Living In France: The OFII Appointment & Medical

What happens at the OFII Medical Appointment in France

Today marked an important milestone in my French journey – the OFII appointment and medical (French Office of Immigration and Integration).

I’d spent hours worrying about this appointment. Reading the letter from the OFII countless times to make sure I was prepared with all my documentation, and googling the heck out of “what happens at the OFII appointment France” and “OFII medical”.

(If you’re looking for what happens at the follow-up OFII appointment – the “Civic Training” days, read this instead).

I’d be relatively cool about it during the day and then at 1am visions of stern French teachers chastising me for my lack of French language skills would come tumbling into my head, robbing me of sleep.

So what actually happens at the OFII appointment? Did they really need my entire life’s medical history and vaccination records? I’m writing out my experience as it really calmed my nerves to read other accounts of the process in the lead-up to the big day. One theme really stood out as I did so – no two experiences are the same. Whether it’s the type of visa you are entering on, or the office you go to – I’m not sure why everyone’s experience is so different. This is mine.

The OFII Appointment Process (as it was for me)

I’ll start by saying my visa is a ‘Long stay visa for Spouses of a French National’. However, the OFII process seems to be similar regardless of visa type.

My appointment was scheduled for 1.30pm at the OFII in Bordeaux. I’d read that they schedule appointments half an hour before the office actually opens. This would make sense as most offices in France close for lunch between 12-2pm. I had time up my sleeve, so I walked past the office at 1.15pm and sure enough the doors were firmly shut. A line of people had begun to queue on the other side of the road, seeking respite from the midday sun. I continued walking but as there wasn’t much to do in the immediate vicinity I decided to head back to the office and wait for my spot. As I approached the building I was surprised to see it open, with only the tail of the queue was peeking out of the door. Just as well I hadn’t stayed away too much longer!

The security guard on the door checked my appointment letter and directed me to the reception desk. I presented my letter again along with my passport and was then directed (in French) to wait outside a room to my left. As I loitered anxiously the word “Test” at the front of the room struck fear in my heart.

None of the articles/blog posts I’d read had mentioned a test of any kind so this was all new to me. The small room was filled with school chairs – the kind that have little mini desks tucked away under one arm. There were around 12 people already sitting at their desks by the time I was called to the front of the room. A man addressed me in French and I handed over my appointment letter and passport once again. He then asked me something in French, but he could have been speaking in Japanese for all that I understood. I was conscious of being watched and anxious about the test – so I just stood there looking like a stunned mullet until he asked me if I spoke English. This was enough to pull me out of my fog and answer him first in French “Oui”, and then in English when he didn’t understand me – oh the humiliation!

I was finally dismissed to my seat (mercifully there was one I could slink into at the back of the room – save anymore eyeballs on me). And then the test instructions were read out.. Awesome, I’d finally find out what this was all about. Yeah, until I realised they were only reading them in French and translating into Arabic.

Not so awesome.

Oh well, by this time I’d figured out it was probably a French test and with my miserable level of French I was most likely going to fail anyway. I’m not sure instructions were going to make much of a difference!

A bit of background here: Yes, I probably should know a bit more French after living in the country for almost 4 months, and it wasn’t due to lack of willing! I had tried to enrol in classes when I first arrived back in May, but no-one was taking students at the end of the school year (which runs September-June). Private lessons are super expensive, and I’d been told that I’d be given free French lessons after my appointment with the OFII. In the meantime, I’d picked up enough to cover all the pleasantries and ask for a loaf or bread from the bakery – so I should be sweet right? Er, non.

I proceeded to fudge my way through the French test which was entirely written in French. Fair enough you may say. But, as it’s a test for foreigners who are just entering the country a few English instructions wouldn’t have gone amiss. Anyway, by some miracle I understood enough to actually get through it and complete all the answers without feeling like a real douche.

After we’d handed back our tests, we were directed back in to the main waiting area. I waited here until someone eventually called out “Monsieur Nadine Maffre”. Even with my limited French I know I should be a Madame, not a Monsieur. Under the assumption there wasn’t a male Nadine Maffre lurking in that same waiting room (that would be a pretty weird coincidence!), I rose from my seat tentatively. The woman looked confused and apologetic when I made it clear I was indeed Madame Nadine Maffre, not the Monsieur she was expecting.

