OFII procedures and Carte de séjour (CDS) / titre de séjour

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December 3, 2016 by Crescentine

A carte de séjour (CDS) or titre de séjour is the official residency card in France. You must have a long-stay visa (Type D) in order to receive a CDS. The long stay visa that you will receive as the spouse of a French citizen makes you eligible for a carte de séjour (CDS) or titre de séjour. If you are an EU citizen, then you do not need to have a visa nor a CDS.

The carte de séjour (CDS) or titre de séjour must be renewed EVERY year, 2-3 months before the last one expires. In the case of your first application, you must schedule and submit your application before your long stay type D visa expires or else, you have to leave France and re-do the process of applying for the visa and the residency card all over again. As of 2017, instead of having to go back to your home country to re-apply for a new long stay visa, you just have to pay an extra EUR 180 at the prefecture. We don’t want that!

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So, you successfully received your long stay spouse visa and you just arrived in France. What to do next?

Step 1. Send your application form “Demande d’attestation OFII” to the nearest OFII office.

logo_ofii

You have to do this as soon as you arrive in France. Do not wait, send it right away because you have to wait for approximately 2 months from the date you sent it to the nearest OFII office to receive a scheduled date when you will be processed.

All the OFII procedures have to be finished within the first three months that you are in France.

The application form should be part of the requirements submitted to the French embassy when applying for the long stay spouse visa. This will be stamped by the consulate and returned to you.

Fill in the bottom half of the application form with the date of your arrival in France and your visa number. Photocopy your passport and the visa along with the arrival stamps from the airport and send this to the nearest OFII office where you live. For the list of OFII offices, please refer to the list given by the French embassy along with the application form or click on this link to find out.

Send it by mail using the services of La Poste (It’s France’s version of PhilPost albeit more efficient) or any courier service of your choice. It is better to ask for the letter to be sent “recommandée” which just means that they will track the letter for you and send you a confirmation letter that your mail was well-received. In case of loss, they will also be held responsible to track it down for you. For very important documents such as this, it’s better to pay a little bit more for security which will cost you around EUR 11.

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The letter should be received by the OFII office the next business day and the confirmation slip will be sent to you around 3 days from the day you sent it. The OFII will also send you a confirmation letter “Attestation de réception du formulaire de demande d’attestation OFII” one week after they receive your mail, keep this letter safe because this will serve as your proof that they received your letter should they forget to give you your scheduled processing date (yes, it happens).

After approximately 2 months, you will receive another letter by mail from the OFII wherein they will give you your scheduled date for processing your application, the requirements along with a medical exam, French language exam and formal signing of the contract of integration into the French republic. You will also receive many important documents, formation services, information on life in France such as social security, employment, public service and so on.

The requirements for holders of long stay spouse visas are, although this might be different for other OFII offices:

  1. Your passport
  2. A French passport-sized photo of your face (no hats, make up or jewelry)
  3. Proof of domicile which can be a lease / rental contract or gas, electricity, landline phone bill in your name, or if you don’t have any, an “Attestation d’hébergement” written by whoever is accommodating you in France along with a copy of their official ID(s) and their gas, electricity or landline phone bill.
  4. Medical certificate and x-ray results, if you have done the medical visit prior to your arrival in France.
  5. EUR 250 that can be paid online on www.timbresofii.fr using a credit or debit card, remember to print the resulting document.

All this is not for free of course, be prepared to pay around EUR 250 or PHP 13,000 which can be paid online via credit or debit card.

Step 2. Go to the OFII office on your scheduled processing date.

I went to the nearest OFII office in Rennes in the region of Bretagne located at 8 rue Jean Julien Lemordant 35000 Rennes, France. It’s a bit difficult to find so I recommend using waze or GPS applications. We have a car so I don’t know how to get there via public transportation, it’s better to ask someone to drive you there.

