expiration of your card and you show up with a file full of documents proving what by then is likely to be a lot more than one year of living together.
2 – The prefecture never calls you and you change your immigration status shortly before your card expires in 2025, at which point your situation will be even better secured.
What is really at stake here is whether you can carry what you consider to be a fake carte de séjour for which you do not qualify. But there is nothing fake or illegitimate about continuing to carry this card. Always bear in mind that the prefecture will know almost immediately that you are no longer working for this employer. If they do not call you in, it will be because they do not care about your situation. If they do not care, why should you?

On that page, look for these words to renew your visiteur status:
Vous détenez un VLS-TS ou un titre de séjour mention « visiteur » et vous souhaitez le renouveler.
Procédure à suivre :
Cette démarche doit être déposée sur Internet.
Pour accéder à la démarche en ligne, cliquez ici.

When you click on the blue link, it will take you away from the prefecture website and to that of the interior ministry, which has a specific office handling such requests. You will land on the page at this URL:

After you ask to renew the status, it will go to another page:

Je sollicite ou renouvelle un titre de séjour pour :
Moi-même (à partir de 16 ans)
Et je suis titulaire d’un titre de séjour / VLS-TS
Et je suis titulaire uniquement d’un visa long séjour
Et je suis titulaire d’un numéro étranger sans titre de séjour
Un mineur bénéficiaire de la protection internationale de plus de 16 ans
Je continue

I hope you do not mind my going through all this, because your message does not say what kind of visa you have. That is why I identify the three organizations involved in this procedure:

OFII is there at the beginning to give you your French foreign ID number when you register the visa. This number is critical for getting access to the ministry page called Étrangers en France (see below).

The prefecture is the next place you go as a foreigner, as it is the location where you will pick up the plastic card called the carte de séjour.

Étrangers en France is where you send the documents proving that you meet the following requirements to renew the “visiteur” immigration status:
Enough financial means, proved with French bank statements
A French address, usually proved with utility documents
Proof of healthcare insurance valid in France, probably a private policy you bought to get the visa and later renewed.


Survival Home in Paris

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