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Hi, i arrived here in france 2 months ago with a long term spousal visa. I believe that i am going to get titre séjour after my rendezvous at prefacteur in nancy next month. My husband is french expat. We have all our documents sorted out for the rendezvous. However, what i dont understand is what kind of assessment i am looking forward in the interview? I am b1 doploma holder for french and i can speak a little more french than just to save my life. What exactly do they expect you to know about france for interview? And also, is it true that they offer you to join training sessions based on your assessment? A little advice will be highly appreciated! Merci beaucoup :)
 

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You say your husband is French expat - do you mean he is French, or that he is a non-EU nationality on a carte de residente or other titre de séjour? If you're on a spouse visa, I'm guessing that he is French.

I only ask because I suspect that your appointment/interview may be with the OFII and not with the prefecture. At the OFII visit, they do a brief medical exam and then you arrange for a couple of classes on Life in France, French Civics and whatever. If you've got a B1 level certificate, bring it with you. Chances are you'll opt out of the language classes anyhow, but having the certificate definitely helps. They also arrange for you to have an interview with the Pole Emploi (French employment service) to help evaluate what sorts of jobs you would be interested in and qualified for here in France.

As the spouse of a French citizen, you'll sign a contract of integration, promising to attend the classes they set up for you. You'll then need the certificates of attendance from the classes when you go to renew your titre de séjour at the end of your first year in France.

If your husband is not French, I'm not sure if you're required to do the OFII visit or not.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hi Bev! Thank you so much for such a well elaborated reply. I highly appreciate it. Yes, he is french and thanks to your detailed reply, i now understand the whole upcoming course of events. It will be really kind of you if you will consider responding on the few remaining concerns i have, which are as follows:

1. I have been given a lot of general knowledge material about france by my husband. He believes that during interview if i can show this knowledge ( if asked for), i might be able to skip the life in france, french civics sessions. Although, i am well aware of the basics, some of the general knowledge material branch out to complicated details, specially political information. I am really pressed for time. Therefor, i would like to understand if there is a possibility or not that the department will let u skip the session just because u know enough?

2. Thank you for mentioning the pole emploi part. This one is a general question, is there a good market for a bilingual (fluent english/intermediate french) candidate like me in the field of media? Does prior foreign experience help?

3. Last question, i promise! :) i have done my o levels in pakistan previously and due to work, i couldn't appear for A levels. Now what would be a better option for me to continue my studies here? Prepare for bac equivalency exam ( which is completely in french and i am scared at the mere thought of failing in a subject only to repeat the whole streak of exams) or consider a-levels as the bac equivalency?

Thank you for going through these questions! I am 25 years old with a whole career as a media anchor person left behind me. It was somehow possible for me to work hard despite not having enough degrees or diplomas and reach to efficient positions in my career. But i understand that this will not be the case in france. I am upto working hard enough again in both academic and professional dimensions but a guide line or a word of practical advice can really encourage and put me on a track.

Much much Regards,
Millie
 

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1. I have been given a lot of general knowledge material about france by my husband. He believes that during interview if i can show this knowledge ( if asked for), i might be able to skip the life in france, french civics sessions. Although, i am well aware of the basics, some of the general knowledge material branch out to complicated details, specially political information. I am really pressed for time. Therefor, i would like to understand if there is a possibility or not that the department will let u skip the session just because u know enough?
From everything I've heard, there is no way around doing the civics and life in France classes - however, there are just the two of them and they are each only one day. Most folks I've heard from lately have them scheduled within a week or two of their OFII appointment. And you get lunch with each class.

2. Thank you for mentioning the pole emploi part. This one is a general question, is there a good market for a bilingual (fluent english/intermediate french) candidate like me in the field of media? Does prior foreign experience help?
Right now the job markets are pretty discouraging, though there is news out today that the economy seems to be picking up a bit in general and that's expected to lead to more hiring. But job-hunting in France in any kind of economy takes time, and lots of it. Hiring decisions can take months, even after you've been short-listed for a position.

