Here’s What Happens at Your OFII Meeting + Medical Appointment

Here’s What Happens at Your OFII Meeting + Medical Appointment

UPDATE 2019: Since this article was first published, the OFII process has been changed in certain ways.

Based on reader comments, I have put UPDATES in the relevant sections, so be sure to read thoroughly. However, I am not an immigration lawyer, so every change may not be reflected. Please leave a comment if you see something else that has been updated.

Merci beaucoup! -Charli

Once you’ve arrived in France with your Visa Long Sejour (see my guide for that process), you need to contact the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII) and register with the government. You have a couple of required meetings to get the official stamp that converts your visa to a “titre de sejour” or VLS-TS. Here’s what to expect with the process.

When you arrive in France

Within three months you’re required to let the French government know you’ve arrived by sending in your stamped OFII form from your Visa Long Sejour appointment, along with a copy of your passport info page and a copy of your visa. I recommend doing it sooner rather than later to get the ball rolling because if you haven’t completed the process within three months you can’t leave France and come back without jeopardizing your visa.

Don’t forget to fill out the bottom part of the form before you send it in! The address you send the form and copies to depends on where you moved, so check the chart on the second page of the OFII forms to find the address for your department.

The following account is my personal experience as an American spouse of a French citizen who moved to Paris. (For those undergoing the process in Nice, check out this excellent comment from reader Dani with a lot of detail on how the experience was there.) If you are in France on a different visa or come from another country it is possible you will need more documents, so check your paperwork.

UPDATE 2019: Some readers have left comments saying the VLS-TS activation is now done online via this website and that you are able to pay online and choose the interview language there. I am not positive this can be done for every type of VLS-TS visa, so do be sure to check it works for your situation.

Little friend helping me fill out my OFII forms at the post office.

Notification of your Rendez-vous

A little over a week after sending in my OFII form, I received a notice (convocation) that my forms had been processed and that I had two meetings set up to complete the process of converting my visa to a “titre de sejour.” However, based on the accounts of others I believe this is faster than usual and a month wait time is more likely. 

The two meetings were scheduled for about a month later and were a week apart. The first was for an 8:30am medical appointment in Montrouge, which is just south of Paris. The second meeting was set for 1:30pm at the OFII office in the 11th arrondissment of Paris.

It is possible to reschedule either meeting, but try your best to make it to avoid annoying bureaucracy.

UPDATE 2018: Reader Natalie left a comment saying she received her convocation via email. So it looks like OFII may be getting with the times! Reader Kelly also commented that you will receive via email your appointment notices and a list of required documents to bring to the meetings. You should also receive a letter via mail with same information shortly after.

Medical Appointment

Here begins the unpleasant part of this journey. The medical office is in Montrouge, just south of Paris, and the process feels a bit like a cattle call.

OFII medical office in Montrouge, image via Google Maps

Tip number one: show up early. Once you check in with the receptionist, you are sent into a waiting room with everyone else who has an appointment that day. I showed up half an hour early and there were already 20 people in the room. I couldn’t tell for certain, but it appeared they were calling people by order of arrival.

Also, don’t make the mistake of the woman in front of me who showed up without an appointment or convocation (appointment notice) and was promptly yelled at by the receptionist in French and told to leave. Have everything you need.

Speaking of, here’s what you need to bring:

  • Your convocation (appointment notice)
  • The additional OFII forms sent with your notice (multiple will be stamped to prove you went to your meeting)
  • Your passport
  • Your vaccination record if you have it
  • Wear your eyeglasses or contact lenses if you wear them all the time
  • Any documents you may have related to hospitalizations, health issues, or maternity care
  • Insurance card if you have insurance

Once you are called out of the first waiting room in a group of about 10 people, you are sent to another room where your documents are checked again and you sit in a line and wait for the first doctor. All the doctors I encountered spoke some English, and it seemed there were also doctors available who spoke other languages.

There are three parts to the examination. The first doctor you see will check your height, weight, and other basic stats and gives you an eyesight exam. Quick and easy.

You are then sent to a tiny closet-sized room with a door on the other side to disrobe from the waist up and wait for your x-ray. This is the most unpleasant part. Once the other door opens, you walk into the x-ray room and a doctor instructs you to press your chest up against a machine (and told me to hold my necklace in my mouth to keep it out of the way). An x-ray is taken and you are sent back to the little closet to get dressed. Quick, but not exactly a fun experience.

Finally, you wait once more to see one last doctor. During my visit, the final doctor took my blood pressure, asked me about vaccinations (thankfully I had a record), asked me where I came from and what I was doing in the country. She was nice to me and didn’t criticize my French skills. Overall it wasn’t too bad.

You are sent back to the receptionist to get stamps on your forms confirming you passed the exam and are sent on your merry way.

Did this guide help you?

OFII Meeting

If you were expecting someone to speak English to you at this office, forget that right now. The security guard out front spoke English better than anyone I encountered inside the building.

OFII office on Rue de la Roquette, image via Google Maps

You will wait outside in line until the office opens, along with the other 40 or so people with appointments that day. The security guard made sure I had a convocation to even allow me in the line, so don’t just show up. Once inside, the receptionist will check your convocation again and send you upstairs to another desk where they will check all your documents.

Here’s what you need to bring to your OFII meeting:

  • Your convocation
  • Your passport
  • Proof you are living in France: A document with your name on it related to your address– can be a lease, a gas bill, an electric bill, a landline telephone bill, or a letter from the person you are renting from with a copy of their ID. Luckily, because I am in France on a spouse visa, they accepted a document in my husband’s name because I didn’t have any of my own.
  • The stamped medical examination papers from your medical visit.
  • The “timbres” (stamps) used to pay for the cost of the meeting, which you can buy at a tabac shop or online. Print out your receipt from the online payment if you go that route. Mine cost 250€, but be sure to check your price on the documentation sent to you or online.
  • A passport style photo: Reader Kelly left a comment saying you need to provide a photo, which is now on the list of required documents provided.

There are three parts of this meeting: The written language exam, the oral language exam and the meeting with an OFII officer. The last two parts were combined in my case, and the entire process took about three or four hours.

After the forty or so people were checked in, we all sat in a room at classroom style desks. The people in the class varied greatly, as did their French speaking abilities. There were refugees, students and immigrants such as myself from around the world, with ages ranging from children to senior citizens.

Two OFII employees came into the room with a stack of written exams and began explaining the instructions in French. Luckily my French was good enough to understand the directions because surprisingly when a number of people in the room indicated they didn’t speak French well enough to understand and asked if it was possible to have someone explain in English, we were told there wasn’t anyone available in the office who spoke English. Other people in the room, including myself, proceeded to translate for those who didn’t understand. It is not required that you speak French well to get this visa, so I was quite surprised by this.

The written French language exam is testing for an A1 level of French, which is basics such as reading train tickets, asking for everyday items and being able to understand instructions. One section just asked to copy a paragraph in French, I assume to test we are able to write at all. You have about 30 minutes to complete the test. If you can’t pass it, you must go to mandated (and free) classes organized by the French government.

