Today I had my meeting with the Ofii to continue with the immigration to France process. I previously wrote about the visa process and the arrival procedures. Today, I took all of my paperwork as well as an issue of the New Yorker* to the Ofii office located in Marcq en Baroeul.
There were only a handful of people waiting for the office to open, so I took that as a good sign. As a student in Paris, I remember standing in lines of 50 or more people all waiting to complete some step of the immigration process. The doors opened promptly at 1:30 and everyone rushed inside. After checking in at the front desk I was asked by one of the Ofii officers if I had had a diploma from a French university. I spent my junior year studying abroad in Paris and requested an attestation de scolarité from my former school. This letter exempted me from the French culture and civilization orientation session as well as the French language classes. Yay! Once it had been determined that I was exempt, I was directed back to the waiting room where I plunged into my New Yorker. The medical part of the visit was the first step at the Ofii. A nurse led me to the x-ray room for a chest x-ray. After that, another nurse measured and weighed me and tested my vision. Back to the waiting room. I waited probably half an hour before seeing the doctor. I was grateful for my New Yorker. The doctor checked my pulse and blood pressure, asked me very basic questions about my medical history and vaccinations and told me my chest x-ray was fine and gave me the x-ray (as a souvenir, I suppose?). Back to the waiting room. There was another twenty-minute wait before I saw one of the agents from earlier. He looked over all of my paperwork, took one of my ID photos and scanned the tax stamp. When he had verified that everything was in order, he affixed the Ofii stamp into my passport. And like that, the process was finished! I’m now a legal resident in France! The only thing left to do is renew my residency permit three months before my visa expires next year.
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.
*Totally random side note about the New Yorker. I was a subscriber while living in New York, and am still subscribed through next year. I haven’t yet inquired about having it mailed to me in France, but I will once we have a permanent address. In the meantime it is just being forwarded to my dad in Missouri, who is saving them for me. When we were at the airport in Porto waiting for our flight, I found a current issue on the newsstand and coughed up the 8€ for it. I figured the price wasn’t too steep considering that in the US, the newsstand price is already a hefty $5.99.