In the meeting room (and after me apologising that I didn’t understand her French introduction) she ran through my test results. By some miracle I’d managed to pass my written French test! Ok, so I knew my written French/comprehension was way above my spoken language abilities. Nevertheless she seemed astounded that I could pass the test, yet wasn’t able to converse with her in French. Sorry lady, you and me both! In any case, if I’d managed to pass the written and verbal test/interview, I wouldn’t have been offered free French lessons. So in this case, failing to be able to converse was actually in my favour. She explained what would happen next and ushered me to another waiting room.

The OFII Medical

The dreaded OFII medical more accurately.

A nurse called me into a room to take my weight, height, test my eyesight and ask me about my medical history. General questions such as – did I take any medications (nope) and had I undergone any surgery (yup). This part only took 5 or so minutes and then I was escorted to another room where the radiologist was waiting to take my chest x-ray.

I’d read about having to strip down and walk between rooms topless – what no-one mentioned was if anyone was present in these rooms while I was walking around with my kit off. An unfounded fear perhaps – but this is the land of topless sunbathing after-all! Luckily it was just a matter of getting undressed in a cubicle and then walking into the main room to the x-ray machine. No-one was present except the radiologist. As I got dressed again the radiologist asked me why I was in France. She tells me “most people from your part of the world come here to play rugby”. Oh yeah? I wonder idly which rugby players have passed through these rooms…

I go back to the medical waiting room to wait for the doctor this time. When I’m called in, I get asked about my medical history – how many children, any diseases etc. Then comes the vaccination question I’d been dreading. I’d read mixed accounts of how vital this information was, and had only managed to get a copy of my baby book (thanks Mum!) with my first lot of vaccinations recorded. Luckily, she seemed happy enough with my explanation that I’d had all the recommended doses as per the New Zealand vaccination schedule (I’d written these down in advance). She advised me that in France they have booster shots for the DTaP every 20 years – so by that basis I was overdue. She wrote me out a prescription to show my doctor, but also explained that it’s not mandatory.

Finally, I got seen by the original interviewer again who looked over my file and granted me the OFII approval to stay for one year. Thank goodness – it’d be rather unfortunate if I’d just bought a house in a country I couldn’t live in! She explained that next year (I’d have to apply again in 7 months for a May visa expiry) I could apply for a 10-year visa – as I’d been married to my husband for more than 5 years.

Paperwork required for the OFII

The list of all the documents required at the OFII appointment:

  • Passport
  • Passport photo
  • OFII letter of appointment
  • Vaccination records
  • Glasses
  • Proof of address – note that an Orange (phone/internet provider) contract won’t suffice. Luckily I had a backup.
  • A copy of the electronic ‘stamp‘ to prove I’d paid (they don’t handle any money at the office.

 

I also took a bunch of extra stuff just in case but none of it was required. I was asked for a copy of my medical insurance which I didn’t have – but that didn’t seem to be an issue.

Read more – Following this appointment with the OFII I was ordered to attend two “Civic Training” days, the first of which I’ve written about here: OFII Civic Training

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OFII Appointment France. OFII Medical France

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29 Comment

  1. Reply
    Sarah
    November 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Hey! I came across your blog as I am going thorugh a similar process. I have a question regarding the medical appointment – after the visit, did you stop by the front desk to ‘sign out’/did they give you any type of stamp or electronic receipt? The doctor handed me a paper at the end of the visit with herbut I didn’t stop by the desk or anything after so I’m just wondering if I missed a step.

    1. Reply
      Sarah
      November 16, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Also, just to note, somehow I got the appointment for the medical exam well in advance of the actual OFII appointment. Still waiting for news of the OFII office receiving my papers, but I’m guessing I got the medical appointment through some paperwork initiated by my work.

    2. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      November 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Hey Sarah! Oh gosh, yeah from what I know about French administration – there doesn’t seem to be that much consistency between the different departments. Obviously, my experience was a little different as I had my medical on the same day, and in the same building. I would think they’d just hold onto your records and forward them onto the OFII. What was the paper she gave you?

  2. Reply
    Tannika
    September 7, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    I found your blog after a google search of “OFII medical exam” and thank goodness! I will be going through this process soon (in Marseille) and really appreciate your description of the medical exam and the info on the French test. I hadn’t read anywhere else online about a French test! At least I can prepare some and know what to expect. Merci beaucoup!!!

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      September 13, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      Hi Tannika, I was in the same boat when I went for my appointment – I hadn’t read anywhere else about a French test! Maybe it doesn’t happen everywhere – but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be prepared 🙂 Good luck!

