It took me 4 1/2 years to obtain a residence permit. And to do so I entered a civil partnership with my then companion. The CIMADE helped me a lot with the administrative steps needed for the civil partnership. They explained everything. We didn’t know where to begin. They advised a civil partnership because I had arrived in France unlawfully. If you get married while your papers aren’t in order then you have to return to your country and apply for a visa in order to come back and get married. For a civil partnership, however, it’s much easier. Following that, my ex-girlfriend and I were members of Les Amoureux au ban public collective and we helped people with the administrative procedures since we knew lots about it thanks to our own experience.