In France, health insurance is indispensable to cover various types of medical care (consultations, hospitalization, medicine...). To be well-covered, you can:

  • according to your professional situation, country of origin and length of stay subscribe to French health insurance (CPAM/PUMA) – more information below
  • remain with the Social Security organization of our country of origin (verify coverage in France)
  • purchase private health insurance in your country of origin : this will not cover work-related accidents
  • purchase private insurance in France : this will not cover work-related accidents.

Note : Private insurance in France is generally more expensive than in other countries, you should therefore compare with prices in your country.

How does it work in France?

The CPAM ( Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie) is the organization to which you can request social security benefits. With this organization, a part of medical costs will be covered. The rate of reimbursements varies according to the medical service practiced, but in general, coverage is usually around 60 %. For medicine purchased in pharmacies, coverage can vary from 15 to 65%.is the organization to which the scientist can request social security benefits. With this organization, a part of medical costs will be covered. The rate of reimbursements varies according to the medical service practiced, but in general, coverage is usually around 60 %. For medicine purchased in pharmacies, coverage can vary from 15 to 65%.

Once the request has been made, the CPAM sends a form to the applicant to create the Vital Card (la Carte Vitale). This form must be returned with an official photograph and a copy of proof of identification. With this card in hand the holder is guaranteed reimbursement within five days. One simply needs to show the card to the health professional or pharmacist.

While waiting for this card, you can see a doctor and ask for a receipt (feuille de soin) which will then need to be sent to the CPAM for reimbursement.

For the best reimbursement, you must declare the doctor to the CPAM. Not all general doctors practice the same fee rates and this depends also on which sector they practice. For example, the CPAM reimburses 16,50 € (or 70% of the official rate of 25 € miuns 1€ ticket modérateur) per consultation with a general doctor, whether he/she is registered in Sector 1 or sector 2. The registered doctor in Sector 1 applies the conventional rate fixed by Social Security, that is, 25 €, while Sector 2 doctors apply their own fees. Any over charge is not covered by the CPAM which calculates the reimbursement based on the conventional rate. Therefore it is important to declare the doctor at the CPAM and to refer to the health guide to find a Section 1 conventional doctor near one’s domicile in order to avoid higher rates.

The variation of procedures according to your situation:

You have a French work contract
 You are an EU national

Before leaving the country of origin, you must request the European health insurance card. This card can cover medical expenses incurred while waiting for the French Social Security to be granted. This card honors rights acquired in your former European country of residence concerning social benefits.

In any case, once in France, you benefit from Universal Health Protection (Protection Universelle Maladie, PUMA) from French Social Security upon the first day of work or enrollment in a university. The applicant must be affiliated with the CPAM in the Maritime Alps province.

Your spouse and children over 18 years old are must make an individual request at the CPAM for Universal Health Protection using this form.

Children under 18 are beneficiaries of one of their parents. They have the same rights for benefits under PUMA. The parent must nevertheless make the request for guardianship when making this request (formulaire de demande).

You can send your file directly to:


CPAM des Alpes Maritimes
7 rue Pertinax
06000 Nice

Or do it through the Welcome Center. The file for the PUMA includes this form and other documents according to your profile.


Documents to provide to the CPAM to register

The delay is generally several months. A statement of rights and a form for the request for a Carte Vitale will then be sent to the applicant.

You come from a third-party country

In order to obtain the Visa and according to the country of origin, you need to purchase private insurance in the country of origin before leaving for France to cover you for the first three months of your stay. At the same time, this will allow coverage for the beginning of the stay until the administrative steps can be taken with the CPAM.

The CPAM in Paris is the designated social security for all scientists and PhD students on a Passeport Talent Visa/residence card. Your employeur can request your affiliation for you online.

Or you can directly send the file to:

Passeport Talent
Assurance Maladie Paris
SRI - Talent
75948 Paris cedex 19


The file for the Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA) includes this form and other documents according to your profile.

The spouse and the child over 18 years old must make an individual request at the CPAM in Paris for Universal Health Protection using this form.

Children under 18 are beneficiaries of one of their parents. They have the same rights for benefits under PUMA. The parent must nevertheless make the request for guardianship when making this request (request form).


Documents to provide to the CPAM to register

The delay is generally several months. A statement of rights and a form for the request for a Carte Vitale will then be sent to the applicant.

PhD students please note: If you were previouly affiliated with the student section of the local health insurance and you now have a doctoral work contract and a passport talent residence card, you need to ask to change the affiliation from the local CPAM to the CPAM in Paris in charge of passport talent researchers on a work contract using this form.

You are a researcher and don't have a French work contract (except doctoral students)
You are an EU national

Before leaving the country of origin, you must request the European health insurance card. This card can cover medical expenses incurred while waiting for the French Social Security to be granted. This card honors rights acquired in your former European country of residence concerning social benefits.

You come from a third-party country

You have a work contract in your home country

If you are on a work contract in your home country during your stay in France, you cannot benefit from the Frech Social Security. You should be covered by the health insurance of your employer abroad or you will need to take out private health insurance for the duration of your stay in France.


You don't have a work contrat, but you have obtained a fellowship for your stay in France

If you don't have a work contract in your home county nor in France, but have obtained a fellowship, a convention de séjour de recherche, a hosting agreement and a passport talent researcher visa for your stay in France, you can make a PUMA (Protection Universelle Maladie) request at the CPAM. You need to justify residence in France since at least 3 months. Before these first three months of residence in France, it is better to take out private insurance in the country of origin in order to cover health needs during the transition.

