Four months later…after my initial interview with the citizenship officer (and months of gathering the right documents + my lovely French examination) and a few hiccups in between, Xavier and I visited the French Consulate this past week and sat down with Madame le Consul herself. I am pleased to say that my citizenship dossier has officially been submitted, accepted and sent on to a (singular, very singular) judge in Nantes, France. Apparently, he is the king of these dossiers and will sit on mine for 9 months to a year before I receive a congratulatory note, which will manifest my Frenchness. It feels like a relief – if only because I will never have to make another request for a certified copy of my birth certificate (or Xavier’s, his parents’, my parents’, or our children’s) again.
There was an unfortunate moment a couple of months ago when we were due to have this interview and the citizenship officer had gone missing (an extended holiday in France or some other engagement keeping him away from his desk on Fifth Avenue) for 6 weeks. He missed our appointment and therefore rendered many of the documents I had summoned and carefully combined void. They have a 3-month window of validity. The orchestration of amassing the right things in this cranny of time is a true feat. I am convinced it is a deliberate bureaucratic hurdle to hinder the number of successful applicants. One needs true staying power to get through it.
When I finally did nail down this Monsieur, I almost cried on the phone when he declared I would have to secure a fresh FBI Background Check and new versions of various certified documents (along with their translations). I almost dumped the entire folder in the recycle/shredder bin in the copy room at work. I didn’t though. And so, Xavier and I sat down at the Consulate, hand in hand, across from these lovely French officers and answered questions about my Mormon family and my admiration of the French and how we were going to instill Frenchness in our girls (an uphill battle in another country, said Madame le Consul – right she is). It is over though, just a waiting game now.
Voilà: my French citizenship dossier (each dividing page a separate notarized document with translation) on the desk of le Consul in New York