This is the story of my life so far: 68 years and counting.
Prequel: A Brief History of my Family in France
I had learned that in Canada, if you spent more than 183 days during the year as a legal resident, you needed to declare your worldwide revenue for income tax. So, I had decided to immigrate on July 2nd: I would be a legal resident for less than 183 days, and I would not need to declare in Canada my salary in France during the first half of 1994.
I had been told by the Consulate General of Canada in Paris (that is in the same building as the Canadian Embassy) that for me and my family to immigrate to British Columbia I needed to have a job proposal, letters from schools for my four children, letters from the two mothers authorizing their children to move to Canada and that Syrille and Gaëlle needed to have a French passport.
All the conditions were met, except for the passports of Syrille and Gaëlle.
I had started requesting French citizenship for them in 1993 and finally, at the beginning of June 1994, I was told that yes they were now French citizens. So, I had only one month to;
- get French birth certificates for Syrille and Gaëlle,
- with the birth certificates, get French passports,
- with all the passports, get a working visa for me and student visas for my four children.
I knew the person to go to to get the visas at the Canadian Consulate. I had been to the Préfecture in Créteil and I had met a woman who assured me that as soon I had the birth certificates, they would issue the passports the same day.
I had sent all the necessary document to Nantes, and every day I was calling them to know if the birth certificates were ready to be issued. I was starting to panic during the last week of June, because we already had our airline tickets for July 2nd.
Finally, on June 28th I was told that the birth certificates were ready. So, I told them that I would go the next day to get them. And I took the train to Nantes on June 29th, went to the establishment, got the certificates and went back home the same day.
The next day, June 30th, I went to the Créteil Préfecture with my two kids and all the necessary documents and asked to see the woman that I had met previously. And I was told that she was already on vacation. I pleaded my case and they took pity on me: we waited for almost two hours, but we were given the passports. I was too late in the day to go to the Canadian Consulate, so I had to go the next day, that was the day before our departure to Canada.
What I had not realized was that July 1st was Canada Day, the national day of Canada, and of course a federal statutory holiday: nobody was working at the Canadian Consulate, so I could not get the visas!
As it was a Friday, the next working day was Monday July 4th. So I phoned the Airline, British Airways, and changed the tickets to Tuesday July 5th.
On the Monday, I finally got the visas at the Consulate and on Tuesday we were finally able to fly to Vancouver.
Continue to Part 102
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