Now you wait your turn for the oral test and meeting. Bring snacks and a book because it could take hours depending on what order your name is called in.

I was finally called and brought into an office where an OFII counselor asked me questions, asked for my documents, and told me while my written test was perfect, my spoken French sucks. Ego bruised, I somehow muddled through the rest of the meeting in French without crying.

This is when you will sign your integration contract with France (un contrat d’intégration républicaine or CIR) — basically a pledge to try to integrate into French culture. This is a very important document that you will need in order to get your carte de séjour in the future. So make a copy and keep it somewhere safe.

You will also be given information on state-sponsored French courses (if you need it), job hunting resources, info on transferring your drivers license to a French license (NY State doesn’t qualify unfortunately) and health insurance info. You are also required to sign up for two days of mandatory seminars for all-day French civics courses, which can be taken in your native language (thank goodness).

If all goes well, you will be given a stamp on in your passport transforming your Visa Long Sejour into a visa long séjour valant titre de séjour (VLS-TS), and allowing you to travel freely and stay anywhere in the Schengen Area until your visa expiration date.

I left my meeting feeling pretty stressed from the process and promptly cried when I got home, but you really should pat yourself on the back for completing it! Pop open a bottle of champagne because you deserve it.

What next?

Your visa will need to be renewed before its expiration date, and I was told by the OFII officer to contact my local prefecture about an appointment four to five months before my visa expires.

You must have completed your two days of state-mandated French civics courses before you can renew your visa. I took my courses in August, click here for what to expect!

If you’ve been in France for three months, you can also apply for French national health insurance now. See my guide on how to do that.

Did this article help you? Please say thank you by helping to keep the blog going!


115 thoughts on “Here’s What Happens at Your OFII Meeting + Medical Appointment”

  • Thank you for taking the time to write these posts. I am going through the same process now and my convocation is tomorrow. The process can be confusing and stressful and it is great to read a recent account of your experience! I do have one question- my husband is a guide and we are living in Corsica only for the summer. Our permanent address is in Savoie so I am flying back to the continent to make it to my appointment in Grenoble. Do you get to choose the date for your French civics classes or are they assigned for you? We will be in Corsica until mid-October and so I am hoping to postpone the classes until then. Thanks again for your advice!!

    • Hi Sarah! Happy you found it useful! Yes, you are able to choose the dates. They really want you to take the classes within six months after you arrive, and the woman I interviewed with pressured me to take them as soon as possible, but I’m sure you’ll be fine waiting until October. You aren’t required to have the seminars done technically until you go to renew your visa and have to show the letters proving you completed them. I have my second one next weekend and will be posting about it after, if you want a preview. Good luck!

  • I’m going through the same process now, sent my paperwork off to ofii yesterday.

    You mentioned you received a response from them a week later, but how long after was your appointment date set for?

    I have a full time job waiting for me, and the thought of the next few months with just my wife’s income is stressful !

    • I sent my paperwork in early June and my appointments were set for early-mid July. (Will update post to include timing info). So hopefully not too long of a wait for you either. Good luck!

  • Thank you for your article. I thought i was the only one who cried and upset after the ofii convacation day. I was not lucky with the doctor today though. He got upset and yelled at me (of course clever enough to use a low voice). Curious why the people there always have to carry an upset face without a smile and need to be mean with others. There are probably only 3 people who are nice: the welcoming lady at the 2nd floor, the x ray technician and the assistant at the medical. The interviewer at least smiled. My ofii is at Montrouge for those who might be there.

    Also i left ofii this morning, disappointed by thinking that my french is only A1! But after your post, i realized they actually just test up to A1 only.

    • Hi Jeanie, sorry about your experience today. But you are definitely not the only one. Luckily you are done with the immigration office for almost a year now though!

  • Hello Charli,

    Thank you very much for this post I found online while searching for answers to my questions. My husband (which is korean) just finished his medical visit today. We waited nine months for this appointment and the visa is soon expiring.
    Even if I am a french person, no one would simply answer my question there, or even answering the phone, so I hope you don’t mind if I ask more about your experience. Our problem is, you see, that I trusted the OFII when we sent the papers for the medical appointment and though we’d be done after a year right…So I booked and prepared everything for our Wedding in Korea (which is in March…) but now I am a bit afraid the process will take way too long and everything I planned will fail (and my money wasted btw…).
    Do you perhaps remember how long it took after the medical visit to get the second appointment?

    thank you very much for your great help

    • My medical appointment and OFII appointment were scheduled at the same time, for one week apart. I received one notification letter for both appointments. Is the OFII office meeting the one you are waiting on? I am American, so not sure if it is different for Korea, but you will need to have the long-stay visa changed to titre de sejour in order to leave without risking problems when you return. If you haven’t already, I would call the OFII office and ask why your appointments weren’t scheduled close to each other. Perhaps they can give you information on how backed up the process is. I’m sorry you’ve had to wait so long, I’m sure that is stressful.

  • Thank you for sharing your information! This whole process is very frustrating as I cannot get direct answers from any French agency! I have kind of a unique situation and maybe you can help me with some questions. My husband has dual citizenship with France and U.S. I had an almost identical experience as yours in the process of getting my long term visa. We pla.n to live in France for 4 months and the US for the rest of the year. We are both retired. Here is my dilemma:

    – I am currently in US, planning to return to France in late June/early July.
    – My visa expires May 25, 2018.
    – I have not yet completed the two required Module classes
    – I need to apply for visa renewal in Feb or March.

    Should I set up appointments for classes and visa renewal in March and make a special trip? If I do that, can I go back to US and then pick up my carte de sejour in June? Have you ever heard of a Spouse Visa?

    Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated!


    • Hi Christy— the “spouse visa” is the “vie privée” visa, which is the same one I am on and allows you to live and work in the EU. It may be easier/cheaper for you to stay in the US and just try to get another long stay visa (if that is possible), and redo the OFII medical/meeting process (you already did that or no?). Otherwise you do need to have your two modules completed before you can renew your titre de sejour. Also you should call ASAP about getting a renewal appointment if you want to try to get one in March because it often takes several months to get an appointment. The OFII office recommends calling the prefecture 4-5 months before your visa expires. It is difficult to navigate all these appointments when you aren’t in the country unfortunately. Do let us know what works out for you.

      • Ok, now I’m wondering if it makes more sense for me to come to France earlier to take care of all of this, maybe the end of April. Do you think it’s possible for me to call now and arrange for the Module classes in April, and also call now to get an appointment with the prefecture in early May? And do you know if I can renew at the sous-prefecture in Arcachon as opposed to the prefecture in Bordeaux? Would it be easier because it’s in a smaller city? It would be closer for me as well. I appreciate all of your input!

        • Try giving the prefecture a call. When I called my appointment in Paris was scheduled for 5 months later, but it depends how busy it is where you are registered. I believe you have to go to the prefecture assigned to your address.

