Because I couldn't find CRAP for resources regarding this process I'd like to share what I learned from the very beginning of my entrance to France to my current proud Carte de Séjour. This is for those of you who are going on a self-exchange and maybe don't have a personal translator to drag around.
Step 1: Entry into France
When you enter into France, make sure they stamp your passport, preferably above your Student Visa (makes it easier to photo copy later). If you come by train from any of the other countries, either as the ticket checker --> "S'il vous plaît, valider mon passeporte" And then offer the passport and point, he should stamp it. By train from London, the validation happens when you go through border control... no problem.
Step 2: Send Information to OFII
Next step is to take that lovely paper the Consulate gave you and fill it out correctly, ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS. It's stuff like your address and phone number, make sure if you don't have some type of proof you live somewhere put this:
Chez blahblah <-- the address of who you are living or staying with, that way you can use their proof.
The paper states it needs a copy of your passeporte page and a copy of your visa page as well as a copy of the "validation", which is the entry stamp. Take all this information, go down to the post office and ask for this:
Je voudrais une lettre recommandée avec avis de réceptionThat is pretty much a return stamped envelope. You fill out your sending address, and then their address which in Lyon, France is:
Direction Territoriale de l'OFIIMake sure before you send it that all the information you filled out is correct, you signed it and... all copies are inside. Seal it, pay €10-15 and send it off to it's destination.
7 rue Quivogne
69286, Lyon, CEDEX 02
WARNING: This needs to be sent and done before 3 months of you being in France, so if you come in June, you need to have this information send by September.
Step 3: Check your Mail Daily
The next step can take between 2 weeks and 2 months depending on their work load; but next is a letter sent from the OFII to you. You will receive two different letters, the first will have a paper in pink with the word "herbergement" and a letter saying they got your letter. The second letter will have the date/time to be at the OFII office, which also includes a doctor's appointment and a notification you need to buy something called a timbres. If there is a problem with the date or time, you will need to call the OFII office, or even better head down there and explain. For me, it interacted with a Spanish holiday I planned, so I went down and the woman was incredibly nice and said a new letter with a new date/time would be sent.
Step 4: Buy the Stamp
The stamp, or timbres fiscal is the taxes owed to the government for doing the service of holding your file and your name. It's kind of bull, but you can get social services as a student, so, all the power to the stamp. To buy it you'll need to go to a place like a large Tabac or the trésorie in Bellecour... Here's where I went:
La Pipe Tabac..
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Right near my home and the university. The easiest way is to bring in the letter and point to the stamp... it's a €55 OMI timbres fiscal So, after you buy it, DON'T LOSE IT.
Step 5: Appointment
You will need:
- Hebergement declaration: the pink paper that says where you live, and the person signs for it.
- Copy of the Person You are Staying With's ID: To prove, yes, they exist
- A small photo of yourself: Like what you used for the Visa
- Copy of the rent bill, phone bill, electric bill
- The convocation letter OFII sent you
- € 55 Timbres Fiscale stamp
- Your Passport
Hand the woman your letter of convocation and passport, and she will say, "Assiez-vous, on vous parlera" = sit down, we'll call your name.
The first person to call the name is a radiologist, she'll have you walk into a small room and will say quickly that you need to take off your shirt, and if you're a woman- your bra. I got confused because in French a bra is a "soutien-gorge" so I thought she wanted me to do something with my neck, but I got smart and assumed she meant my bra. Smart.
You face the machine thing, so your back is out, hands behind back and take a deep breath when she snaps the radio photo.
Next she'll say merci and send you to wait again.
The next person to call you will be the person that weighs you, and then gives you some information about hospitals and free testing. Then, go out and wait with your radiography photos.
The third person is the final person, the doctor. You simply follow her/him back, she'll kind of poke at your tummy, listen to your heart, take your blood pressure and ask you if you've been immunized for, "tetanus, hepatitus B, mumps" and how long it's been.
Then you go out, wait, then give the woman at the desk your picture, stamp, proof of living and the copy of identification... she'll put everything together...
Follow her downstairs, to this office, wait a moment and there it is!
Super easy, we were out within 40 minutes!