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The office opened exactly at 9AM which makes it quite difficult if you have to wait outside especially if you arrived in the winter season, so cold! I believe it’s the same for all OFII offices and government offices for that matter.

There was no one when I arrived at 8:30AM but soon the number of people grew and since I was one of the first, I was immediately entertained and asked to go upstairs to the waiting room. Kindly note that you must do this alone (even if you do not speak any French) and no one can accompany you, not even family members.

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We waited in the room for everyone to arrive, we were about 15 in total and were all from different countries. Pretty cool to see / meet other foreigners! Soon enough, a lady arrived to give the introduction in French which lasted 15 minutes. If you do not speak French yet, then I already feel so bad for you because the entire session will be in French whether you like it or not.

She asked for our full name, nationality and how long we have been in France. Ideally, you should respond in French but if you can’t, I believe they should know how to speak in English. She announced afterwards that there will be a written French language exam (Level A1, the most basic level) and any one who has done at least 3 years of schooling in France are exempted.

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We started the written exam afterwards, a 6-page exam worth 50 points, which lasted for 20 minutes. Don’t worry if you don’t pass the exam, this just means an extra formation will be added to your requirements: 200 hours of French language lessons! Hurray!

After the exam, you will be called one by one to either attend the medical exam which consists of an x-ray, a consultation with a nurse and another consultation with a doctor. Or the administrative discussion wherein you will sign the integration contract, receive the dates for your next full-day formations or information seminars as I would like to call them (formation civique, formation acces aux services publiques and the 200 hours of French language lessons, if you didn’t pass the written exam) your visa will also be officially validated by the OFII with a vignette on your passport making you officially eligible for the Carte de séjour or titre de séjour.

ofii

After your visit at the OFII, you may now register with the Pôle Emploi to start looking for employment (if you don’t have one yet) and also, apply for your social security number with l’Assurance Maladie. I will make a separate post for this later!

My formations for formation civique et formation acces aux services publique will be in January 2017. I’ll update this post on how it goes!

Step 3. Attend the required OFII formation seminars.

UPDATE: I attended the formation civique and formation access aux services publique last January 2017.

By this time, I hope you’ve improved your French because you’re about to attend two seminars in French lasting for several hours and it can be quite difficult if you don’t understand, and quite enjoyable if you do! Nonetheless, there should be translators present if you require it.

Make sure to bring your documents and passport to present to the facilitator. Learn a bit of French, mostly how to introduce yourself, where you come from, how long you’ve been in France and your profession as you will most likely be asked to. Also, I recommend that you eat breakfast as the morning will be long! Don’t be late!

The first one was like a crash course on the history of France both modern and medieval, an introduction to how the government works, the foundations of the constitution, their views on religion and so on. Very interesting stuff if you’re into history and current affairs, I personally enjoyed it very much!

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It lasted for 6 hours, I think it takes a bit longer if there are attendees who don’t speak French thus needing some extra time for translation purposes. Food and drinks were provided (tasted pretty good too!)

I attended the second one a week later, same drill. The information given was more practical such as how to find a job, where to start and the different offices that will aid you in job searching. They also inform you how the healthcare system works in France, the transport system and so on. Very useful! This one lasted a bit longer, 7 hours with no translators present.

After the second seminar, proof of attendance was distributed to everyone there and that is the last requirement that you have to do with the OFII. Make sure to make scanned copies of your documents because you will be needing them for the years to come up until you demand for the French nationality!

If you we’re required to attend French classes, you would also need the certificate provided by OFII that you completed all 200 required hours.

Step 4. Four months before your long stay visa expires, schedule a rendezvous at the prefecture for the Carte de Séjour.

The next step is to schedule an appointment on the prefecture website of the region where you reside. They say get a schedule two months before the expiration date of your visa but I recommend getting a schedule four months ahead because the slots fill up fast!

