The Medical Visit

by tiresomemoi


The last hurdle before getting a French visa is the medical visit. As a public service I will describe the process.

If you arrive at 9:00 as indicated on your summons you will wait in a very long line. All appointments are for 9:00. If you are smart you will be early, or very late, but not too late.

The end of the lineThe end of the line.

When you reach the front of the line you will be asked for your summons, one passport size photo, proof of residence, and your tax stamps. In that order. You may, or may not, be asked for a copy of your passport. Be prepared, the guardian of the desk does not have time to waste. No, she cannot make photocopies. No, you cannot reschedule your appointment. No, she does not sell tax stamps. No exceptions. You are not special. There are other people waiting, be prepared. Be polite. Smile.

After handing over your documents, sit down in the waiting area. You will be empty handed. If you are lucky there will be a seat, if not, stand against the wall.

Waiting, OFIINuns in plum and gray, waiting.

Later, your name will be called. Follow the guardian of the second desk into a larger waiting area. Sit down. Wait.

After awhile, a woman in a white coat will call your name. Follow her into a small room with flickering fluorescent lights.  Here you will be weighed and measured. Your eyesight will also be checked.

Next, you will be lead into a dark room where you will be asked to take off your shirt. Another white-coated woman will lean you up against a cold paper-covered machine which will send x-rays through your chest. The machine will magically and almost instantly spit out an image of your insides. You will wait shirtless until the white-coated woman tells you to dress. You will wait a bit longer and then will be taken to see the doctor.

You will sit opposite the doctor. There will be a big desk between the two of you. She will have a little book with your name on it. She will ask you questions. Do you smoke? Have you been immunized? Do you have any medical problems? She will scrutinize your x-ray. She will scan it for irregularities. She will make notes in your little book. If your x-ray is clear and your answers satisfactory she will smile at you. She will walk you back to the desk of the second guardian. Guardian #2 will hand you your x-ray. It is a gift. You can keep it. You will be directed to the smaller waiting area where your odyssey began. You will sit. You will wait.

You will wonder what exactly you are waiting for. When your name is called you will return to the main desk. Guardian #1 will ask for your passport. Hand it to her. Smile.

Clack, clack, clack. Three stamps. The sticker in your passport is your carte de sejour. You are official now. Say thank you. Wish the guardian a good day. You can now leave the country and come back again. You can work (or not, depending on your visa). This part is done. It wasn’t as bad as you’d expected.

Bust, OFIILiberté, Égalité, Fraternité

WelcomeShould you decide to make France your home.


Bring a book. This takes awhile.

The Paris OFII* office gets a B+ for accessibility. There’s a flat entrance, a decent sized elevator, a giant accessible restroom.

*Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration