WTF OFII: The Complete Guide to Your Immigration Appointment in France

WTF OFII.jpg

Let's face it. Immigration matters are difficult. Despite the awesome fact that we get to live in France, we sometimes begin to question our sanity once we get started with the infamous OFII (l'office de l'immigration et l'intégration).

This post will give you a big break-down of what to expect when, frankly, ya just don't know what to expect! So let's dive in. 

The OFII Timeline During TAPIF

Before Leaving for France:

  • Before your visa appointment, you will fill out the top section of  an immigration form and you will receive a stamp on the form from the French consulate along with your visa-laden passport (it should be mailed back to you or you should be able to pick it up along with the passport once the visa has been granted!)

Hint: DO NOT LOSE THIS FORM, AS YOU WILL NEED IT IN FRANCE FOR YOUR IMMIGRATION APPOINTMENT. 

Once Arrived in France:

  • As soon as you have a fixed address, mail in the following documents to your French département's OFII, or immigration office:
    • The filled-in OFII form above (la demande d'attestation OFII)
    • One copy each of 1) your passport identification pages, 2) your visa, and 3) the stamp of entry into France or the European Union (upon arrival in Europe at the airport)
    • One copy of your work contract (arrêté de nomination)
  • You will find the address on the back section of the above form (you should be able to download both pages of the form from your city's French consulate). Don't stress too much about sending it in right away. It's great if you can, but if not - no worries, just send it in whenever is possible for you - ideally before November.
  • Wait for a response from OFII to be mailed back to you saying either 1) they've received your dossier and will be processing it (note: no appointment yet) or 2) they've received your dossier, but it's not complete so you must send in whatever is missing.
    • Again, don't stress out if this is the case - just do what OFII asks you, and nobody gets hurt...
      • ust a note: this response could  possibly take a couple months to receive. Don't stress (are you sensing a pattern yet?) if you don't hear back for a while - it's totally normal. I'd say if you don't hear ANYTHING by January, that's  when you should start to question things. 
  • Assuming all went well with your first dossier  (complete, etc.), it should take a couple more weeks to a month or so more for you to receive your actual appointment date to go in for your medical visit at the immigration office. Maybe it's shorter, maybe it's longer than that - but I'd say that's a good ball-park period. 
    • y first TAPIF year, I didn't receive my appointment date (my convocation) until right before Christmas and then had to call to reschedule for a later date than January 4th. No issues (more on that to come).
    • My second TAPIF year, I received my convocation  around mid-November for my appointment on December 4th. No issues. 
  • If your appointment falls on a day you have school, just give your teachers or the administration a heads-up that you won't be making it for a couple of hours because of your immigration appointment. 
  • If you've been given an appointment that you cannot make, just call the OFII and explain that it won't be possible for you to make the appointment and if they might be able to schedule another appointment for you, most likely over the phone (hint: for the smoothest possible process, remember to use your best French manners, folks!)
  • If you haven't received your appointment date yet, and you will be traveling (i.e. over the Christmas break in December) - you can  use your document that OFII mailed you saying they've received and are processing your dossier. Those will serve as your 'papers,' so to speak. 
    • f you haven't received anything   and you're planning on traveling back home for Christmas, I would go ahead and give the OFII in your area a call just to check on the process - they may have a document to give you that would clear you for any traveling with your visa, etc.


Bottom line: Don't stress if you've been getting radio silence from the OFII. If you're really feeling nervous about it around mid-December, go ahead and give your local immigration office a call just to check up on your file and to give you peace of mind! 

What to Expect at the OFII Medical Visit

Congratulations! You haven't been forgotten in the mountainous maze of the French bureaucracy!

For your OFII medical appointment, you'll need to bring the following:

  • The OFII convocation giving you your appointment time
  • One passport-sized photo of yourself (you can get this at one of those Photomaton machines in train or metro stations!)
  • A bill (facture) in your name (i.e. water, gas, electricity) at your French place of residence OR (if you live with a host family or roommates) a letter from someone attesting that you do in fact live with them (this is called an attestation d'hébergement) WITH a copy of the identity card or passport of that person. (Note: I also brought an electric  bill with me, from the person I lived with!) 
  • Your medical record (but you'll be fine without it - I didn't have mine and I know of a number of assistants who didn't have theirs and all was well). 
  • A document that should have been sent with your convocation letter saying that you don't have to pay for the OFII medical visit.  


Note: just to be on the safe side, I brought along my TAPIF folder with my contract (arrêté de nomination) and all that fun stuff. If there's one thing I've learned with French administration, you just never know....

During the appointment itself, you will be expected to sign in and go into the waiting room. You will then be called into a small room to complete a chest x-ray. Normally, you'll need to take off your shirt and bra and press right up to a cold metal box while the technician takes your x-ray. (Not as scary as it sounds, promise!)

Then you'll go back and wait in the room until you're called in to speak with a nurse about your overall health. This is where you'll be asked for your vaccination history, but if you don't have it - you'll be fine (I didn't have mine!). 

Then you'll go back and wait in the room (another pattern?) until you're called into the doctor's office who has since taken a look at your x-ray and will most likely declare you tuberculosis-free. He'll stamp a paper for you and send you on your way (yep, right out to the waiting room again!).

Then you'll wait until you're called back with another person to go over the immigration stuff. You'll give them your passport photo, copy of any bills/letters from someone you live with, etc. They will print out a big sticker (vignette) that goes in the page of your passport facing your current visa and they will ask you to ensure that everything is correct (name, birthday, etc.) You will check, say yes (or correct any errors), they will stamp a bunch of things (count 'em!), and voilà you'll be officially official and legal in France!! 

See? That wasn't so bad, was it?!

Hope that helped clear things up with the ever-confusing topic of French Immigration/OFII/etc! If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out via email or the comments!