Registering in the OFII will be one of the first, if not the first procedure that you must do once in France. The OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration), created in 2009, is the institution responsible for the accompaniment and integration of foreigners in France. All holders of a student visa of more than 3 months are required to register upon arrival in the country to regularize their stay, since the visa granted by the embassy in your country of origin has a validity of 3 months only.
The procedure you must follow is very simple; with your visa you should have been given an application form (if you do not have it you can download it here. To complete your registration, you must send the following documents to the OFII:
- Form filled out with your personal information, a postal address in France and your visa information.
- Photocopy of your passport, as well as your visa, and the pages showing entry stamp to France. In some airports in Europe, immigration officers usually do not stamp passports, if this is the case it is important that you request this stamp, otherwise your visa will not be validated.
In the form you will find all the addresses where you can send these documents depending on the city where you live.
Once the OFII receives your documents you will receive by post an attestation of receipt of your request. This document serves as a visa while you receive the convocation from the OFII for the validation of your visa, which you must receive in maximum three months.
The day of the convocation in the OFII you will have to take the following documents with you:
- Proof of address (may be an electricity or phone bill under your name or the rent slips that your landlord gives you each month when paying your rent);
- An ID photo;
- Printed confirmation of the payment of € 60 in tax stamps that you must pay in this website https://www.timbresofii.fr/.
On that day the OFII will receive your documents, you will have to do some medical exams, and if everything is in order they will put a sticker on your passport. That will be your first titre de séjour and will authorize you to reside legally in France for the duration of your visa.
Is it possible to travel outside of France before receiving the convocation from the OFII?
This is one of the most common questions that all students ask themselves. The answer is yes, since the attestation sent by the OFII when receiving your documents legally accredits you to do so. Additionally, if your country of origin does not need a visa to enter Europe for tourism, you can move freely in the Schengen area even before receiving the attestation from the OFII. If your country needs a Visa to enter the European Union for tourism, you can still travel freely once you have received the attestation from the OFII since it serves as a temporary visa.
If you must return to your country of origin during this period or wish to travel outside France, it is important to note that you can only do it once you have received the attestation from the OFII, otherwise you must apply for a visa again.
In my case, the OFII took more than 6 months to convoke me for the validation of my Visa, I continued traveling with the attestation during this period, inside and outside the Schengen area, without any problem.
What happens when my visa expires?
When your visa comes to an end and you wish to continue your stay in France you have two options:
- If your conditions have not changed, meaning that you are still a student, you can request a visa renewal for one additional year;
- If you have finished your studies, but you want to stay longer in France you can request an APS (Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour), this is a 1-year work permit that allows you to look for a job related to your profession, which is an excellent advantage offered by France for foreign students.
These two procedures deserve to be described in detail, so I will make an entry about each one of them later.
I hope this information will be useful for your registration with the OFII, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.