  • Hi,
    So I am Australian married to a Frenchman and we live in australia. we are about to spend 5.5 months in europe starting and ending in france but driving around the med in the meantime. we will arrive in april.
    therefore i have applied for the longstay visa beforehand. i actually need to fly to the otherside of the country to obtain it so its already costing quite a bit, once i arrive in France we have allocated approximately 3 weeks to visit with his mum and dad and buy a van before heading to corsica and then onto italy and greece etc.
    i know that provided i put the OFii form in on arrival and get the receipt of acceptance form the forms i can travel into and out of France, and go beyond the 90 day shengden rule.
    i am wondering…..
    1) how long would they let me delay the meeting at ofii if it hasnt come before we head to corsica? we wont be back in France until august.
    2) if i didnt complete the remainder of the appointments before returning to australia would that jepeordise any future applications for long stay?
    3) do you think ill still need to pay a 250 euro fee?? my stay in france is less than 6 months so its quite high when you consider getting the long stay will cost me nearly $1000 by flying to sydney.
    4) if i did do everything correctly, would i be able to renew it from outside France? so we could return the next year i wonder…

    sorry i realise you arent a visa expert just curious of yours or others opinions/experiences.

    • Hi Holly, let me answer the best I can.
      1) You can reschedule the OFII appointments but when it gets pushed to depends on the backlog. When you call to reschedule, they give you options, but it could be weeks or months because you go to the back of the line again.
      2) I don’t believe it jeopardizes future applications, but you do have to start from the beginning.
      3) Yup, everyone has to pay the fee. They make sure you have it before they even let you in the appointment.
      4) No, you have to renew in France at your local prefecture. You need to do it before your titre de sejour expires and that turns your visa into a carte de sejour.
      I’m not an immigration lawyer so do check all this info!

      • Hi, i know an american who received. Her carte sejour and went to 3 integration meetings, that are obligatory, and while there she was told a 4th meeting will take place and they will send her that convocation in the mail yet never did. ,when she called the office no one knew about it, and another person from her group told her that they did the same thing to someone he knows for political reasons such as this person was south asian..

        What i find interesting is what they talk about in these meetings, they explain everything about france from politics to religion yet when it comes to questions to do with legal proceedings no one knows who is privileged with impunity or who will get what punishment per crime, my freind got grilled for asking questions during these meetings and later told that french culture is a combined brotherhood with a catholic mentality , the indian man who kept in touch with my fried told us that there are state employees who attend these meetings posing as immigrants and they sometimes are trying to carry conformity, to coerce immigrants from thinking about having their children Circumcised, from marrying civilly to a french in france, most married outside the country first, very strange as it appeared to be catholics also from the usa behind this..

    • You don’t need photos for the OFII meetings — they give you a stamp in your passport next to your Visa Long Sejour (which includes your photo already), not a new visa. I know this is the case for the spouse/vie privee visa, but if your meeting is for any other visa check the paper they sent you.

      • Ok, awesome! It doesn’t say in the letter they sent me, but it does in their website so I was confused, and in the instructions attached to the OFII form. Mine is spouse/vie privee as well, Thank you!

        • I didn’t need one, but it is always possible they changed it in the last 6 months…perhaps bring one in case then — they are easy to get in the metro station booths and you will use them eventually.

  • Thank you for this blog post. I’m in France on a visa vie privée et familiale— like yours, my spouse is French. The OFII office in Dijon agreed to postpone my convocation for just after I give birth, because my husband and I were too worried about the tuberculosis x-ray during pregnancy. So here’s my question:

    Can you bring a baby to OFII? I’ll have a 3-4 week nursing infant in tow. I’m hoping my husband can just keep him in the waiting room while I take the language exam so I can still feed him every 90 minutes – 2 hours like infants need. Did you see any babies there?


    • Hi Victoria, there were a couple of children at the OFII office when I was there, but there is no way for me to know whether they were there with their parents for paperwork/immigration purposes or just tagging along. I don’t believe your spouse will be allowed in the OFII office without an appointment, I tried to bring my husband and he was turned away at the door. Perhaps they make an exceptions for children though, I’m sure there have been many people in your position and France tends to be child-friendly — I would give them a call and ask!

    • Hmmm I was wondering myself about the x-ray since I’m 7 months pregnant and my convocation is at the end of the month. We’re also planning to leave for the states just after the birth so that my parents can see the baby… which would probably make delaying the OFII appointment quite complicated. Do you think they’d agree to just not do the x-ray and continue with the appointment?

      • Hi Emily — I have read that the x-ray is still required if you are pregnant. They put a protective lead apron over your stomach during the chest x-ray in this case.

  • Hi! Thanks for the information article and help to mentally prepare. I’m needing to change my second appointment and having no luck via the telephone number and the letter doesn’t give any instructions on how to change. Just wondering if you know any tricks? Thanks!

    • Hi Melanie, I believe we called the OFII office where I was supposed to have the meeting directly to ask about changing. It is never simple with French bureaucracy!

  • Bonjour Charli, thank you for the information and your article. I have a different problem with OFII issue. My first 3 month window is about to end by next week. My visa is ‘salarie’ remarks because I work here. Until now I still not receive any mail even the receipt confirming my file have received “Attestation de dépot de dossier”. I have mailed the “Demande d’attestation OFII” form using “recommandé avec accusé de réception” and was received by OFII Nantes early Février 2018. I have no idea how and where to check my file is really receive by OFII or not. Everyday i was email to OFII Nantes with no response. OFII phone number from google is not helpfull, Can’t talk to OFII officer. Pity me.

  • Bonjour,

    As of right now, I currently hold a visitor visa in France and planning to switch to a student visa as I got accepted into a school here in Paris. ’m currently still in France and have an appointment here in Paris at the OFII in the 11th. My wife and I are US citizens but she has a student visa here right now. During my appointment or when I hear back is it possible to switch my visitor visa into a student visa while in Paris?

    . I booked the appointment back in the States if I’m unable to proceed the process in France.

    • Hi Steven, I don’t have experience with student visas in France, but I wouldn’t count on being able to change it at your OFII appointment. It is a very set system with everyone going through the same steps.

      Perhaps another reader has experience with student visas and can chime in.

  • Hello Charli,

    I believe not all “visiteur” visa applicants are required to have an interview and written/oral exam.

    By any chance, did your convocation bring the “visite d’accueil individuelle” box checked?

    Many thanks for your help,


    • Hi Alejandro, it depends what the purpose of your stay is. The visa information on this site and my experience for was the family/spouse visa (visa vie privée et familiale in French). Is that the one you are on? It also depends if you are from an EU country or not.

  • First, thank you for all the work you put forth documenting this all. It’s A completely ambiguous procedure when searching elsewhere online! I am an American citizen living in Peru but will be marrying my boyfriend, a French citizen, in the coming months. Reading your process and suggestions have been SO helpful for me (and clearly so many others). We will be married in France but I’ll be living between there and Peru for at least a year or so. What I now know is that I’ll apply at the embassy here for my long stay familial visa and then the next time I’m in France, which will be in November, I’ll start the process to switch it to the titre de séjour. My time in Paris during that time is just for 90 days (it could be extended if need be by max a few weeks). Is this long enough to finish everything… assuming I hit the ground running with paperwork? Am I allowed to leave the country and EU and push back a couple appointments in the worst case that they are really slow, and thus finish upon my return a couple months later? Here, in peru, once a residency process has started you can’t leave the country unless you have special permission and it is only for 30 days- so I wasn’t sure if there is a similar rule to that there (although I would already have my vie privée). Side question, once you have either of these visas, are there restrictions to how many days you have to be in France in order for it to remain valid? Or are you free to come and go as you please?

