I have been freaking out all day about something that to many, will seem silly. And every few seconds I think it is too, then I change my mind and think it’s important.
As avid readers know, I arrived in France November 2012 on a student visa. By November 2013 I changed my visa status to “scientifique” as a researcher for my PhD. Perk being that they gave me a 2 year carte de séjour that will expire Nov. 2015. Downside … I just found out … if I want to drive in France with my American license, I can’t after 1 year being in France on a non-student visa.
What’s a girl to do?
I check the rules. For some states in the USA you just ask the prefecture to exchange it. You send a bunch of info and papers (cause France loves that crap) and a few months later, they send you a French license and you’re good to go. As of August 2012 (yes, a few months before my arrival) Kentucky was taken off of the “your life will be easier” list. And now, I can’t do that. If I want a French license, I have to take the written test (which costs 200 euros+ and hours and hours of studying) and the driving exam (again, super expensive and can take months and months to even get a date, and that’s after your instructor thinks you’re ready). Yeah. Not happy about this.
Now. I have searched all of the internets for some help. Of course my situation is a little odd. Technically I am still a student. But not in France. My visa no longer says student and I feel that this is what they’ll focus on. Then I thought, which states honor the exchange … Pennsylvania does!!! I’ll just head back home in November and change over to a PA license and then exchange when I get back in December. Unfortunately this is after the deadline to exchange AND they say they want the issue date of the license to be before you got your carte de séjour. COME ON! I am trying my best to figure this out. I have a stress headache. It’s killing me.
I mean, I haven’t had the need to drive really, which is why I haven’t worried about what I was supposed to do if I wanted to drive. Trains are great! BUT if I want to live in France in the future … I will have to exchange my license within 1 year of my 1st carte de séjour that wasn’t student status … WHAT! When was someone going to mention this? I feel this isn’t a fair thing. I just haven’t needed to drive until now. I didn’t care until now. And NOW I find out that if I wanted to drive three years from now legally I would have to have given my dossier to the prefecture two months ago?!?
Wow France. Wow. I am once again unpleasantly surprised. Well not surprised really. This is just how life goes here. But how sad is it that this situation alone makes me want to go back and live in the USA. After all the crap I’ve gone through to be here. All the great memories and this one, seemingly unimportant thing makes me so mad and ready to give up!
Oh yes, of course I could just suck it up and take the driving code and test here. But seriously. Why would I waste hundreds of euros for them to teach me something I know better than most French people? It’s absurd.
shew. rant done. for now.
I’ll let you know what happens. If it happens.
Some sites with info, while promising nothing of helpfulness or validity: