Friday, 6 April 2007

Renewed faith in the US Embassy in Paris

I had to renew my US passport (thank God because the photo was terrible! Taken in the dead of winter in Maine while I was doing my senior thesis...just imagine!). So I had to send it to the US Embassy in Paris.

I'd lost faith in them a couple years back when I was trying to get my papers together to apply for French nationality. I had dealt with the typical French administration, had cried many times and had already spent hundreds of € and $ on getting originals from the towns where my parents were born, married, where I was born and then getting it all translated. All for naught because this jack*** at the Lille Préfecture told me I couldn't apply yet because the law had changed retroactively, etc etc. But he told me to go to the US Embassy to get apostilles on my original papers.

When I got to the US Embassy, imagining a haven of Americanness (ie customer service and friendliness), I instead got a bitchy French fonctionaire working in MY Embassy. She told me to shove it. I swear. She told me she could do nothing for me. So I spent a long afternoon in Starbuck's being pissed off at the French and reading "A Year in the Merde".

Back to the passport...I asked the embassy to include my married name on the new passport and included a photocopy of my livret de famille (official family record book) with the form. They sent me a letter saying they needed an original within 2 weeks or they would consider my request abandoned. I immediately got an original and sent it the next day. Phew.

But, then I got my passport yesterday and it didn't have the name change. I sent them an email thinking it couldn't hurt. And do you know what they replied?! I almost fell off my seat (must be because I'm so used to French administration).

Dear Mrs. G-J,

We are terribly sorry for the mistake in your passport. As you had a previous passport issuance record at this office, we must have used it without updating it.
We will issue you a new correct passport and mail it back to you by Chronopost free of charge as soon as we receive the wrong one, if you don't mind sending it back to us.
Are you travelling anytime soon? The processing should take about a week.

We apologize for the inconvenience and hope this arrangement seems satisfactory to you. If not, please let us know.
Our direct line is 01 43 12 46 32 should you wish to reach us.

I love the US Embassy in Paris...


Deb said...

Wow! Thanks for posting about this. My passport expires in August.

What "original" did you need? An original French marriage certificate? You didn't have to send the livret de famille did you?

Amy H said...

I would be afraid to send it back in!! Let us know when you get it back. That is totally the worst part of life in France. I just tried to get my papers for "travailleur independent", and gave up after the first try. I'll try again after my baby's here.

Reb said...

Deb - an original French marriage certificate. I sent a photocopy of the livret at first. I think I subconsciously wanted to test them.

Amy - I am afraid to send it which is why I wanted my French passport before I handed my US one over. But I think I'm more afraid of the French postal service than of the embassy.

Riana said...

OMG that is amazing! The email, that is.... wow. Cant wait to find out what happens

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