    Thanks again for all the information and your time!

    • Hi Kelly! Happy to hear this has been helpful to you.

      As far as timing…you can most likely get your OFII and Medical visits done in that time frame, and then there would be no problem with leaving and coming back to the EU. It may take longer to get the appointments and complete your required civics modules which they really want you to take within six months. Also if you can’t pass the basic language exam you will be required to take government provided classes in France. You can reschedule the meetings, but it is based on the availability of office, not on your schedule.

      I’m not sure about an exact number of days you can leave the country. I was not informed of any specific regulation during the process, though the idea of the visa is that you will be staying in France. When you renew your visa at year one for the Carte de Sejour, they ask for A LOT of documents and paperwork that may be hard to get together if you aren’t living full time in the country, so keep that in mind.

      On a tourist visa you can come for 90 days out of every 180 days. If that is enough for your plans and you aren’t sure exactly when you will be relocating to France full time, perhaps put off applying for the VLS and just come on the tourist visa. The main differences are the work privileges, and the ability to apply for a Carte Vitale after three months in the country– but if you are just coming for school or life for 90 days, the VLS isn’t needed. Depends on your situation, I did this once myself and just came for 90 days on a tourist visa before moving here full time.

      • Thanks so much for this! I was thinking after going over it in my head that it would be easier to just apply for the long stay visa for now and when I know I will be living there more full time, switch it to the titre de séjour. I just want to be able to stay more than the 90 days in a 180 day period to be with my partner if I can maneuver that time with my business in Peru. My other question is regarding applying for the Long séjour familial visa. Is that mandatory to apply for that out of France? I was looking at the information on the French embassy’s site here in Peru and it says I will need: proof of my husband’s citizenship (is this just a photocopy of his passport or does it have to be an official document?) and a copy of our wedding certificate and book. (Do you know how long it takes to request a copy of this in France and would I just request it from the mairie where we get married? And can I just bring the family book after our marriage with me to show them in Peru or do I need an official copy of that as well?) Sorry for all the questions. I appreciate your time and energy!



        • Hi Kelly, I believe you must apply for the VLS in your native country or country of residency. I have guide to the VLS as well here: — We applied for our book (livret de famille) through the consulate in NYC, not in France, so I’m not sure how long it takes to get one in France. You do need to bring the book to your appointment, as well as a copy of the info pages for them to keep. The link above has a detailed list on what to bring.

  • Thanks a million for your blog! Definitely helped my anxiety before my appointment, but for anyone reading this that is getting is done in Nice, mine was definitely a bit different.

    To answer the above question, we were able to move my OFII appointment since my in-laws wanted someone to go with me for reasons explained with my paragraph below. It was no big deal and they just sent out another set of paperwork via mail with the new convocation. From what I understood, there is general flexibility as long as it still falls within the guidelines of 3 months for the initial OFII appointment, and 6 months for the Formation Civique classes.

    First and foremost, the neighborhood that these appointments took place in is NOT a good one, to the point that my father-in-law came with me since my husband was still back in the US. It was the portion of the city where you really don’t want to be caught after the sun sets. Just something to be aware of as I was told it is somewhat standard of a setting, and something I am a little weary of before my Formation Civique classes in a couple weeks as those will go on later into the day.

    The x-ray was at a different office than where the medical and language/admin tests took place. I was called in 2nd for my x-ray after easily being one of the last to arrive so I don’t believe it was based on arrival as they were closed before our scheduled time so everyone was waiting outside. There was no closet to change into, so I would recommend wearing a sports bra or wireless, as I was told if your bra doesn’t have wire then there is no need to remove anything (I just did the old bra off through the sleeve trick and put it back on later). It took all of 1 minute, no exaggeration, and I was immediately handed my folder with x-ray inside.

    We then had to walk about .5 km to the next building where the medical, language, and admin portion were. They didn’t open for another 20 minutes so come prepared. As with your experience, the security guard asking for the convocation spoke the most English, however for the two people in the classroom (out of only 10 of us) that did not speak or understand French, they were actually allowed to have their companion come into the room with them to translate until they were asked to leave before the test was handed out.

    The language test was very simple if you have a basic understanding so that was a relief but we did only have a strict 20 minutes. First portion was matching phrases to signs such as ‘Exit’ or ‘Fire Extinguisher’. There were a couple of letters/emails that we had to read and answer multiple choice questions to which were easy enough. Second to last was a photo of a car of people asking us to write a brief paragraph making up a story about what they were doing. Last but not least was a letter to a friend, essentially a postcard. Easy enough, but certainly need to know basic conversational French.

    I saw two separate doctors (after being the last called back and waiting close to an hour in the classroom). The first doctor went over the basics (only asked for height and weight, didn’t take it, nor did she take blood pressure) and actually handed me an iPad-eqsue tablet that was translated to English for most of the health questionnaire. I then consented to the blood finger prick tests which took all of 5 minutes, and was trusted when asked about my vaccines as I forgot my paperwork for them. Second doctor asked more basic questions such as pregnancy, and did the eye exam. Both were incredibly kind.

    The oral test was also combined with the review of my paperwork. Confirming all of my information of where I lived, what I was doing there, how long had we been married, was I intending to study French, etc. I was then signed up for the Formation Civique which I will take the middle of this month. She was also very kind, we cracked some jokes, and she sent me on my VERY merry way after about 4 hours of just being in that office so in all, I would plan on 5-6 hours to be safe!

    • Wow! Thank you for sharing all this detail. I’m sure will be helpful for readers undergoing the process in the South. I will add a note in the post that this info is in the comments.

      • Thank you Charli and Dani! This blog has answered so many of my questions in my whole visa process. And I happen to live in Nice with my medical/ofii visit coming up at the end of the month, so knowing what to expect makes me feel at ease.
        I do have one question, and maybe it’s been answered but somehow I missed; but how long after the visit am I allowed to start working? I am an American citizen married here in Nice to a French citizen. My husband and I live here in Nice and Iam here on visa “vie privee et fam” with a mention “autorise travail”
        Thanks again and good luck to you all!

  • Hi again! Thanks so much for writing these blog posts, as they’re really helping me figure things out faster than I would have otherwise! Just wanted to update you on what might be a new development in the OFII visits. I sent in my form in late May and about a week later received my convocation via email! When I was previously in France on student visas, this process was only done via snail mail and took FOREVER. It was so nice to receive the emails so quickly, especially since the dates were ones I couldn’t do. I was able to call and within a week have new dates that suited me (and that were only about two weeks later than the original dates.