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I went on the website on the 15th of May and only got an appointment on the 28th of August, that was the soonest date and my visa is expiring in mid-September. Imagine if I only went on the website two months ahead of the expiration date! Know that as long as your appointment falls before the expiration date of your visa, you’re A-okay!

Otherwise, you would have to pay EUR 180 if you have your application AFTER your visa expires. Let’s play it safe, shall we?

You will be given a récépissé valid for 3 months after your prefecture appointment which will be your temporary CDS until you get your permanent card.

I’ll update this post again in August after my prefecture appointment for more details! Bon courage!jadorned_bloglovin4

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32 thoughts on “OFII procedures and Carte de séjour (CDS) / titre de séjour

  1. LJ says:

    Hello Crescentine,
    Just received a letter from OFiI. My schedule will be next month. I’m a bit nervous, konting french pa lang alam ko. Mhirap ba ung test?

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    • Crescentine says:

      Hi LJ, the test is just to know if you have the level A1 in French so you can be exempted from the 200 hours of French classes but seeing you don’t know how to speak French yet, it will be good for you to get the classes so don’t worry about the test 🙂

      Like

  2. Ysh says:

    Coucou Crescentine!
    I’ve just arrived here last month and my medical et meeting with ofii Grenoble next month. I feel bit nervous and stressed because I know some basic French only. :/

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    • Crescentine says:

      Don’t be nervous, they’ll give you french classes if you don’t have the level of French that is required 🙂 there are people who come and don’t speak french at all!

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      • Ysh says:

        Hello, I’ve just finished ofii today. Did they send you letter for civique et formation acces aux services publique for rdv? Merci 😀

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      • Crescentine says:

        Normally they schedule you for that during the OFII appointment? then you should receive letters proving your appointment date to give to the formation facilitators on the day itself. Not sure if you have to wait for this via mail, I got it on the day itself before my OFII appointment ended. Must be different in other offices.

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      • Ysh says:

        Wala pang binigay sakin na schedule madame. Rdv for learning French pa lang po binigay I’ve got 100h only 😦
        Waiting pa ulit 😀 thank you!

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  3. Maj says:

    Salut! 🙂
    Im done with my 2 mandatory civics classes and recently finished my french class.
    One of the ladies i went to french class with told me that when she renewed her CDS they gave her a quick exam both oral and written exam at the prefecture?? I told her maybe it has to do with the fact that she wasnt done with her french classes the time of her CDS renewal.. Do you know anything about it? Thanks in advance! 🙂

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    • Crescentine says:

      Hi Maj, yes definitely she renewed her CDS before finishing her OFII process. I was told this happens sometimes! 🙂 Since you’re finished with OFII na, this shouldn’t be a problem for you later on.

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      • Maj says:

        Hi Crescentine its me again! 🙂
        I have a filipino passport and i have friends who suggested that i should not think of traveling back home with récépissé as i may have a hard time coming back to france. I dont know if that is true or not but my question is my husband and i booked our flight tickets to Amsterdam, is it okay for me to fly with just my récépissé around schengen?

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      • Crescentine says:

        Hi Maj, if you already have the récépissé for the Carte de Sejour, it’s okay but DO NOT travel when you don’t have the récépissé yet or they will not let you back in 😦

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  4. Patzy says:

    HI Cres,

    I read somewhere that one of the requirements for OFII is a red ribboned Birth Certificate? is that true? or just a regular Birth (from PSA ) that has been translated to french?

    Thank you for your reply,

    Patsy

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    • Crescentine says:

      Hi Patsy, yes it’s true! Red ribbon + birth certificate on yellow security paper for the OFII procedure when you get here then later again for your carte de sejour application.

      Two months before your CDS appointment, you also need to have it translated into French by a translator here in France that is authorized by the prefecture. They usually have a list of approved translators 🙂

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      • Salv says:

        Hi Crescentine!
        Thank you once again for your detailed blog. So helpful! I am now here in France with my spouse visa, just submitted my documents to OFII last week. Just want to confirm about the red ribboned birth certificate if it is really a requirement since it is not mentioned in the list of requirements. I don’t have one here, if indeed needed, I will have to request online pa. Is our PH embassy here in Paris allowed to do the red ribbon? Or I should better secure one in PH na?

