November 14, 2013: Call to make visa appointment (3 months before expiration, as instructed). Given an appointment date of April 11, 2014 and told I should have made appointment 5 months in advance. What good does it do to tell me NOW?
January 31, 2014: Go into pre-term labor and get put on bed rest until baby is born. Due May 20th so either I'm going to miss my visa renewal appointment or my baby's going to be a preemie. Can't win.
February 3, 2014: Call to reschedule appointment, hedging my bets that the baby won't be born yet and wanting to get a new appointment date as soon as possible.
"Honey, we can't change it. Just call us the day after you miss your appointment and we'll reschedule."
"Even though I'm 99% sure I'm going to miss the appointment?"
February 14, 2014: Current visa expires. Secret fact: As long as you have a piece of paper showing your renewal appointment date, then your current visa is still valid. The French have a built-in back-up plan, quelle surprise.
April 14, 2014: Call to reschedule missed appointment. Get new appointment for June 5.
May 4, 2014: Give birth to a healthy baby girl. Bed rest paid off! But now I have to deal with all HER paperwork, too.
June 5, 2014: Go to appointment. Now that I'm changing my visa status to be based on my marriage status as opposed to my long-stay tourist visa (which I had for 5 years/suffered through 4 renewals) or my work visa (which I had for 3 years/suffered through 2 renewals), I get to go to the Special Room For People We Don't Hate, which has much better lighting and slightly less grumpy employees. Visa gets approved. Now just need to wait for processing.
August 6, 2014: Pick up visa. Walk out of the Prefecture with a smile on my face. Done for another year! Look down at card and see the blasted thing expires February 14, 2015.
September 14, 2014: I need to call to make my renewal appointment.
So that means for one glorious month out of the whole year I don't have to think about this stupid visa. Pop open the champagne.
I go into even more detail about this in my book, Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer. If you haven't beaten your head against a wall reading this blog post, then you will after you read that chapter!
Who wants to commiserate? Have any bureaucratic horror stories of your own?