    My visite médicale is on Friday and the visite d’accueil is Monday — fingers crossed it all goes well!

  • Also, just to add more information about how my meeting went so your guide is more complete: at my visite d’accueil, they said they messed up my vignette and so now I will receive another convocation telling me when I can come back again to have them put the sticker in my passport. They put the wrong number on it, apparently. Very annoying, but in case this happens to anyone else, they told me to keep my “contrat d’intégration républicaine” in my passport until I have the vignette to prove that I’ve done all the OFII formalities. Technically you’re not supposed to be traveling outside of the Schengen Zone until you have the vignette, according to what I was told.

  • This just made my day!! I have my appointment this week and have been in the natural panic with dealing with the admin. One thing, I never received an appointment for the medical, just the OFII exam appointment. Have you heard of this? I am a bit worried… THANK YOU so much for posting your experience, it helps calms the nerves 😉

    • Louisa, I would call and check about the medical appointment because you are supposed to attend that one first. I don’t know your exact immigration situation, but I haven’t heard of only having to do one. It is possible to do the medical appointment after, but you have to return to the OFII office to get your final stamp. Good luck and happy that my blog helped ease your nerves!

  • Dear Charlie: Caught your blog several months ago and it was a source of great relief for my wife and I. We arrived in France May 1 2018 and got our paperwork off to OFII in Montpellier a couple of weeks later. Quickly got a one page letter back saying we were in the system. Then waited and waited. Didn’t panic bcause August arrived and very little gets done in France in August. Last day of August (almost 4 months later) got our appointment letter. Two appointments in Montpellier; one for an X-Ray and one for our medical and administrative interview. Because we are both 65+, there was no language requirement. Maybe because of our age, we did not have to go through a France history/culture class. X-Ray was straightforward because we were in the system at the office; took less than 30 minutes. The medical and interview at a nearby office could not have been more pleasant. Medical consisted of questions height, weight, vision test plus a couple of questions about medications. No questions on medical history (although were were prepared), immunizations etc. Only problem was that we had purchased our 250 euro stamps at a tabac and received the wrong one even though we showed the tabac the OFII letter and what was required. Ten seconds of panic then our interviewer said no problem (in French) and she would take us by the hand to a nearby tabac to get the correct stamps; we love living in a more rural area of France; people are unbelievably pleasant, nice and helpful. Make sure you get the “visiteur” stamp. On our return to her office, we were done in less than 5 minutes. OFII sticker in our passports after lots of wasted anxiety. She filled us in on renewing our visa next year and gave us a copy of our medical certification for our prefecture in Carcassonne for the renewal. Whole time involved (X-Ray, walk to the second office, interview, replace stamps etc.) was less than 3 hours. Paperwork required: OFII letter, passport, 2×2 picture for their files, stamp, top sheet of our apartment lease to verify address, Easy peasy. Thanks for the blog and good luck to all.

    • Hi Fred, thanks for sharing your experience and I’m happy my blog could help you! Sounds like in rural France they are a little more hands-on than here in Paris, where the volume of people makes that kind of service impossible. Best of luck with your immigration journey, -Charli

  • Thank you so much for your detail and for sharing, period. I’ve used your guide as my primary information source.
    Question for you and for other vie privée et familial people: When the OFII turned your visa into a titre de long séjour, did the original expiration date of your visa remain the expiration date of your titre long sejour ? Or does the titre expire, rather, one year from the day it’s stamped?

    To give others a sense of my timing : I sent in my OFII form September 5 and, after my wife called weekly, we finally found out today that I’ll have at least the medical at the end of October. I imagine the letter is in the mail… This is via Préfecture de Bobigny since we live in the 93rd département, we have though the medical exam is in Montrouge.

    • No, the expiration date remains the same — so the one on your original VLS is when you need to renew by. The OFII stamp just proves you are in France and complying with all the requirements of your visa. Good luck!

  • Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing your experience – I really enjoyed reading it. As for my case, I sent my OFII docs when I arrived here in early July – I received a confirmation letter within 2 weeks and now its been more than 3 months and haven’t heard anything! (tried calling but no one picks up the phone in Orleans). I guess I just have to wait (fyi I am married to French and have a long stay(1 yr visa). Now, my main worry is can I leave France without having gotten OFII stamp on my passport – I really have to travel in Asia in January? I am not sure if they will call me before Jan (if they do it’ll be great!)
    Any thoughts!

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Anita — a lot of people saying the system is taking longer than usual right now. I believe it has something to do with Brexit approaching and many Brits in France trying to get status before that happens. Technically you shouldn’t leave before you have your stamp, though right now with so many people in the same boat I doubt it would be a problem. I would try to get a récipissé or some sort of paperwork from the OFII saying your application or meeting is pending so that you can prove you are in the process of getting the stamp, just to be safe. Good luck!

  • Thanks for this blog post. Super helpful in every way!
    I arrived in France late October, sent in the stamped OFII form immediately, but I haven’t received any confirmation yet, which is making me anxious. My husband and I are taking out honeymoon to South America from Christmas until early January, so I need to work on getting my visa for South America, and the radio silence from OFII is making me super nervous. Darn that Brexit making everything slower!

    • UPDATE!
      Just got my convocation email. It took about 3 weeks for them, and my appointments are scheduled for two weeks from now, back to back on 3 Dec for medical and 4 Dec for the visite d’accueil! PHEW!

  • Hi Charli,

    thank you so much for your helpful and detail description about the OFFI meeting and medical appointment. My friend came to France for 6 months now, but right first 3 months, she did not know that she had to register at the OFFI and so until now (for 6 months), she did not have any OFFI meeting or medical appointment. Did you experience any cases like this? What should she do now? I hope to receive the advice from you. Thank you a lot for your great help.

    • She should reach out to OFII as soon as possible to try to set up an appointment. Of course others have lost their paperwork or forgotten about making an appointment, but it is very important they request these appointments soon considering how backed up the system is now. These meetings and the civics courses have to be done before they can submit the paperwork to renew their visa.

  • Hello Charli,
    Thank you very much for your helpful blog and thoughtful replies. I am currently in the Unites States, awaiting the arrival of the French documentation of our marriage certificate (you were right, that takes a while), and will soon be applying for a VLS. My husband is French and I do not have a job yet in France. Do you know if I need to purchase special health care coverage of some kind to apply for the VLS?

    • It is not required to have French health insurance coverage when you apply for the VLS. I didn’t. After three months living in France (unless you are working earlier) you will be able to apply for the French national health insurance coverage (securite sociale) — I have a post about applying for that as well once you are ready!

  • I have just obtained a 1 year multiple entry visa to France as a visitor effective December 1,2018 and ending December 1,2019. I go to France on January 8,2019 and will mail the OFII forms etc. to the Marseille office as I will be living in Provence. I must return to the US in late January and return to France on February 26. I have a flight to Rome on March 6, 2019 returning to France on March 19,2019. I am worried that my Vignette will not be finished by March 6 and I will not be permitted to re-enter France after 90 days. How can I request that my medical examination and written/oral tests be given to me between February 26 and March 5,2019, which should solve the problem?

