So you’re moving to France for good. You’ve got your french visa, hopped on the plane and…voila! Bienvenue en France! But hey, process is not yet over. Your first year will be surely filled with paperworks. Don’t worry, juggling these not-so-funny administrative stuff with your exploration of the ville is not that difficult to handle. Somebody invented the concept of “waiting” so you can go play the tourist while waiting for your appointments or as they call it, rendezvous or convocation.
First of firsts, you are required to accomplish certain formalities at the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) within 3 months from the date of your Entry in France to further legalize your stay. Your “titre de séjour” will no longer be valid if you do not have the stamp or vignette from OFII after the lapse of this period. So here’s what to do:
1. Send the form “Demande d’Attestation” to OFII
Upon arriving, you should send immediately to the OFII in the city where you are staying the form “Visa de Long Sejour -Demande d’Attestation OFII” and a copy of your passport details. This is the one given to you by the French Embassy when they issued to you your visa which in my case was “Vie Privée et Familiale”. There is a list of addresses of OFII attached to it. In Paris, address it to Direction Territoriale de Paris 48, rue de la Roquette, 75011, PARIS. You must send the form “recommandé avec avis de réception” so you would have a proof in case someone will misplace your form.
Remember that you are not the sole immigrant here so you should better hurry up particularly if you live in Paris. If you arrive before the start of classes in September, there is also a risk of delay because of the arrival of foreign students. I sent the form the day after I arrived in France.
2. Follow up your “Demande d’Attestion”
I called OFII after two weeks to follow up my request and check if they got it. Their phone was quite busy but I didn’t give up until someone answered and told me that it will really take some time. Finally, I received the “Attestation de Réception du Formulaire de Demande d’Attestation OFII” a month and a week after.
3. Wait for your “Convocation” to appear at OFII
I received my “Convocation pour l’attestation par l’OFII de l’accomplissement des formalities” two months after I sent the form. I was scheduled to go to OFII more than 3 months after my arrival so I made a photocopy of the convocation and keep it with me always to justify my stay.
4. Prepare the required documents
· Your passport
· An ID picture
· Proof of residence in France- quittance de loyer (rent receipts); electric, gas, water and landline telephone bills with your name on it; or in absence thereof, a proof of accommodation accompanied by a proof of identity document of your host (or your husband). In my case, we have requested immediately upon my arrival the inclusion of my name in our bills.
· Document stamp tax which you can obtain from the Tabac or from OFII website. Mine was 241 euros.
5. At OFII =)
My convocation was at 8 in the morning. I went there early but there was already a queue. It took half a day to finish everything.
· They will evaluate your French language level through a written exam and an interview. This interview is the time when they will check if you have the required documents. The questions are about your basic personal information. It is also the time for you to ask questions. The staff then will decide if you need to take French language course should they determine that you have not attained A1 level. The course is free and compulsory.
· You will sign a document that you would abide by the laws of the country.
· A convocation for a 2-day orientation seminar will also be given. These are “Formation Civique” and “Vivre et accéder à l’emploi en France”. You will be given a copy of all the contact numbers like for social health, for your diploma, driver’s license etc. Lunch is free.
· You are also required to undergo medical examination (X-ray, eye check-up, blood pressure). It’s like what the employers in Philippines ask you when you got the job.
· And then they will give you back your passport with the vignette of OFII.
· Keep all the certificates and documents because these will be required when you renew your titre de séjour.