When you apply to get a visa to come to France, you’ll have to fill out a document that will be used for declaring your residency once you have arrived.

This document goes to the OFII, the Office Français d’Immigration et d’Intégration.

When you applied for your visa, normally you should have filled out this form, with information about your address in your home country (often your parents’ address), your parents names and birthdates, and the reason you’re going to France.

After your visa is granted, the French consulate will stamp this document and send it back, along with your passport.

DON’T LOSE IT.

You should make a copy and/or scan it to PDF right away when you get it back.

You don’t need the document to enter France, per se, but you will need to send it to your local OFII once you’ve rented an apartment and established residency.

What does the form do?

All the OFII form does is state your name, the number of your visa, and the dates of its validity. When you send it to the OFII, it declares your presence in France and allows them to invite you in for a medical visit. After your medical visit, which decides whether you “meet the sanitary conditions for remaining on the French territory,” OFII will put a yellow sticker in your passport that will act as your first titre de séjour.

What do you need to do?

Once you find an apartment in France, you’ll need to fill out your French address on the form, along with your visa number.

Send it to the address that corresponds to your “département”, which should be listed on the second page of the form. If you don’t know where to send it, look up your département here.

If you live in Paris, you should send the form to Direction Territoriale de l’OFII, 48 rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris.

As with any document you send to the French administration, you should send this form “recommandé avec avis de réception”. This means that you send it registered mail and will get a receipt confirming that the OFII has received your form.

This is important because the OFII gets lots of forms every day, and if they accidentally misplace yours, you can have problems setting up your medical visit and ultimately, with renewing your carte de séjour if you’d like to stay in France.

To do this, go to the post office with the addressed envelope and ask the agent to send it “recommandé avec avis de réception.” He’ll give you a yellow form, and you’ll fill out your name and address in the big box with an X through it. The OFII address will go in the smaller box on the top left-hand corner. Normally, there’s an extra line in the return address box, where you should write “OFII form,” to show what’s inside. This will come in handy if you ever have to prove you sent your paperwork in a timely fashion.

Once you’ve filled it out, ask the post office worker to help you if it’s your first time sending something “recommandé.” You’ll tear off the sticker on the back. There should be a small, rectangular sticker with a tracking number and a barcode, which you’ll stick on the front of the envelope. Then, you’ll stick the yellow form to the back of the envelope.

You’ll have to pay extra for the registered mail service, and you can either pay using the machines (select lettre recommandée and then add the “avis de réception” service) or directly at the desk.

Instead of dropping the letter directly into the mailbox, give it to the postal worker. She’ll stamp both the yellow form and your own carbon receipt, which she’ll give back to you.

Keep the carbon paper receipt until you receive the cardstock proof of delivery a few days later. If you never receive the card back, you’ll have to go to the post office to ask whether or not your letter was delivered, and they’ll look it up using the tracking number on the receipt.

Now that you’ve sent off your paperwork, you should receive a “convocation” to the medical visit within about 6 weeks. Don’t worry if you don’t get anything right away, as many students arrive in France during the months of August through October, and it can take the OFII employees a while to get everyone’s appointments set up.

If it’s been more than 8-10 weeks and you still haven’t heard anything, it may mean that they’ve misplaced your paperwork. In this case, you should bring a copy of your recommandé proof of delivery down to the OFII center, and ask the person at the accueil why you haven’t heard anything yet. If they’re just backed up, don’t worry, but if they indicate that they don’t have you in their system at all, you may have to fill out the paperwork again, or go back with a copy you made.

The next step will be going to the OFII center for the medical visit and getting your first carte de séjour.

For more information:

Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration. 48, rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris. Phone 01 55 28 19 40. <www.ofii.fr>

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