You need to have a visa or residence card that is valid for at least 6 month to be eligible for PUMA. After three months of residence in France, you must send your file to the CPAM in the Alpes Martimes:

CPAM des Alpes Maritimes
7 rue Pertinax
06000 Nice


Or do it through the Welcome Center. The file for the PUMA includes this form and other documents according to your profile.
 

Documents to provide to the CPAM to register

The delay is generally several months. A statement of rights and a form for the request for a Carte Vitale will then be sent to the applicant.


Your spouse and your children

It is possible to make a PUMA (Protection Universelle Maladie) request at the CPAM for your spouse and children, if they can justify residence in France since at least 3 months. Before these first three months of residence in France, it is better to take out private insurance in the country of origin for your family members as well in order to cover health needs during the transition.

Your spouse and children over 18 years old must each make an individual request at the CPAM for Universal Health Protection using this form. Children under 18 are beneficiaries of your spouse. They have the same rights for benefits under PUMA. Your spouse and you children need to have a visa or residence card that is valid for at least 6 month to be eligible for PUMA. The parent must nevertheless make the request for guardianship when making this request (request form).

After three months of residence in France, the spouse must send their file to the CPAM in the Alpes Martimes:

CPAM des Alpes Maritimes
7 rue Pertinax
06000 Nice


Or do it through the Welcome Center. The file for the PUMA includes this form and other documents according to your profile.
 

Documents to provide to the CPAM to register

The delay is generally several months. A statement of rights and a form for the request for a Carte Vitale will then be sent to the applicant.
 

You are a doctoral student registered in a French university and don't have a French work contract
You are already registered with the Sécurité Sociale

The student social security has ceased to exist on August 31st, 2019. From September 1st, 2019 all students are automatically affiliated with the CPAM as students as soon as they have finalized their registration with the university. The doctoral student should however remember to update his/her carte Vitale and open an online account with the CPAM (compte ameli).

Once your studies are completed, you will have to apply for affiliation to CPAM under the general "régime" (as apposed to the previous student status).

You are not registered with the Sécurité Sociale

Once arrived in France, you need to register with the French social security as soon as you have finalized the registraton at the university as detailed in this document by the health insurance. Proof of enrollment is required to register with the health insurance. Health coverage will start at the date of registration at the university.

Students from UE/EEE countries and Switzerland: You will remain registered with the health insurance of your home country. If you don't possess a european health insurance card, you can register with the CPAM online.

Students from countries outside of the UE/EEE or Switzerland : You are a PhD student on a student visa " VLS/TS étudiant" and need to register with the CPAM online.


How to register with the CPAM :

The following documents need to be uploaded online. Only one single .pdf file can be uploaded per item. Multiple page documents (back and front of you ID card...) should be combined in one file before uploading.

  • Passport or national identity card
  • Visa "VLS/TS étudiant" and Ofii validation (or valid residence card)
  • Birth certificate including parents (please check if you require an apostille/legalization). A translation into French by a court certified translator is required.(The website will accept documents without their official French translation but this will considerably prolong the response time.)
  • A RIB (French bank account information for the reimbursement of medical expenses)
  • Proof of enrollment at the university (current year)
  • A recent proof of the French home address less than 6 month old (phone, electricity, gas bill or home insurance contract in your name)

Subesquently, the CPAM will assign a temporary social security number. Additional documents might be requested to complete your file.

Later on, the CPAM will send you your definitive social security number. You should then apply for your online access and request your carte vitale.

Note : Your spouse is eligible to register with "PUMA" via the CPAM Alpes Maritimes after three month of residence in France. Your spouse needs to hold a visa or residence card that is valid for at least 6 month. Please contact the Welcome Center for assistance.

You are a doctoral student on a research stay in France not registered in a French university
You are an EU national

Before leaving the country of origin, you must request the European health insurance card. This card can cover medical expenses incurred while waiting for the French Social Security to be granted. This card honors rights acquired in your former European country of residence concerning social benefits.

You come from a third-party country

You are a doctoral student registered in a foreign university and you have obtainede a fellowship, a convention de séjour de recherche and a long stay visa for France, then you can make a PUMA (Protection Universelle Maladie) request at the CPAM. You need to justify residence in France since at least 3 months. Before these first three months of residence in France, it is better to take out private insurance in the country of origin in order to cover health needs during the transition.

You need to have a visa or residence card that is valid for at least 6 month to be eligible for PUMA. After three months of residence in France, you must send your file to the CPAM in the Alpes Martimes:

CPAM des Alpes Maritimes
7 rue Pertinax
06000 Nice


Or do it through the Welcome Center. The file for the PUMA includes this form and other documents according to your profile.
 

Documents to provide to the CPAM to register

The delay is generally several months. A statement of rights and a form for the request for a Carte Vitale will then be sent to the applicant.

Good to know :

The Welcome Center has a partnership with the CPAM in Nice, allowing you to expedite the process. We can thus help you complete your files and submit them to the CPAM for faster service. Don’t hesitate to ask us.

Depending on your personal situation and your income, you might be eligible for the Complémentaire santé solidaire.

The Complémentaire santé solidaire is a complementary health insurance designed for lower incomes. The requirements for eligibility are a residence card, residence in France of at least three months and depend on your annual income. Please find detailed information and eligibility criteria on the website of the Sécurité Sociale.

You can apply for the Complémentaire santé solidaire :
  • online via your compte ameli
  • or by sending this form and required additional documents to your social security

Links and contact details: