The 340€ sticker
When I got my passport back from the French Consulate in Sydney, with my visa inside, there was an accompanying stamp instructing me that, in order to validate my visa (and not get deported), I had to make an appointment with the local OFII – Office Française de l’Immigration et de l’Integration – within 3 months of my arrival.
So, like the good little legal immigrant I am, I did as instructed. Appointments are made by post, so I didn’t have to ring anyone and – gasp – talk to them! I got a reply quickly, with a sheaf of things to prepare before my appointment in 3 weeks time. It was easy enough, although expensive – my validation sticker cost 340€!
Sim, bless him, came with me to my appointment. The staff all spoke English however, and were quite lovely (except for the radiologist – she seemed quite anti-immigration)! I had to have a chest x-ray, eye test, height and weight check (I accidently told the doctor I was 173cm tall instead of 163 – damn French numbers!), immunisation check, family history of disease check and voila – I was given a medical certificate, a recommendation for a tetanus shot (it’s been a while…) and the all-important 340€ sticker, allowing me to stay for 12 months! They also gave me a little slip of paper advising what to do if I want to extend my visa after the 12 months – it involves a trip to the Préfecture, which I’ve not heard any positive stories about. Ever. Even from French people! So we shall see…