I am currently trapped in French bureaucracy like never before.

I chose to end my activities as a freelancer or ‘professionel independent’ at the end of 2010, naïvely believing that this would mark an end to the incessant paperwork that comes with running your own business in La Republique.  On the upside it has meant an end to demands for payment from the health, pension, social security, professional association and tax authorities, which normally work on a ‘pay us now – we’ll work out what you actually owe us in two years time‘ basis.

But while my personal cash-flow is slightly better as a result, the downside is it has trapped me in a no-man’s land of anonymity while I wait for all the various organisations to acknowledge the end of my affairs.

Right now I am waiting for a crucial document known as the ‘certificat de radiation’ or ‘certificat de fin de droits‘.  This piece of paper officially recognises that I am no longer claiming health cover with the RSI (Regime Sociale des independents), the health agency for freelancers, and therefore may transfer my cover to another institution.

But without this document then I cannot transfer my cover; and so technically, right now I am not covered for any sort of health protection.  It is also the piece of paper required by my wife’s employer to add a single-income allowance to her wage (worth a few hundred Euros per month).  Furthermore, without health protection I cannot get an ‘attestation securité sociale’ (only issued by health assurers) which is required by the social security services for our RSA (income support).

My local mutuelle have told me I simply have to wait while the civil servants in Paris get around to it, whenever that might be …