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Hello Everyone,

It's been a while I haven't come on this forum!
We arrived in France with my Chinese wife on May 8th, and so far it's still hard for me to adapt to the french ways, I still have no job in sight and still haven't heard back from the health insurance...

Anyway... I'm here today to share our experience at the OFII in Rennes, and I hope it will help some of you like you helped me before.

So we arrived in France on May 8th and had the appointment at the OFII of Rennes 2 days ago on June 23rd, which was not too long I guess, about a month and half.
We had our appointment at 9AM, we went through the woman on the 1st floor who checked our "Convocation" and my wife's passport, and she told us to go to wait in the room upstairs.
Even though everyone had the same appointment at 9AM, still people kept arriving till 9:30AM... no comment.

So, at 9:30AM a woman came to us to do a little speech, explaining how things will go on, telling us which papers we will need to keep for the renewal of the visa, etc...
She also said that one of the Health Check Certificate they will give us will have to be returned to the Prefecture to get their "Titre de séjour", which surprised me since I heard it was only a stamp on the visa from the OFII. She then went on to ask who didn't have a "récépissé". I honestly had no idea of what's a "récépissé", but anyway I told her we didn't have one (we were the only one), and so she said we won't have to go to the prefecture since we already had the visa on the passport.
So far everything was in French, and she never asked who can or cannot speak French in the room. Other people were from Arabian countries, africa or east europe, and it seems my wife was the only one who couldn't speak French. I have no idea how she would have done without me, she would have been completely lost.
Anyway, we then went around the room and everyone had to state their name, nationality and the date they arrived in France. I told my wife how to say those words, coz she only only knew how to say "Je m'appelle..."

After the speech we were showed a short video (~15min) in French about France, outdated and kinda boring. Remember the video at school when you learn about your changing bodies...? Yeah, you know.
My wife couldn't understand but most subjects on the video seem to point to muslim people: the husband can have only 1 wife, the wife can work without asking her husband/brother, husband and wife are equal, both wife and husband have authority on their kid...etc
I suspect the "Civic days" will be about the same.

After the video they called them 1 by 1 for the health check. She went by herself as I wasn't allowed to accompany her for that part.
The woman talked to her in English. She asked her a few questions about her vaccines. In China they do not have a "vaccines book", so my wife had no idea what she was given as a child. The woman showed her some type of vaccines written in Chinese, and she told her what she might have had. It didn't seem to matter much anyway.
She then asked her her weight and height, without actually weighting her or checking her height. After that she went to the Xray room, topless.
And then they had some small talk. My wife told me she was very nice.
As you all understood, this whole thing is a formality more than anything else.

My wife came back in the waiting room, and they called us together for a short meeting. The woman was the same who gave the small speech when we arrived.
She still didn't seem to want to speak English, so she mainly did the interview with me, and I was translating the important parts to my wife.
We gave her a picture, a proof of residence and the "timbres fiscaux" for 241 euro (which is the whole point of the OFII day).
My wife signed the contract (in French) that basically says she acceptd to follow the french laws and adapt the french ways, and she then put a blue sticker on the back of her visa, which now allows her to stay in France legally till the end of her visa, and she is free to move in and out of France.
She told us my wife will have to attend 2 "civic days", maybe in July, but most likely in September or October.
She also gave her an "Attestation de dispense d'un bilan de compétences professionelles", so we won't have to complete the "job interview day", because her french level isn't good enough.

Finally, she told us my wife will have to attend French classes since she cannot speak the language. She said we'll be given an appointment for another day in another place to test her french level, and then they will tell us how many classes she should attend, how long, and where will be the school.
She also told us that since we live in a small town without public transport and my wife cannot drive, she could learn by herself (but she would still need to pass the A1 level in order to renew her visa), but I told her we will manage to drive her to class.
She told us about the french classes like it was a bad news, like we were going to complain. Why would we complain??? For us it was a great news, but I guess some people take it as a punishment, which is something I really don't understand.
Why would you be reluctant to take free French classes?!!!
It's a chance, and it really is a must if you want to live in France.
So what if you cannot go on a holiday this year? Take your time to settle down and know the language. When you want to integrate yourself into a country, you also have duties and responsibilities, and even more so in France, where even I find it very difficult to adapt even though I was born here.
And since you pay 241 euro for a some stamps, hell, let them pay for your french classes in return, it doesn't hurt.

Anyway, all in all, the OFII took us about 2 hours. It was fast, it went well.
My advice would be to have a person who understands French to accompany you if you cannot speak french, otherwise you might be kinda lost.

The OFII office was not easy to find. My GPS couldn't find the street, and we had to use the google GPS on my wife's phone. So my 2nd advice would be to check the place a fews days before, to make sure you can find it. It's not very far from the prefecture and Rennes 2 University, but it's located at the end of a small countryside like road.
The address is: 8 rue Jean Julien Ledormant, 35000 Rennes.

I hope this helped, and do not worry, it is just a formality. Don't forget your passport, a picture, a photocopie of your proof of residence, and of course the 241 euro of stamps (you can also pay those stamps online on www.timbresofii.fr, but I had a problem with my card, so I went to buy them at the taxes office).

Have a nice day!

Cheers,
William
 
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