I have been waiting for, and dreading, today’s RDV since I first began reading about all of the hoops I would need to jump through to live and study in France for a while. But I come to you now, alive and well, not deported out of France after my OFii appointment to get my titre de séjour!
First, what is OFii? L’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Integration. It’s where we as foreigners have to go to be legally in France for greater than 3 months (for most visa types) or 6 months (for students).
What process did I follow to complete this task?
- When I applied for my Visa in Washington, DC they gave me some papers back. One VERY important one is the DEMANDE D’ATTESTATION OFII. It’ll have an important looking stamp on it. When you arrive in France…as soon as you can! you should mail this paper and a copy of your passport ID pages, copy of your French visa that was issued by the French consulate in the States and a copy of the stamp you received upon entry to the EU (mine was in Amsterdam). Then…you wait.
- About 3 weeks later, I received another letter saying they received this letter and papers from me and to wait some more until they made me an appointment.
- Another month later I got my appointment letter and some directions for the OFii appointment. The letter said to go to the OFii office (here in Marseille it is at 61 Boulevard Rabatau, near RPdPrado, very easy to find!) and bring with me my passport, a ID photo (just go to the metro stations and get these taken…follow the directions in the photo booths and you’ll be fine, it’s a good idea to always have some of these handy. All sorts of people and places ask for them). Also I should bring my quittances de loyer or something else that can show I have a place to live in France (I also took my contrat de location or my rental contract) and finally the timbres…you have to pay for taxes, for a student it was 58 euros, much more for other visa types but you can buy them HERE and print the paper receipt, take that with you!
- So, I showed up this morning at the OFii about an hour early since everyone online said it can be hectic at times with MANY people holding the same appointment as you. I arrived at 9h30 for a 10h30 appointment. This didn’t seem to bother the ladies at the welcome desk, they let me go on back once I arrived, after checking my passport and appointment letter (take that with you, don’t lose it)! Awesome! I was super surprised, I had my kindle ready to sit back and get some reading done while I waited (as is custom in France…) but NO, I was sent straight back…
- First, I had my chest XRay done…for this you’re asked to undress from the waist up. Yeah, all the clothes off while this dude Xrayer hurried me through the process of getting the Xray…he was saying everything in French, which I understood, but repeated it in English..haha. Whatever. It took about 5 minutes and my shirt (and bra) was off for about 3 minutes. No biggie but if you are shy, just be aware.
- Next, I took my papers back from the dude (after getting dressed of course) and headed back to wait some more. After about 10 minutes a doctor came out, asked if I finished my XRays and asked me to follow him. There were about 3 other people waiting with me…it was not crowded or scary.
- The doctor asked me questions about vaccinations, medications and surgeries. I was proud of myself for writing down all of this info (and French translations) the night before so there wouldn’t be any miscommunications. Honestly, if you can get it, an official letter from your doctor back home with your dates of vaccinations is best. I just typed a document with the vaccination in french and english and the date I remember having it (or could decipher from the medical records I had my doctors copy before I left home). The doctor accepted my document with vaccination dates so that went smoothly. Once again, I took my shirt off and sat on a paper covered table. He listened to my heart and lungs. Took my blood pressure and pulse, checked my teeth, eyes etc. Then he looked at my Xrays. Said they were fine, stamped and signed my papers and I went back and waited in the waiting room (yes, I had already put my shirt back on, geeze people).
- Next I waited for probably 10 more minutes in order to see the Nurse. Once in there she checked my weight, height. Asked about my vaccinations, again then had me do a vision test by reading the letters off of a chart, the little ones. Thank goodness my eyes are still okay enough to do this. easy peasy. Then she did a finger prick in order to test my blood sugar. That was fine too. Then she stamped and signed the papers and returned them to me and said that was all…I went back to reception.
- They took my papers and asked me to take a seat and wait to be called.
- 10 minutes later they called my name…I gave them my passport, ID photo, paper I printed saying I paid my 58 euros in Taxes and my quittances+contrat de location. They said the rental contract or agreement was sufficient (but I would advise to have both just in case). Then she put a pretty new sticker in my passport and said that was all. I was in and out in about an hour!!
I feel like a winner now, being so very legally installed in France! Well, until July 25th when my visa expires and I have to get a new one! Haha. Hopefully next time it’ll be a scientists visa and I can keep it for the next 3 years…unfortunately you have to apply for a titre de séjour each year and do the process over again, and pay taxes again, I think . Oh well.
It’s over! And I got this—>
A few notes of interest: The receptionists spoke all in French with my but they were all easy words and directions so I understood perfectly. The doctor spoke a lot of English, even though I kept trying to answer in French and the Nurse spoke in French but I am sure she could speak english…Also, realize this is my experience in Marseille and that it might be different elsewhere but as I so nervously searched the internet for an account of the OFii in Marseille I thought it important to add my experience here.
à bientôt mes amis!