3. Last question, i promise! :) i have done my o levels in pakistan previously and due to work, i couldn't appear for A levels. Now what would be a better option for me to continue my studies here? Prepare for bac equivalency exam ( which is completely in french and i am scared at the mere thought of failing in a subject only to repeat the whole streak of exams) or consider a-levels as the bac equivalency?
Is there even a bac equivalency exam? You may want to address this question to the Pole Emploi people when you have your appointment with them. The French are nuts about "qualifications" - i.e. academic qualifications - but it may well be possible to get business studies without having to pass the bac. Business school isn't considered to be a university type of study here, or you can get various certificates rather than going the bac route.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hi there. I went through my OFII interview in Nancy earlier this year. Maybe I can shed some light on all this for you. What Bev stated is dead on. Bev knows best! At the OFII appointment, you will watch a brief film on life in France. It is in French but they give you translation sheets to guide you. After the film, you will be called in to meet directly with the interviewer. You should bring all the documentation you can to prove your level of French and any university degrees you have, your Marriage documents and everything else they say you need and even stuff you think you will need. Remember to bring your passport and if they require that you pay any fees, take care of that as well (Timbres possibly).

I needed the language classes. I was actually looking forward to them. The OFII lady told me that I would receive a letter on where to report for classes. OFII no longer gives the exams to determine how much instruction a person is required to take. They leave it up to the vendor, which in my opinion is not only a huge mistake but a huge waste of French tax money. I was assigned by the school to 240 hours of classes. Then the school kept cutting down the hours until they eventually got to 180 hours. I have completed 105 hours so far and must return next month to finish it. The lessons were a total joke. One teacher, more than likely on her first job as a teacher was so over worked by the company. The company was ALAJI. I began with two days a week, six hours a day. ALAJI then bumped it up to seven hours on paper but nothing changed. The teacher taught 30-40 students in a class from all over the world, cramped into this small room. She taught three levels of French and there were many of us who were lost. When the class ended in June, I was given a certification of the 105 hours I attended and she said I was qualified and knowledgable to take the first two DELF exams. I couldn't even count to 20 in French, had no real basic conversational abilities as my wife is French as are my step children and in the 35 years my wife and I have known each other, we always spoke English. Now I am much further along but my own experience with this vendor, their educational practices and the way they teach, is a huge injustice to the taxpayer. OFII did not stamp my passport nor did they put anything in my passport.

They will then send you off for your medicals that same day. Your OFII letter will state all this. Two places at the other end of Nancy so I strongly urge you to drive there or ask your husband to drive you there. Firstly, they send you to the hospital for the chest X-ray. It is a process that at most is 30 minutes. You will leave with your X-ray. I was in and out in less than 20 minutes. Then there is a very long walk to the afternoon appointment with the doctor and the nurse. If you can manage time to grab a bite to eat in between, I strongly urge you to grab a fast bite.

You review all important medical information with the clerk and they hand you papers to hand to the nurse. She will take your weight, height, administer an eye exam (read line x from the chart)...Pretty easy peasy as they say. The nurse was an older woman who was very friendly to me as an American but had a bee in her bonnet with a couple who arrived late and at first refused to accept them or the appointment. Eventually she did accept them but they really had to wait.

The doctor just went through the motions reviewing your medical history, took your blood pressure, reviewed prescriptions and did a basic physical. No blood or urine was given. I have read other posts where this was required but I wasn't. bring along your prescriptions for the doctor to see. the doctor spoke no English. Twenty minutes with the doctor, he stamped and signed a form that we left with. It is with the OFII form and the medical certificate that you then go to the Prefecture and submit that to them for your process to continue. The lady at the Prefecture actually said to me "we've been waiting for this" so it was "easy" from then on.

Now I must say that my stay in France was handled as an exception by the Prefecture so your visa situation might be different than mine. My wife is a French government employee and my stay in France was overseen directly by the Prefecture herself and with the exception of three months that DSK was a hot issue between the US and France, I was allowed to remain here with an extension to what amounted to a tourist visa for over two years. Once we were married, the visa issue was sorted out until I was issued my CDS. The visa I was issued three months before we were married authorized me to work, as does my CDS. Speaking French to work in France is another thing.

