Seeking advice on an ongoing RSI question!

I'm sure this is a deeply familiar story, so my apologies to those who've heard /answered this question 100 times... my husband and I are having a rare old doodah with RSI, we've sent all our documents on several occasions but are now being told we need copies translated by a translator authorised by the Court of Appeal in France or by the British consulate.

Before we go down the route of what sounds like an expensive and time-consuming activity, I thought I'd ask the Oracle of Survive France members for any sage advice! Do we really have to do this, and if so, can we get one certified copy and then photocopy that ourselves? Many thanks all in anticipation of your pearls of wisdom and experience!

Bet the threat of EU legislation rankled and they buckled under as with me. Well done, let's hope other people score the same goals.

Well I don't know what happened, but received a letter asking for a photo and copy of identity for my Carte Vitale!

Not sure whether they read my letter and collapsed under the threat of EU laws and treaties or the Solvit folks had something to do with it.

But off to the post office before they change their minds!

Making some progress with Solvit. At least they thus far have not rejected me outright. Latest comms:

Thank you for this confirmation. You have exercised free movement rights between Member States and so fall under the EU Regulations on social security. As you were registered in the UK, I needed to confirm that the UK would hold records in order that France can clarify any questions they may have through communication between Member States.
You have mentioned that you sent in a copy of your US birth certificate, translations and your UK passport, but this is insufficient for purposes of identification and they still require translations and apostilles. What is the translation you provided?
Can you send me a copy of the application, your French residence card if you have this, and the supporting documents. I will need in addition a signed consent form, attached.

Machiavelli Prize 2013 to SFN members for sure... :-D

My general approach is to take as many papers as might be needed, plus more but don't actually offer anything other than what is asked for. Then whey they get really sh--ty put them all on the table and ask for the next person up the line, this is preferably performed when you are sat comfortably, in their office, in possession of a good book to read while they decide what to do.

Excellent idea :-D Plus throw in the EC's Green Paper (that they won't have authority to read but will worry them) and people might be on a winner.

Mind you, one could always ask under what section of the Code Civil does it stipulate that these documents must be (by law) translated.,..

But then, as we know from my wife's years living and working in the UK, that there documents are accepted as they come and no translations required. In my years living much of the time in Germany and the amount of contact I was obliged to have with officialdom, no translation was required. Early on I had to have a work permit since the UK was not a member until 1973, but no translations even then.

It would appear to be the case is the majority of EU member states and if the background papers are read through it is aimed at eradicating inequity. I think what the UK is saying is, as if they were the centre of the universe (just as France sees itself), that because they don't requite translations then there is no need for regulation. The intent to put a regulation in place has been stated and it is fairly soon, I think as soon as is possible after the next Euro elections in 2014, perhaps in 2015.

Apparently it becomes law sometime or other according to the EC site, can't actually remember but I had my run in with them autumn 2011, so the paper must have been quite convincing - mind you, they said they didn't have the authority to read it which probably helped.

But consulatation was up to April 2011, so did it ever get passed or is it stuck in a quagmire? where you'll find info on translstors and a lot of other stuff.

OK, so it is only a 'Green Paper' but will become law You can find it in French on if you want to take a look at the English:

The point is that I used it to successfully bluff.

Similar situation. I have sent back saying not required for EU citizen (though I was born in the US, but UK passport.) Have also opened a case with Solveit, the EU assistance agency:

They replied right away asking for more info. Sent stuff on and will see what reply I get.

Problems with RSI are legion as others are saying. I resorted to going to my local office with documents such as my birth certificate in hand, asking (cheekily) as we came to the point that somebody was going to ask for documents whether anybody in the office had learned English. A couple said they had and just had to show off by using it, so I challenged them to examine my documents that were not in French but very simple English. I was told that the translations were because of regulations at a higher level that their office. I then slapped a European Commission decision on the question of whether official documents may be demanded or not, which the Commission had decided there was not. The version I had was in French of course. They told me they did not have the authority to read the Commission's decision. However they kept it for advice from above, photocopied each of the documents required and sent me on my way. I think, they just wanted to avoid me making a complaint a higher level X.