    • Hi Ridge— If you call and explain your situation perhaps they can find an earlier date or one in between those dates, but because they expect you to be in France when you have the visa there is no guarantee.

  • Hello, Charli

    I arrived here in September and it took me a while to find a place to live, so I applied for the OFII one month after I arrived, so October, and only last week I received a letter with my rendez vous for February! I had plans for Christmas to go Belgium and all I have is the letter with my OFII appointment. Do you think it’s possible to leave the country and come back 3 days after without a titre de sejour? I never traveled around Europe, do they do passport control on the borders if I travel by train or bus? Thanks for your posts, it’s been really hard finding the information online.

    • Hi there Susi, if I remember correctly I was there for a little under three hours. Everyone’s timing will be different depending where they have you in line— I was in the middle of the group.

  • Hi Charli!
    I salute you for providing this information and guiding us to french system. Thank you! for all the effort giving us the light to the right path. Anyhow, I came across to your blog since i am looking answers to my situation. I got here last Nov 15 and send directly my documents to ofii 5 days after my arrival. until now, I have not received any news or convocation or any RDV in regards to my papers. Tried calling but phone number is useless, also sent email still no response. A bit worried as my situation and if they have received my documents . It seems to be longer than most of the people on your comment section. do you have any idea to what should I do? Thank you and all the best!

    • I have heard the delay has been more than usual these past six months or so (also depends which part of France you are applying to) and I doubt much happened at the offices over the holidays. I would try to email/call again this coming week. Try to call your local office, not the national number — I had better luck with that — though you will need to hunt down the number online. You won’t receive anything until they send you the meeting notice, they dont let you know if they received your documents so the only way to check is to contact the offices unfortunately.

      • Hi Charlie,

        Great thanks on your response. I was able to reach them through phone and follow up on my RdV. Luckily it went well and now preparing for the big Day in ofii. Anyhow I just want to ask more questions about meeting with the officer. Do they asks you about France and history in general? Or anything that involves recent eventsin France? Mostly major events. Please en
        Lighten me if possible you got the idea what else I need to prepare for this day, I know everything is already in your blog but would like to get detailed information. Thank you very much.

        • For me, there wasn’t any kind of “test” questions about France. We talked just about setting up the next appointments, my integration process, how my language was coming along, etc. That kind of test is only for the citizenship applicants I believe.
          Good luck!
          *If you’d like to say thanks, buy me a coffee to help with web fees:

  • Great information, thanks! I’m just sending in my OFII form, preparing for the visit ahead. I see stamps online are 86 euro, which is substantially cheaper than 250. Am I looking at the right page? And should I come with cash in hand, or a receipt that I’ve paid online. I don’t want to pay twice! Thanks

    • Hi the timbres are sort of like a money order or certified check — to be used instead of cash so the office doesn’t have to deal with cash payments. You need to be sure you purchase the correct monetary value that your visa service costs. So there is no “cheaper” option.

  • Hi Charli! Thanks for posting each of your blog posts — it’s helped me tons already as I prepare for my move to Paris. I am an American married to a French citizen (married in France though).
    My questions for you are about the language courses and ability to work.
    1) Upon arrival in France (on VLS) I already have a full time job with a French company waiting for me, but I am curious if I will be able to work with them right away or if I need to wait to go through the O.F.I.I. process (including language courses)?
    2) My language level currently is about A2, maybe B1, so I will potentially be assigned language courses. If assigned, will I need to complete those language courses before getting a titre de séjour? I realize you passed the courses (congrats! I can only hope I have a similar experience) but was hoping you could provide any additional insight.

    Thank you again!

    • Hi Shay, you can work immediately and if you are a B-level in French you will be fine with the test— it is very basic, more like an A1 level. The interview portion will be harder for you, but I was at about the same level as you at the time and was fine. Good luck!

      • Hi Charli/Shay

        I am moving an American (also coming from NYC!) moving to Bordeaux with my french husband in 2020. Shay mentions already having a full time job w a French company and you’re saying she can work immediately.
        Would I be able to start looking for a job and working once I arrive, or do I need to apply for a work permit after the OFII? Like in the need the temp work permit after green card paperwork etc and that takes time.
        I’d like to start working ASAP even if it’s just bartending/serving etc but want to better understand what an employer is looking for. Thanks so much for the help!

        • Hi Victoria, if you are coming on the same visa I did (vie privée et familiale) you can work as soon as you have your visa (the work permit number is printed on it). And unlike the Green Card, the visa vie privée et familiale is ready in just a couple of weeks. The French Government very much pushes working as part of the integration process.

  • Thanks a million for sharing!! very helpful information to me! OFII should have a proper guide like that!
    I’m sure I wouldn’t get A1, I am wondering if you happen to know some information on…
    1) Can I postpone the mandatory French course? If so, do I must complete that before Visa renewal?
    2) Can I skip their course, but show an A1 certificate before renew my Visa?

    • Hi Teemo — they give you options for when to start but yes, you have to do it before your renewal. They will only accept national government issued language certificates (or from French Universities). I tried to show mine from private schools and the Paris Mairie but they didn’t care. Best bet is to try to pass the A1 test if you can.

  • This has been super helpful thank you so much!
    Seeing as everyone has been asking questions they can’t find answers to online, I thought I’d ask here seeing as you are very helpful.

    Again, like everyone, my situation is unique. So I came here (Paris) in May of 2018 with a CDD (vacances-travail) which lasts for 1 year. I then got a job in September 2018 with a CDD contract. However, my company wants to give me a CDI contract when my “current visa” finishes i.e May 2019. My problem is that I went to the Prefecture way before I started working, explaining this situation incase it arrises and unfortunately, they couldn’t help and told me to go to OFFI. Thing is, when coming into France, I was not told by the French embassy (from New Zealand) that I needed to do all this paper work the first 3 months that I arrive in France. Additionally, I arrived by train via Italy at the time so I don’t even have a stamp on my visa that’s on my passport of when I “entered” the country. Luckily, I have been travelling in an out of France since then and I haven’t seem to have had any problems. So, I’m trying to currently change my visa status to a “working visa”.

    Is there an OFFI office that you may know that I can talk to? Reading your blog you said there was no point going if you didn’t have a meeting for that day. Additionally, any information that could help me transit from this temporary working holiday visa to another?
    Also, I’m afraid it might be too late now if I send my Demande d’attestation OFFI – because May is already 3 months away. By then I would have needed to do all this and then apply for a visa swap at the prefecture. I have also done a medical check when I started working for my company, so already that cuts out the need to do one with the Medical Office in Montrogue right?

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions and help!

    • Hi there — you have to contact the OFII office for the city/department you live in. Here is the list with all the locations and phone numbers: You’ll probably want to contact your prefecture as well.

      I would highly recommend contacting your company HR — usually companies will help and get involved with the process of changing your visa.

