The second step to finalizing our long-stay visa is to get a resident permit. Without it we would not be able to stay for the whole duration of the visa. Our long-awaited appointment was earlier this week, and I admit I was stressing a little because I didn’t know what to expect when going in for the appointment. I have heard horror stories of someone getting shouted at and others having to wait the whole day before getting called upon. Lucky for us the appointment was only an hour and half, and although we met a couple of impatient people, for the most part it went smoothly.
There were probably thirty people in the room that had the same appointment time, but the staff was efficient with shuffling people in and out. The first part of the appointment was a medical examination, and the last part was where you submitted paperwork required for the permit.
The medical examination part was interesting. There was one lady who performed x-rays to determine whether you have tuberculosis or not, and I had never felt so stupid in my life. She only spoke French and was barking orders I did not understand. However, I managed and learned to not be shy in the medical room. In the states when undressing you are given space and a gown or sheet to cover your body when not being examined. Here, I was told to get topless in front of the entire staff in the room and walk bare-chested to and from the machine. It was normal for them, so I acted like it was nothing to me, too.
Then for the second part of the appointment, we submitted a recent photo, proof of residence, and proof we had paid for the immigration stamp. The stamp was another hefty fee we had paid for as the finalization of the visa. Shortly after that we received our OFII immigration sticker and stamp on our passports.
We then were asked if we wanted to stay or leave at the end of our visas, and we said stay. We’re not sure if we’re really extending our visas yet at this point, but just in case, we wanted to know. We learned we could easily renew it at any préfecture station two months before our visas expire.
Now we are legitimate French residents and can travel freely in and out of France at anytime. Whew!