OFII,  Paperwork

OFII Convocation CIR

This post was most recently updated on February 26th, 2021

{Contrat d’Intrégation Républicaine}

The OFII convocation day one is a simple process that includes a language test and a personal interview with an OFII agent. This interview is to see where your needs are as you transition into French society. The first two jours civiques (civic days) will be scheduled in this interview; the last two will be scheduled later on.

The first step in the OFII process is the convocation for the CIR, contrat d’intégratoin républicaine. This contract allows you to enter into an agreement with the French State where they provide certain rights to facilitate your entry into everyday French life.

Example letter of OFII convocation request.
Convocation letter from OFII.

You will need to make sure to bring with you:

  • Printed copy of the convocation you received by email.
  • Passport.
  • Proof of residence in France (bill or otherwise).
  • Confirmation of the validation of your visa.

{Contents of first appointment}

A language test will be taken to determine your level of understanding the French language. If you have an attestation (certificate) from a language course that specifies your level of french (DELF, TCF); it is best to bring it along with you. You will be exempt from taking the test day of as you have proof of your language comprehension.

The personal interview with the OFII auditor looks at your needs to successfully enter into French society. The agent will provide you with guidance in regards to the next steps in the administrative process. You are asked a handful of questions regarding your personal situation in France and from there it is determined what the next steps will be.

{Personal Experience}

After having successfully rescheduling my CIR appointment (click here to read about my experience), I made sure I had all the documents, plus extra copies, necessary. (I brought along my whole binder just in case.) If you show up early, you will ask to queue while they wait to let you in. My original appointment was for 8h00 but my second was scheduled for 13h45. I got a little panicked when I saw the open ing hours of the office online; my appointment was in the middle of their lunch break!

OFII waiting in line
Waiting in line outside the OFII office for the first convocation.

I arrived 30 minutes early and there was already a line of 8 people. Be prepared for a security guard to be giving instructions. Be patient and listen accordingly. There were some people who refused to listen to the directions and it was a little painful to watch.

Everyone is sent up at the same time. Just because you are first in line does not mean you will be first to go through the process. You are brought to the 2nd floor and asked to queque outside a large room where you will be called back, one by one, to submit your paperwork and sign in. I was asked if I spoke french, if I had studied in France and was asked to show my passport. Here is where you need to give your attestation for your language exam.

Already checked in and waiting.

I was one of the first few people called back to present myself and sign in. It took about 35 minutes for everyone to get through the process and be seated in the room. Seats were apply spaced apart for social distancing purposes. We were asked to wear our masks and maintain our seats until asked to move again. There was 14 of us in total that afternoon.

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be asked to take a seat and wait till everyone else has been checked in. An agent will come in and explain, in french, what will be happening that day. You’ll start off with a language exam and then you’ll be seen by an agent to sign your contract and schedule your first two jours civiques (civic days).

{Language Test}

The language exam is a simple test that takes about 20 minutes. I did not sit the exam so I cannot attest to what the contents and questions were. The purpose of this exam is to determine whether you need language classes or not. If you are a B1 or higher (B2, C1, C2) you will not be scheduled language classes.

There were at least 3 of us that spoke and understood French at a conversational plus level. There were at least 5 people who did not understand French at all.

Once your test is taken or you’ve “tested” out of your exam, you’ll be escorted to a small cubicle where an agent will be waiting for you. Here you will verify all your information and sign your CIR. The agent will ask you questions in regards to your address, family status, schooling, work, social security; you name it, it’s asked. I was asked for the validation of my visa (the confirmation letter you get at the end of validating your visa). Glad I had the inkling to print it out.

I decided to bring along my entire binder of goodies (all my paperwork and copies) just in case. I did not want to be without a paper that I did not think I needed. The agent was mightily impressed with my organisation of papers. I openly admitted that I had done my homework on French administration and did not want to be taken by surprise with anything. There was a misunderstanding with my married/maiden name but thankfully I had my copy of my birth certificate and that cleared it up!

File organizer. (Click to see product link)

After the brief exchange of questions, the agent printed out my CIR and I proceeded to sign it. The agent also explained that I will be scheduled for 4 days of civic classes that will be mandatory. After each class I will receive another attestation that I will need for when I renew my titre de séjour. The first two were scheduled with the agent before I left. He printed off the attestations for the two days and informed me that the attestation for my language level will be mailed to my residence.

The meeting with the OFII agent to sign my CIR took about 20-30 minutes. All in all, it was quick and painless and I was lucky and didn’t have any hiccups. I did my homework and came over-prepared to the appointment. I am still a little shocked after each step that it isn’t as complicated as I have read online.

Just remember to be organized in your paperwork, have patience when it comes to physical meetings, ask questions, and always smile! That last one is a little harder to do since we’re all wearing masks right now.

4 Comments

  • Guillemette alias Mademoiselle Guiga

    Hi Sarah,
    I couldn’t agree more about your last advice “Just remember to be organized in your paperwork, have patience when it comes to physical meetings, ask questions, and always smile!”
    It looks like you were really well prepared, I can see that you are now getting around the French administration!
    BTW, I love your file organizer, I may get one of those eventually!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Guiga! I feel the fact that being well prepared and organised is one of the keys to surviving the system; it can be a lot at times, especially for an outsider. I remembered from my year abroad that the french administration is one not to be messed with!

      And I’m super pumped about my organizer! I found it on Amazon, here’s the link.

    • Umar

      Dear sir i see your article its bery helpful for me. .
      I want to ask one question.
      My ofii appointment is 15 September and my visa long stay vls-ts is expired 18 October..
      I can take appointment prefecture advance. Because now appointment is available 25 September.
      My ofii Cir contract and procedure finished in same one day. After i can go prefecture its possible…
      I will wait your response
      Thanks

      • Sarah

        Hey Umar,

        I think I need a little clarification, I’m having a hard time understanding what you are asking. Are you wanting to know when to apply to renew your carte de séjour because your OFII appointment is so close to your expiration date ?

        Thanks,
        Sarah

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