      Good luck!
      *If you’d like to say thanks, buy me a coffee to help with web fees:

    • Same thing for me! I sent my documents by mail to the Paris OFII office and they just returned them to me with a letter indicating the same website (

      You fill all the information there and pay the tax (€250) and it’s all done. They say they will contact you in the future for signing the Contrat D’integration Républicaine. And yes, they allow you to choose the language of the interview.

      And as everyone: Thank you Charli! The blog has been extremely useful in this process.

      • When I went to validate my Visa Long Sejour on this website the website says it’s “inconnu”. I’ve tried contacting the Conuslate in Washington and the Prefecture here in Lyon and am about to try VFS Global. Has this happened to anyone else? Any idea who else I can contact about this issue?

  • I never did paperwork for the OFII. I just got a letter in the mail saying report to get and sign for my Contrat d’Accueil et d’Integration. I did and signed the contract. My husband insisted on going with me. After signing the contract the lady we talked to said since I was retired and had no intention of working she issued me the certificate for Bilan de Compétences Professionnells and since already had my other government cards, thanks to my husband going to CPAM and the Prefecturde with me to get my cards issued, we went for my medical which took no time at all. I only needed to attend the Formation Civique. She felt that my French need to improve so asked if I would take the Linguistique studies offered which I did. Free is free so use it to your advantage. I really liked the Formation Civique. I met very interesting people from many parts of the world with very interesting reasons for wanting to immigrate to France. Again my husband decided to come with me and we had a great time. The lady conducting the class was very straight forward about what was expected of you living in France. I very nice lady from Senegal sat next to us and she knew the system inside out. One thing she told me which my husband had told me already, do not lose anything the government gives you. Get a large file folder or box and keep all. If you lose something it is next to impossible to get another copy. Everyone keeps saying they got an appointment. I have been lucky and never needed an appointment for anything. The only appointment I had was with OFII.

  • Thank you for your great posts! I have found them to be really helpful.

    We are a Canadian family of 4 with a visitor visa granted for 7 months, even though we only requested 6 months. Our visa states that we will not work or depend on French resources. We have already purchased our return airline tickets, and we have no intention of staying in France longer than 6 months. I was hoping someone could comment on his or her OFII experience from the perspective of a visitor who will not renew his or her visa. We applied online to validate our visas with the OFII, a very easy process, actually, and we even purchased our stamp tax online. Admittedly, I’m rather worried about the French language test for my husband who does not speak French, although my children and I do speak basic French. I have vaccination records for my children, but my husband and I never received these records from our parents, and I cannot contact our childhood physicians as they are long retired – or dead. Will they take our word at the medical appointment that we have had all our childhood vaccinations as nearly every Canadian child born before 1975 did? (In the current climate, one can’t assume children are vaccinated as a matter of course now, but this was not the case when my husband and were born.)

    If we weren’t leaving France for the entire 6 months, I might have been tempted not to bother with the OFII, but we are going to Spain after the 3-month mark.

    I’d appreciate any comments or feedback!

    • I was under the impression the OFII process is only for people who intend to be residents longer than a year. The OFII sent you something saying you need to go to these meetings?

      • Oh, I hope you are correct! The appointments seem like such a hassle for only staying 6 months in France. 🙂 We haven’t yet received a response from the OFII after we applied online, but is has only been a few days. I’ll comment again once I hear back. Merci beaucoup!

  • Hey Charli!

    I went through this process earlier this year and just thought I’d share one potentially new aspect. I arrived in Paris November 15 with my visa and mailed everything off a few days later. I received an email with the necessary documents and instructions about 3 weeks later for my two appointments January 2 and 4 of this year. About a week or so later, I also received a letter in the mail from O.F.I.I. with the same paperwork and instructions.

    The one adjustment is that they ask for a photo now. The kind you would make for your passport or visa. It is listed as a requirement on the documents they send but figured I would share on here as well.

    I honestly feel really lucky to be doing this after you have gone through the process and felt it was important to specifically share the steps of your experience. Because of your blog, I think I have been saved a lot of confusion and error (although the process is still rather anxiety inducing) I have heard and read many complaints about a fruitless process and how complicated and difficult it is. I know not everyone has a “smooth” immigration experience and I feel I owe you all the thanks for mine.

  • Just wondering if anyone knows of the OFII process is different for the Passeport Talent visa category? Also, what exactly does the law require for language skills?
    And, when you say that with a LS-TS, you are allowed to travel freely and stay anywhere in the Schengen Area until your visa expiration date, aren’t you still subject to the 90/180 rule regardless? Thanks, Kevin

    • Hi Kevin, you aren’t subject to the 90/180 rule if you have a VLS. That is for tourist visas. To renew your visa after one year you do have to prove you live in France so it would be hard to go live in Germany on a VLS-TS and then get it renewed, but you technically can travel as much as you want.

  • That’s good to know that you would need to bring your immunization records with you. That’s good to know so that I don’t show up without them and have to reschedule the appointment. I’ll have to keep that in mind if I decide to get a new visa and stay longer if I decide to move to another country.

  • My wife and I decided, viewing the political situation in the US, to pick up and move to France for good. We flew over for three weeks, bought a house, and went back to arrange the move and go through the visa process. We got our long-term entry visas easily in Washington, DC. Then we were rather cavalier about the rest not understanding that we were supposed to get and appointment with OFII. Once we did, actually after the 3 months were up, those involved were very accommodating. We moved to Bergerac, so our office for the appointment was in Bordeaux. Both the Interview and the medical exams were scheduled for the same day. We thought we had appointments for a particular time, but of course, we found out all the appointments were for the same time, so we should have arrived early. We were actually hampered because the street number in the address given was nowhere in evidence, and we finally figured out that we had to enter at a different address. Since we were among the last to arrive for a 9:00 convocation, we didn’t get seen till about noon for the X-ray. Actually, that part went very well, the technician complimenting me on my French. The second convocation was for the afternoon, and since we had to get some lunch, we did not arrive early. We waited and waited really until closing time and were about the last ones seen. Once received, however, everyone was gracious and our passports were duly updated with titres de sejour in short order.

    Well, that was in January, and our deadline for renewal was July 1. Again, we were careless, my wife thinking we had till January (1/7=7/1) so we didn’t see the urgency until mid June. The next step for renewal was to go to the Prefecture in our department with all the same documents we presented the first time, or whatever was on the list on the Prefecture website. The meeting had to be ind Perigueux, which is about 45 mintues from our house., and earliest appointments we could get were for July 30. In preparation we looked at all the various lists of documents on different sites and concluded that it was enough to bring whatever we brought to the OFII session. In other words, we did not have our financial documents translated into French and we did not have birth certificates, since no one had asked for any of that before.

    On the 20th we drove to Perigueux full of apprehension that we would have to pay 180 Euros each for being late and being sent away for not having all the supposedly required documents. We had appointments for 9:10 and 10:10. We arrived a little early and found the waiting room pretty much empty. The official took my wife right away and then invited me to come in at the same time. As we went through the paperwork, he was a little frustrated because we had not folllowed all the regs, but admittedly did not believe all that was needed. He explained that while Bordeaux did not require translations, we could not rely on a provincial prefecture to understand our social security and pension statements in English. Nevertheless, he let us highlight the figures and explain what was annual qnd what was monthly. As for medical insurance, he accepted our Blue Cross cards as sufficient evidence. The birth certificates were another problem, but his personal opinion was that the requirement was silly when there was an American passport. My wife’s naturalization (she was not born in the US) certificate helped, and for me he just shrugged. In the end, after just an hour, we had our new temporary residence cards and were good to go.