OFII requires that you take two classes. Each is a full day. The classes with an English translator were in Metz. It is a two hour drive in each direction for us. The Life In France course was hugely educational and informative. You will be given a day with others who require the specific language translator. The translator was pretty good. It is a PowerPoint presentation. They do break for lunch, which is offered at no charge at a local cafeteria. They give you coupons for specific dishes (entree, vegetable and either a dessert or cheese). At the end of the class you will be issued a certificate of attendance. You must bring your passport and any Visas you might have. They require proof of identity which is checked and noted on their documents both in the morning and the end of the day. The class is full so be there on time. Many people were sitting up against each other.

The same exact thing went for the Civics class. Same exact procedure and many of the same faces from the prior class. The Civics class reviewed some of the same information as the prior class but went into deep detail about laws and honestly, was also very informative as well. Make sure you bring paper and a pencil or pen to take notes from each class. Both classes were one week apart.

At your OFII appointment, ask questions! If you have a drivers license, see if it can be converted to a French one. Please don't be afraid to ask questions. This is the time for it. They will have you sign your Contract of Integration but I did not leave with my copy. It was sent about three to four weeks later. They say a week or two but it is not the case.

All in all, the OFII appointment was not as stressful as we thought it would be. It is a very long day though. Just relax and do what you must and what they ask of you. I wish you the very best of luck and send you warm regards.
 

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Firstly, they send you to the hospital for the chest X-ray. It is a process that at most is 30 minutes. You will leave with your X-ray. I was in and out in less than 20 minutes.
Wow! Why on earth would they need a chest x-ray? Seems a bit random :confused: and a bit dangerous too.
 

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I am sorry but I failed to mention Pole Emploi in my earlier post. You will need to meet with them as well. In my case, my wife set me up for an appointment with them. They were hugely helpful to me, assisting me with information on how to maneuver through seeking work, specific codes to use their online database to find jobs and even obtain a formation to help me further with my French, over and above my required classes. Please ask OFII if you must contact them directly or if they set you up for your first appointment. You might need to first register online with Pole Emploi first. OFII can tell you this. One big, huge question to ask OFII is how you can obtain a Secu number. That is your French Social Security number. You will need this for your Carte Vitale so see what you can do to get this moving forward. To this day, I have no idea how I got mine as we never requested it but it was issued and it is certainly mine as it has my birth date and so on. No one in the world had my very unique name so it was not an error. Warm regards and I hope all this information is helpful to you!
 

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Wow! Why on earth would they need a chest x-ray? Seems a bit random :confused: and a bit dangerous too.
The French have big issues with TB, if my understanding is correct! If you have lung cancer or are missing a lung, they don't care.....they just want to be sure you are TB free!
 

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Wow! Why on earth would they need a chest x-ray? Seems a bit random :confused: and a bit dangerous too.
I expect the chest X-Ray is common almost everywhere. It was required in Canada when I moved there in the 1970s and again in France. It's for tuberculosis testing. TB used to be nearly eradicated, then, some drug-resistant strains of started reappearing and they're very dangerous and difficult to treat.

Ray
 

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Thanks Koppazee & RayRay, that makes sense. Having said that.... :D , if the French are so worried about TB why only test some new arrivals? None of the expats I work with have been asked for this, so seems a bit random (i.e. typical French, imho). Not that I'm in any hurry to have an x-ray :rolleyes: , in fact I'd refuse to do so if they did ask for it. There are less dangerous ways of testing for this disease.:)
 

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I think you'll have difficulty if you refuse the chest x-ray. It's SOP for those getting long-stay, renewable titres de séjour (i.e. those requiring a medical exam) - and frankly the main alternative to testing for TB, the skin test, doesn't work in France because they routinely vaccinate for TB here, so the tests all show positive for exposure to TB.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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