Tuesday, 23 October 2012

My French Passport Is On Strike


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My French passport doesn't work any more. Every time I go abroad I get sent to a special counter, because the magnetic stripe is not recognised and they need to check it manually, which takes more time. I think that my passport might be trying to tell me something: it is not happy because I am getting a British passport soon. I don't want to listen. I don't want to negotiate.

It has gone on strike and the situation has reached a dead-end.



 You have got to give it to my fellow French citizen : no-one strikes like the French. In London, when there is a Tube strike, some lines are still running. As a passenger, it will be more painful but you have a chance to reach your destination. In France, it is far less likely. I remember having to walk to the office. It took me the best part of three hours. I also remember a couple of American tourists trying to go to the airport, only to be told sternly that there was a strike and nothing could be done. They were the hostages of a social conflict that had nothing to do with them. They looked bewildered. Welcome to France!

 Sure, I could give my passport back to the French consulate to get it changed. I have to admit that I can't face the long wait. A quick look at the website proved me right: you can't make an appointment this side of Christmas. Somehow the various queues at foreign customs suddenly seem more appealing than the French administration. And, once you have explained the situation it usually takes a few weeks to have a new passport. Nightmare. Another option would be to do it the French way: I could go to the front desk and loudly complain. I might get a lecture about the fact that an appointment might be required but, on the positive side, it might work and usually they might get me straight in. None of these two options appeal to me.
 I suppose that I will have to be patient and wait for my British passport. On the bright side, it is nice to have the option to have two passports. Lots of my friends couldn't get out of the country because they were waiting for their travel documents. For this, I am grateful!

13 comments:

  1. Please please don't remind me of the French fondness for les grèves. I'm touching down in France on Thursday when the trains (or rather, people who run them) begin a strike. I won't know until just before I get on a plane if my train is running, so I'm trying to come up with a plan B, C, and D because I absolutely MUST be in Dijon before Friday morning and I don't want to drive from Paris.

    (and I also have sympathy for you and the long customs lines. Sorry about the passport issue.)

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    1. I hope that you made it Julie! it is not nice when France is on strike. I don't miss it at all.
      Well, I look forward to reading all about your adventures in France.

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  2. I am guessing that your passport is a little old...since our passports began adopting this procedure more than a decade ago- and that is beyond the life of the passport...
    I do remember having some problems when my passport still had some 'life' on it, and the technology had changed...
    Beware, though, obtain a metal case for your new passport (or cover it with aluminum foil) so that your data can't be snatched by hackers as you walk (or, more likely wait) nearby.

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    1. I have never been lucky with passports. Somehow they stop working with me...Anyway, I do hope that my British passport will be better! I can't wait...

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  3. I think the Italians make an impact with their strikes too. A close second to the French!

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    1. Lucky you! Maybe, at some point, the Italians and the French should have a competition. I can't help thinking that the French would win on that one!

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  4. I agree. I think it's cool that you can have two passports.

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    1. I can't wait! That said, it is not as easy as it sounds...Apparently I will have to have an interview...Something to look forward to I suppose!

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  5. Wow, crazy! But how exciting you will get the British one soon!

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    1. I am really excited too...But, again, it will be a long process. Why does it need to be so complicated?

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  6. Leave it to you, Muriel, to candidly expose your frustrations with pieces of life and leave us with the 'bright side.' Refreshing! Since I began a part-time job, my hop onto blogs has waned; got to change that!

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    1. Congrats for the new job! Well done you!

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  7. I like the fact the French say sod this shit and down tools and go on strike. I wish us Brits didn't just roll over and say okay treat us anyway you like! Having said that I am admiring them from London!

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