    For the renewal next year we will make our appointments early, get our birth certificates, and have our income documents translated so as not to put the interviewer on the spot.

    Bottom line, the Perigueux experience was exceptionally easy, and the bureaucracy bent over backwards to find a way not to make us come back. Needless to say, we were grateful to the official who was so helpful and again thankful that we had decided to settle in France.

  • Hi can anyone plz help me .i received a convocation for french test only. This month. They didnt send me a medical test appointment. Can anyone plz tell me about this.what actually happen for french spouse medical visit.

  • Hi
    Thanks every one for sharing your experiences it is really helpful thanks a lot ??
    I have 1 qus if any one can guide me please I am from Pakistan and my wife is french national I got 1 year french visa I am in france now we both are planing to visit Uk but I am confused ? do I need a visa or I can travel with her ?
    Thank you

  • I need clarification: I work in France for an American contractor in support of the French military. I travel in and out of the country on a work visa a couple of times a year typically for 1-2 month periods. My company’s consulting firm says that I am required to go through the OFII process to include the medical exam. I have received conflicting answers when inquiring about this. However I did go through the process and got the medical exam last year. I renewed my work visa prior to returning this year and have been advised by our consultants that I must get the medical exam again. Is this the case? Or is my company wasting money on consulting fees. Thanks.

  • Two questions: 1. I’m unclear about the type of visa(s) needed for a retired Canadian (over 65) who wishes to live permanently (and without the need to work). The French government website appears to offer 2 types of long-term visa. Which one applies to me? I don’t need a short-term 3 month visa for my initial visit to line up the housing requirement. I understand I must then return to Canada and apply for the correct long term visa applicable to a retiree.
    2. Upon returning to Canada within the 3 month stay, do I end up waiting several months while paying for a vacant apartment in France? Much of what I read on the web involves the under 65 age group and the issue of employment. Can someone direct me to the visa required for a retiree with no plans to work ? The French government website lists 2 possible visas, but no mention of a retiree category. Merci.

  • Anyone know how long it takes from VLS-TS validation to getting the convocation/appointment notices?

    I did my validation on 14 July, and have heard nothing since then, its close to 2 months. Wonder if they forgot about me…

      • Hello! if it’s any consolation, I validated my visa in January and only got my convocations for last week – almost 10 months later.

        I too was worried and engaged a lawyer to see if she could sort it out for me. It turns out that they were sending my convocations addressed to my HR in my office this year.
        With covid and all im not sure why but I never received my mails (something im getting to the bottom to).
        Thankfully the lawyer had an insider contact that retrieved a final appointment for me which ive managed to complete.

        My advice is to please chase them for these convocations. You never know you might not be receiving them to begin with!
        This is very important if you’d like to apply for a plurianuelle or multi year visa.


  • Hi Charli.

    I have recently entered France on a VLS-TS (Living near Nice) and have done my virtual stamp in my passport and am waiting for the medical exam details to be sent to me. Does anyone know how long this usually takes? Also if I need to leave France for periods of time (Due to work) within my visa length prior to having done the medical will my visa still be valid?

    If for instance I need to go to America for 3 months then return for a while then go to Spain ect.

    From what I have read and understand is the medical needs to be submitted only 3 months before the visa expiry? It doesnt say how soon after entry nor validity to travel without it,

  • Thank you for this informative blog! I’m American, and my husband is French. I FINALLY had my OFII medical exam today after COVID delays. My experience at Montrouge was very similar to what you mentioned above- just less people, masques obligitoire & social distancing in place. If anyone is curious why the chest x-ray, it’s because they’re checking for tuberculosis. Now, they also have an optional HIV/STD screening, and a questionnaire about mental health, domestic and sexual abuse. If you don’t have all the required vaccinations or don’t know if you’ve had certain ones ( in my case TB), they give you location information for a clinic that will give you free vaccinations. I’m happy to have this step completed. All in all, I feel a little bit humbled and sad in regards to what refugees/ asylum seekers may have experienced before arriving in France. Also, I received my apt via email- so check your spam folders!! Good luck with your process

  • Bonjour! Fantastic blog, merci!
    I’m just wondering if you had to do a chest x-ray BEFORE your medical visit?

    Thanks 🙂

      • I was worried about this too! The convocation says to bring any recent x rays, but I didn’t have any so I didn’t bring one. Luckily I had read this post and knew I could get one there. Everyone else in my little cohort brought their own x-rays, but they make everyone get an x-ray anyway…so save yourself the radiation and just get it done once there. You go into a tiny private room that opens to the other side into an x-ray room. You just take off your clothing, jewelry and you have to tie your hair up (bring a hair tie!). They give you a cover. It’s super quick.

        • Thank god. I’ve read that female patients don’t get coverings for certain appointments (not something I’d ever tolerate) so I’m glad to read that they let you maintain a shred of dignity like in other developed countries!

  • I found this really helpful! Just to share my experience in case it’s helpful – my husband is French, so I am on a spouse visa. My previous long-stay visa had actually expired in March during the lockdown, so I was able to stay with the 6-month extension period. I flew back to the US during the summer to get my spouse visa and it was a relatively easy and fast process. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I had my VFS appointment in Boston in July (I took the first available appointment because a lot of these offices were closed) and got my visa back about a week later. Back in France, I did the VLS-TS activation online on September 1, 2020 and received my convocation email with attachments November 9, 2020. I had my medical appointment yesterday November 26. I arrived 15 minutes early. When I arrived there were only two people in line in front of me, and they called us all inside at the same time. They then took all 3 of us back to see the doctor. I saw a few different people (vision test, weight/height, x ray, meeting with a doctor to review vaccination record and x ray) but it was all efficient. They all spoke fluent English but I tried to do as much of it as I could in French. I heard a British couple doing the entire thing in English. I was there for a total of 1.5 hours. I have my prefecture appointment next week, so I can share another update then. Good luck to all!

  • Just arrived in France July 10th, 2021. Validated my visa at
    The timbre fiscal necessary for my visa visiteur (200 euros) was offered for purchase during the validation process. So I did everything here.
    I was informed I will receive the invitation to OFII appointment later. This has changed a lot since my first VSL in 2012. So much more streamlined and takes away all the guesswork or waiting on French bureaucrats to move their butts.

  • Hey Charli!
    Thank you for this insightful article. So I am planning to enroll for a French course for 8months and then get a job in France. My only concern is I have a lung scar caused dude to covid. I am perfectly healthy and do have a fitness certificate aswell. I just want to make sure it will not be a problem to work in France with a lung scar.
    Please let me know if you have any information about it.
    Merci beaucoup !

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