  3. Reply
    Emmalyn P.
    December 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    This literally could have been written by me! Just found your blog (I’m American and just married a Frenchman, currently living in Cannes) – do you have a post about the language classes (if you took them)?? That’s next on my list of things I have to do and I’m so nervous!! I have some undiagnosed anxiety which caused me to burst into tears in the middle of them trying to test my French at the OFII office so I don’t have high hopes for the language classes and I’m kind of petrified…Looking for any and all info to help calm my nerves haha!

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      December 4, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Oh gosh – I don’t blame you! The French administration has brought me to tears many times. I was really anxious during my test too. I didn’t actually end up taking the assigned French classes as the hours they wanted me to take them weren’t manageable. I’m now taking private lessons which I find way less daunting than the prospect of group lessons. Sorry, that doesn’t help you much though does it! I did meet one of the teachers of the group lessons at the Civic training day though, and she seemed very approachable and friendly. So they’re probably not as scary as you think 🙂 Good luck!

  4. Reply
    Abdul
    February 18, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Hello, I am an international student residing in Paris and I have my ofii appointment on March 06. But now I am getting medical treatment in Paris because I have a cancer do you think that ofii will not give me the residence sticker because I have medical problems ?? please reply as soon as possible . Thank you in advance.

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      February 18, 2018 at 11:48 pm

      Hi Abdul, sorry to hear about your health concerns. I wouldn’t want to comment on whether the OFII will have a problem with your health status or not, as I’m not in a position to do so. However, ‘I think’ their main concern is if you are carrying any contagious diseases. Good luck, I hope everything goes well!

  5. Reply
    Amanda Engole
    February 21, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Hello Nadine.. Your post really cracked me up. I must say I am comforted by the fact that I am not the only one who has had language troubles.. However, my problem is probably bigger.. I see most of the posts talking about an appointment.. I was given a form in my country upon receiving my visa and was told I could go to the OFII within 3 months of my arrival.. My thought was I pick on the one in my region and show up.. From what I am reading, it doesn’t seem like that is the procedure.. Could you please help share what procedure you used to arrive at the said ‘appointment’.. Thank you.

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      February 22, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Hi Amanda,
      Ha! I’m so glad someone gets my sense of humour 😉
      In regards to the appointment. Yes, you get the form first, then when you get to France you’re supposed to make an appointment at the prefecture. From memory, I was given a form I had to fill in and send to the OFII upon arrival. If not, you can normally make appointments online, but it takes about 3 months to get an appointment at the busier prefectures!

  6. Reply
    Dee
    February 27, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Hi Nadine, I received my recepsse in Paris on Dec 28th, but never registered with the OFII office. I never realized I had to! my Carte de Sejour appointment is on March 12, 2018 and I have not received the medical appointment letter. I am an Australian citizen married to an EU citizen. I never filled out the form when I first arrived in France and sent it to the OFII. Will this be a major problem. Some other people told me you can just get a letter from a general doctor showing you are medically fit for Carte de Sejour purposes. Is this correct? Or should I drop everything and head to the OFII office! Please help! thanks.

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      March 4, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Hi Dee, only speaking from experience here, but I think you’ll be fine. The main thing is getting an appointment with the OFII which you have. The medical may be done on the day – as it was for me – so you won’t necessarily need another appointment for that. I know it can be a very confusing experience, but I find once you’re in front of a real person at the OFII most issues can be resolved. Good luck!

  7. Reply
    Megan H
    March 21, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Nadine, have you had your final Carte de Sejour meeting with OFII?

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      March 25, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Megan, I’m not sure what you mean by final.. I’ve had two visa appointments with the prefecture now. Did you have a specific question?

  8. Reply
    Nash
    July 11, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    I am a Granite stone artist. I hope soon I will get a job in France. But I have HBsAg (Jaundice) Positive. If OFII check my blood, they will find out that I have positive HBsAg. I am 37 years old from India.
    Do OFII check our blood?
    Can they accept HBsAg positive person to work in France?
    If any body has answer for my question, please let me know. My mail ID [email protected]
    Thank you very much.

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      July 11, 2018 at 11:58 pm

      Hi Nash, in my experience they don’t check your blood. They only do an xray to check for tuberculosis. They will ask about your medical history, but I have no idea whether your condition will be a concern to them or not, sorry. Good luck!

  9. Reply
    Eden VanSpoor
    September 14, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Just wanted to share something I wish I had known before my appointment that I found out! Apparently if you have taken classes already and have completed A1, you can bypass the written and oral exam if you bring your certification. Also, they offer free A2 classes if you wish to continue and even B1 for free online courses. They will even work around your schedule if you’re working and can’t do daytime classes (night classes, Saturday classes, etc.)