        Thanks a lot!

        Salv

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      • Crescentine says:

        Hi Salv, better secure it in the PH and yes it is required! 😦 the embassy in Paris can do it but it will take one month whereas in the PH, it will only take 1-4 days.

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      • Salv says:

        Thank you for the reply Crescentine. Yes I will do that better in PH indeed. Just one more question though, at what point is it required to be submitted? I have already mailed my documents to OFII and just waiting for the appointment. As I am considering of ordering online and have it sent to me na di rush just to avoid costly fee.

        I called our embassy here and I was told that I should secure first SPA signed by the Consul and the same I should send to my SPA (brother) so he can process the red ribbon of my birth certificate with DFA. My goodness and the embassy charges 22€ for that, just the SPA. Would you know if it is really needed? Or I can just prepare a letter of authorization or SPA and directly send to my brother? So costly that we have to go through the embassy 😦

        I really appreciate that you are so patient in answering questions, you are helping so many kababayans a lot!

        Thanks,
        Salv

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      • Crescentine says:

        Hmm I feel like for the SPA, you don’t have to go through the embassy but I guess to be sure, maybe? This has never happened for me before so I can’t really be sure. For the Red Ribbon, they will ask for it every time your birth certificate is a requirement so if your birth certificate is a requirement at the OFII appointment, the red ribbon will be required there too 🙂

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  5. kaushal choudhary says:

    i am from India and got married to a french girl on 25Th of November 2017 and applied for my carte de sejour on 30th of November on line. The problem here is my long stay visa is ending on 15th of December so what if i dont get a reply from them before the expiration(which is just 15days) ? Do I have to just pay 180 euros or do i have to get out of the country and restart the process with visa and the carte all together.. please share if you have an idea about it. thanks in advance

    Like

    • Crescentine says:

      Hi Kaushal, you should be getting a récépissé on the day of your application of the carte de sejour, when is your appointment? If your CDS appointment falls after December 15th, yes you will pay a penalty of 180 euros but you DON’T have to get out of the country and restart everything.

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      • Kaushal says:

        Hey, thanks a lot. I have just applied online on the 30th of November and they haven’t given any appointment yet, that’s why I was worried. Is it possible to got to the OFII or Préfecture of Rennes to pay these 180 before ?

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      • Crescentine says:

        Hi Kaushal, how did you apply online? normally, the confirmation of the appointment date you chose is automatic after you do the online procedures. On the website of the prefecture, you can choose your appointment date then confirm your details then a confirmation email will be sent to you right after.

        Like

      • Kaushal says:

        I applied and got this email right after :

        Bonjour,
        Le message que vous avez transmis à la préfecture d’Ille-et-Vilaine a bien été reçu. Votre demande de rendez-vous pour une première demande de titre de séjour va être traitée par le service concerné.

        Une réponse vous sera apportée par courriel, dans les meilleurs délais possibles. Elle comprendra un formulaire à remplir et à nous renvoyer. Dès réception du formulaire, un rendez-vous vous sera alors attribué avec la convocation ainsi que la liste des documents à fournir.

        Si vous venez d’adresser le formulaire, vous allez recevoir une réponse de la préfecture dès que votre demande sera instruite.

        Dans tous les cas, il est inutile de transmettre un nouveau message ou de vous présenter à la préfecture tant que vous n’avez pas reçu la réponse de la préfecture.

        Ce message est adressé automatiquement, merci de ne pas y répondre.

