Bonjour à tous!
and Félicitations to those of you who have obtained your French long stay visa, you’re going to France!!!
Don’t get too excited though, the work is not done just yet. 😉
After receiving your long stay visa, it will be SUPER important to start the steps towards getting your visa validated as soon as you arrive in France.
How to validate your French Long Stay Visa
Your long stay visa will become valid in France only when it has been approved by the OFII (Office Francais de I’immigration et de I’Interegation).
To receive this validation you have to complete the steps listed below.
Here we go again!
In the Fedex envelope you received along with your visa you should’ve also received the form titled “Demande d’attestation OFII” . You must complete the remainder of this page with your date of arrival in France, address in France, telephone number, and the full number of your visa. With this information, the OFII will be able to contact you for the next step of the validation process which is the medical examination/introductory meeting.
Along with the “Demande d’attestation OFII” you will also need to send the following photocopies:
- A copy of all passport pages that have information regarding your identity.
- A copy of the stamp from the French immigration officer showing the date of your arrival in France- or date of Arrival into Europe. (I got my passport stamped in Iceland during my layover).
- A copy of your French long stay visa, located in your passport.
Once you have collected all of these items, they will need to be mailed to the ‘mairie’ office that has authority over your residence in France.
My personal experience with this process went pretty smoothy. It took a little over a month to receive a receipt confirming that the mairie had received my paperwork. For this reason, I strongly recommend that you start the validation process as soon as possible. If your validation from the OFII isn’t complete within the first 3 months in France, there is a chance you will have to submit a new application for a long stay visa at the French consulate or embassy of your country of origin. This would of course require you to return home, and restart the process. We don’t want that to happen now do we!
The benefit of receiving the proof of receipt from the mairie is that you will be able to use this temporary document to prove the legality of your stay in France, while waiting for the complete validation of your visa from the OFFI. This means, you are free to travel in and out of France.
A few weeks after I received my receipt from the OFII I then received my request for a medical examination for an appointment which was scheduled for a week later.
What to bring to the medical examination:
- Your passport
2. A passport size photograph following the appropriate passport photo guidelines.
3. Proof of your residence in France. For example: rent receipt, gas, electric, bill or certificate of stay.
The medical examination was pretty self explanatory, same idea as going into the doctor for a check up with a few personal questions about yourself included at the end (in French).
Before leaving the office I was told to check out with the woman at the front desk, she stamped my medical examination paper with the OFII stamp and made sure to tell me to keep the original copy FOREVER. She also told me that I should keep all originals and copies of anything visa related in a safe place because you never know when you might need them, could even be years from now. Very helpful!
After the medical examination
Shortly after the medical examination, I received another letter from OFII requesting another appointment in order to submit a few more requested documents and pay 250 euros- in the form of stamps.
Stamps are available at any Tabac shop or post office!
The second appointment was pretty short, after submitting the requested documents, (along with an additional proof of residence). I was required to answer a few questions (the woman did not speak english- I did my best) and before I knew it the woman handed me back my passport with my stamped official French long stay- Offi validated visa!
The Visa process in France is no walk in the park.
The difficulties that surround obtaining a French long stay visa will be challenging. Don’t let that discourage you though. Nothing in life comes easy, and that is exactly why this process will make your experience in France that much better. You put in the work to make your dream come true, and best part is… you probably grew from the challenge!
As always, thanks for reading!