I have been in France almost one month. I started the official immigration process within a week of my arrival by sending off a first round of immigration forms to L’Ofii (Office Française de l’Immigration et l’Intégration). L’Ofii has sent me two responses to my immigration documents. (You can read about the first part of the process here). I received the first letter about 5 days ago. It was just a confirmation letter stating they had received all of the documents. The second letter arrived a few days later with instructions for how to proceed.
I am required to appear at the local Ofii offices at the beginning of April. According to the paperwork, I will have to undergo the following formalities:
- Medical exam that includes a general health assessment as well as a lung x-ray (I also had to get lung x-rays when I was studying abroad in France years ago).
- Individual welcome visit.
- Receive a letter from the Ofii stating I am completing the required formalities.
- Payment of the tax due (for the first titre de séjour).
For the medical exam I am asked to present the following:
- The convocation letter from the Ofii
- Lung x-ray
- Immunization record, glasses or hearing aids
- Medical records in the case of hospitalization within the past year
- Maternity records – but I’m not sure what this is
- Any other relative health documents
The Ofii letter also details what I will have to do during my welcome visit.
- I have to sign a contrat d’acceuil and agree to take a class on civil society and life in France.
- There will be a language test. My level of French borders on fluent/bilingual, so I think it is safe to say that I will be exempt from further French classes. However, for those who need French classes, the classes are paid for by the Ofii up to a certain level.
- There is also a professional evaluation with orientation towards working in the French job market.
It is possible to be exempted from certain acceuil classes if you can provide proof of previous schooling in France or proof of current employment in France. I am in the process of contacting my former study abroad program to see if they can provide a letter for me.
In addition, I am also required to bring the following documents:
- ID photo
- Proof of residence in France
- Certificate from the medical visit
- Tax stamp (taxe perçue à l’occasion de la délivrance du premier titre de séjour). For the spouse of a French citizen, this tax is 349€. The “stamp” can be purchased at www.timbresofii.fr or in certain tax establishments. I purchased mine online and printed the proof of purchase.
Once all of these formalities have been completed, I will be allowed to legally stay in France for the length of my visa, which is one year. From what I understand of the procedure, I will be allowed to apply for a renewal of my carte de séjour during the last two months of my visa.
Please note: Information about visas and immigration to France is strictly for informational purposes based on my experience and the information available at the time. For my specific case, I am an American citizen married to a French citizen and I started the immigration process in February 2012. Please check with your local Consulate, Embassy or Ofii for the most up-to-date information and requirements specific to your situation.