        Cordialement,

        PRÉFECTURE D’ILLE-ET-VILAINE
        3, avenue de la préfecture, 35026 Rennes Cedex 9
        Horaires d’ouverture et modalités d’accueil
        sur le site http://www.ille-et-vilaine.gouv.fr/Outils/Horaires-et-coordonnees
        Serveur vocal 0821 80 30 35 (0,12€/mn)

        Retrouvez toutes les informations concernant l’accueil des étrangers en France :
        http://www.ille-et-vilaine.gouv.fr/Demarches-administratives/Accueil-Etrangers

        Like

      • Crescentine says:

        Hi Kaushal, this is very weird indeed. I think you applied for a première demande de titre de séjour (which is the OFII processing, but you already have this because you said your long stay visa is expiring soon) so you need to do a renouvellement and not a premiére demande.

        Because the premiére titre de sejour IS the long stay visa. They are one and the same 🙂
        Please try to get an appointment via this link instead: http://www.ille-et-vilaine.gouv.fr/Demarches-administratives/Accueil-Etrangers/Titre-de-sejour-Personnes-majeures/Titre-de-sejour-renouvellement

        Normally, the confirmation email that you will receive right after looks like this (this is my confirmation email of the appointment for the carte de séjour).

        Bonjour

        Nous vous confirmons que votre demande de rendez-vous a été enregistrée.

        Vous trouverez ci-joint la confirmation de votre demande de rendez-vous.

        Nature : 2 – Renouvellement titre de séjour VACANCES SCOLAIRES
        Déposée le : mardi 30 mai 2017 à 11:45
        Date : lundi 28 août 2017
        Heure : 11:00
        Durée : 20 mn
        Confirmée le : mardi 30 mai 2017 à 11:50

        Cliquez ici pour gérer vos demandes de rendez-vous

        PREFECTURE D’ILLE-ET-VILAINE
        Etrangers renouvellement
        3, avenue de la Préfecture
        35000 RENNES

        0821 80 30 35
        http://www.ille-et-vilaine.gouv.fr

        Like

  6. Sarah Berthe says:

    Salut, it is me again! May I know if you are allowed to go out of France after renewing/
    extending your visa? I am planning to visit my family in the Philippines after I extend my visa… By the way, how does the recepisse look like, it is a card or a vignette sticker?

    Like

    • Sarah Berthe says:

      Also, how long is the extension valid for? Merci.

      Like

      • Crescentine says:

        Hi Sarah! Yes you can go out of France / Schengen area once you have the récépissé but before that, it’s not recommended to go out as I’ve heard horror stories where some people weren’t allowed back in. The récépissé is a thick receipt with your picture on it! The récépissé is valid for 3-6 months depending on how much the prefecture gives you then the carte de séjour is valid for another year.

        Like

    • Maj says:

      Hi Sarah, i wanted to go home for few weeks in the philippines, its my premiere CDS and i have not yet receive my card so i only have my récépissé.. Some of the people i know suggested that since i have a filipino passport that i should wait to receive my CDS before going home.. is it true? Because i would love to visit my family as well. Thanks in advance!

      Like

  7. Koki says:

    Very helpful information Thanks. In Two days I will be at Rennes for my medical and french test. In the post mail that I get medical test morning and the interview afternoon (with the result of the medical exam )…
    A little bit nervous cause don’t speak well french and my husband can’t go in the office with me😔
    Please Sarah can you explain a bit more what was the writing exam? Thanks a lot

    Like

    • Crescentine says:

      Hello Koki, I can’t deny that it will be quite difficult for you because they don’t translate into English during the first rendezvous but I think all the people managing the process do speak English so you can just ask them again later. Don’t feel bad for failing the french test if you don’t speak french because it’s just for them to know if you are above or below the level A1 and then you’ll be given the 200 hours of French lessons which is to your advantage! 🙂 The exam has multiple choice, reading comprehension, essay writing and translation. Welcome!

      Like

  8. Sarah Berthe says:

    Hello po! I am in France for almost three months now and I will attend my first meeting in Lyon in September. May I know how long is the meeting? including the exams and language test.

    Like

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