    I’ve also heard from officials and friends to show up to the prefecture at least two hours before the doors open when it comes time to ask for your visa renewal.

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      September 17, 2018 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks for offering your experience to the mix Eden. It’s really interesting how the processes and rules change per region! For example, the French classes I was offered weren’t flexible at all! They had to be taken during the day – 5 days a week. Which made it impossible for me. Glad that’s not the case everywhere. I’ve also never needed to turn up so early to any of my appointments, but perhaps it’s different in bigger cities?!

  10. Reply
    Johnny
    September 25, 2018 at 9:51 am

    This is great Nadine! It helped me alot for my appointment in Bordeaux. I used your post as a guide to know what was going on during my visit and to help in the prep. Thanks very much! Also, I’m wondering if you kept the copy of your contract d’integration Republicaine? I still have mine but not sure if I was supposed to leave it at the OFII.

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      October 2, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      Hi Johnny, so glad this was useful to you and that your appointment went smoothly. I’m sorry I don’t remember if I had mine when I left or not. If they don’t get in touch, I’d just add it to your dossier and take it with you next time.

  11. Reply
    M
    October 16, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Bonjour Nadine,

    My OFII appointment is coming up soon. In a month’s time. I would say my French level is A1 right now. I am wondering how many hours of classes I will need to take. May I know how many hours you were told to take? What was their schedule like? As in hours. Also did it really help you advance or it went totally over your head? I am anxious as you can already tell! >.<

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      October 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      Hi there, if you’re currently at A1 they will probably offer you 200 hours of free French lessons. I think the schedule differs on where you take them – I’ve heard some places are flexible, but the place I was referred to wasn’t. It was every weekday until your 200 hours were complete. I didn’t take the public courses for this reason (I couldn’t make the times they were on), so I went private 🙂

      1. Reply
        Teemo
        January 28, 2019 at 11:20 am

        Hi Nadine, many thanks for sharing your experience. It’s generous to offer free language class, but if they cannot make it flexible, it’s pain…I am wondering if it is possible to skip the 200h French course? I probably cannot follow their schedule , can I learn by myself and show A1 certificate before next Visa renewal?

        1. Reply
          Nadine Maffre
          January 30, 2019 at 9:12 pm

          Yes it is possible – that’s what I had to do too. You just need to prove that you’ve undertaken your own learning and then pay to do the exam as proof before your visa renewal.

  12. Reply
    Christian
    November 2, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Hi Nadine,
    Thanks for the blog, which is quite helpful.

    One question-I saw you said you went after four months. Was this a problem? I initially thought you had to go within 3 months, but now I’m reading it’s not a problem to go after and that the rule might even be ‘submit your papers’ within three months. I submitted my papers after 5 weeks in France, I’ve now been here just over two months and haven’t heard back yet. I was getting nervous, but your experience is easing my worries, so I wanted to ask about it.

    thanks!

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      December 13, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Hey Christian, yes as long as you submit your papers to make the appt when you arrive in France (within 3 months), then you should be ok. Appointments can often be booked up a long way in advance, making it impossible to get one when you need it!

  13. Reply
    Bethany
    February 13, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Hi Nadine,

    I submitted my OFII form for my Long Stay Visa at the end of December (within the 90 day timeframe) and haven’t heard anything yet. The OFII office I’m dealing with is in Marseille, which, based on reviews of the establishment, seems like a bit of a nightmare due to lost paperwork, misfiling, etc. Normally I wouldn’t be concerned about waiting, but I have to go back to the States in two weeks time for a family emergency. I am worried if I don’t AT LEAST have the paperwork declaring my OFII appointment I won’t be able to get back in the country and will have to reapply for my visa. I’ve been calling almost daily with no answer, and am considering showing up and trying to get a receipt of some sort? Entirely certain that my efforts will be in vain, so I’m very much in stress!!! Any thoughts or recommendations?

    Bethany

    1. Reply
      Nadine Maffre
      February 16, 2019 at 12:49 am

      Argh Bethany, I can feel your stress! So hard dealing with the prefecture when they’re clearly overrun and don’t even answer the telephone. You’ll most certainly need to collect a recipissé to state that you’ve submitted your visa application. So if you’re not having any luck getting hold of them I would probably try going in and seeing if you can get someone to write this out for you. Good luck!

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