However, I got lucky, my wife had to complain. She being Swiss submitted her documents, birth certificate, family book, ID card, passport and perhaps more. She was told she needed to go to a traducteur assermenté. That is incredible since as a matter of federal law, all Swiss documents are in three languages or more recently in four since Rumantsch was added. Whatever, one of the languages is French. Their argument was that some of the French is significantly different to here and is therefore not acceptable. She did complain, sending in copies of a couple of the documents, to a higher level and got back an apology. When she did the over one hour drive and showed them the apology over the reception desk, somebody still made a phone call to where the apology came from to make sure it was real or whatever. However, once they accepted it was real, they took her documents with a number of rude comments about Romande and commenting to each other within hearing distance about how they use incorrect phrases such as numbers septante, huitante and nonante and souper instead of dîner, but at no stage apologised themselves. That's RSI for you!

A useful link is the website which lists all registered translators.

Do shop around as rates vary tremendously.

No reason why they shouldn't accept a copy but if they do want an original (for some bizarre reason as a translation is by definition a copy) then, in the same way as would happen in the UK if you had to send an original of your birth certificate to someone, you can have it back once they've finished with it. seem to offer reasonable rates (35 euros per document). We haven't used them so can't vouch for the service.

Obviously if anyone knows of anyone cheaper....

We were also asked to provide the translated versions of all our English documents. We only gave them the photocopies of the translation and kept the originals ourselves (in case they mysteriously lose the them). So far they seemed to be okay with the photocopies.

Yes, I think that problems with RSI are universal. My hubby and I have had our carte vitale since 2004, but he retired last year. RSI still insures us as they pay him a pension, but early this year, he rec'd a letter asking for an official translation of his birth certificate. I wrote them back, explaining that I am his wife, and do they need the same for me. They did reply affirmatively. We hired an official translator in Perpignan. The cost was 42€ for each document. My hubby claims that as an EU citizen he is not required under EU rules to furnish translations. I said to him, do you want your carte vitale or not. We had the official translations, and I sent everything in with a letter requesting that they return the originals to us when they are finished. In the spring, they returned the documents. I thought all was well but it wasn't. For some strange reason, they changed our official number and now they weren't paying the bills under the carte even though it was accepted. Took me many emails to correct this. They finally sent a new attestation listing both of us and told us to use this when we needed medical attention. My husband eventually rec'd his new carte vitale with the photo and it covers me as well. For me, in August they requested an apostille of my birth certificate from Illinois which was fairly easy to get. We were told that we did not need an official translation of the apostille. I sent everything in again for me in late August. I am still waiting for the formulaire for my carte vitale. There doesn't seem to be a problem as I have had an x-ray and have seen the doctor with my husband's card.

Sorry for rattling on, but you probably do need an official translation. They are quite official, and I would ask for duplicate originals so that if you need it in the future, you will have an original just in case RSI doesn't return the originals to you. Hopefully they won't ask for an apostille.

Thanks so much Tracy, that's a big help - it's always a relief to know it's not just us! Many thanks and have a super weekend,


I take it you have been asked for tranlations by a 'traducter assermente' in that case I believe there are several people on SFN who can recommend translators they have used with an approximate price.

Whether or not you can photocopy them will depend on the person asking - each office and person in each office tends to give different answers. If at all possible go to the RSI and ask a person to write you a list of exactly what you need, along with their name. If the list seems impossible, try a different office on a different day and hopefully a different person and a different (simpler) list will be offered.

It might help if you could summarise what kind of problems you are having someone may be able to offer more specific advice and maybe post in the AE or business group depending on what route you are following. Many of us have had problems with the RSI and someone may have had your specific difficulty.