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Carte vitale

The first thing that needs to be done in the long hard road to residency in France is getting on to the Social Security system and actually existing in the country. That means you need a Social Security number and the most important thing is the famous "green" Carte vitale. Without that you can't get a residency permit and you won't be able to do anything really.

You can only get a Carte vitale if you can prove that you have been resident in the country for more than 3 months.

A special form has to be filled in, yet again.

Documents will have to be collected together and then sent to the CPAM (the Security organisation in the area in which you live) and then there is nothing to do but to wait.

The documents will be the usual things: identity papers, passport, birth certificates, utility bill proving your address...Children also have to be "associated" to their parents' request for 'affiliation' to the Social Security (that's another form). An IBAN (a piece of paper from the bank detailing account details) will also have to be provided for you to get reimbursed.

Sometimes it can take up to a month or even two for things to come through. They might even write back and say you haven't sent such and such a document (even if you have) and you'll have to send it off again. If there's something missing, then there won't be a social security number given to you.

There really is little point in writing if you have a problem since they will either not answer, generally-speaking, or they will take even longer to get back to you. A phonecall is usually easier when you get someone on the other end of the line. But you will need to arm yourself with patience to get anything administrative sorted. Someone else can call for you, but you usually have to be in a position to give authorisation, otherwise they won't speak to them. That means you either have to be there or via a phone and say that you authorise the person to speak.

Top-up private insurance will also have to be taken out to make sure that you are fully covered. The French Social Security pays back most (the percentage depends on what you're having done on the Social Security system and what medical expenses you have), but not all. A top-up is necessary to get back the rest (although there are some types of treatment that will never be reimbursed 100% - dental treatment, for example).

French Admin can help you get hold of your Social Security number, and the Carte vitale. Just give us a call for a quote. We'd be happy to help. Click on the link above and contact us.

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