One of the things that’s tricky about starting a new life in France is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and it’s easy to want to find hard-and-fast rules about what you should do, and when those don’t exist, you can feel a bit lost.

With the unresponsiveness of some French administrations, it’s hard to strike a balance between following up on your application(s) to make sure nothing has been lost, and just… waiting it out. It’s not unusual to wait 6 months for an OFII appointment after validating your visa in certain departments, but you also don’t want your carte de sejour renewal application languishing for 7 months because they’re missing a document without ever following up. Learning the rhythm takes time.

If you’re used to being type A and getting everything done completely and immediately, it can be a challenge to learn to trust the process and have faith that everything will be processed in its own time, without any kind of validation process. But if you’re usually relaxed about admin things, the challenge will be to know what you’re supposed to be doing and when you’re supposed to be doing it, without reminders or prodding from the administration. You’ll have to learn what to do and stay on top of your admin on your own (or with our help!)

We regularly talk to our clients about managing their expectations for how long different French bureaucracy procedures should take, and when or how often to follow up if they don’t get confirmation or a response. It’s a process to adjust to how bureaucracy can work, but learning to be flexible is part of creating your new life here.