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The social security system in France

(Please note that information may change depending on the regulations in force when you arrive in France.)


In this section you will find information about:


The French social protection system


The social security system in France is known in French as la Sécurité sociale or la Sécu. The health insurance branch of the Sécurité sociale is called Assurance maladie.

It is mandatory for all residents in France to have health insurance covering all or part of their health costs.

France’s universal health care system (PUMa) guarantees coverage of healthcare expenses for all individuals who exercise a professional activity or have been residing in France on a stable and ongoing basis for at least 3 months.

The French health insurance system covers reimbursement of healthcare costs for insurees and their minor dependents who are their beneficiaries (« ayant droits »).

The social security system in France is publicly funded by taxation and through social security contributions made by employees and employers.

On average the basic health Insurance provided by the French social security system reimburses 70% of medical expenses (medical visits, medication and surgical procedures). It is therefore advisable to take out an additional health insurance, called a mutuelle to top up the reimbursements of medical expenses for example for glasses or dental care.

Each affiliated member of the French Social security system has their own social security number. Since January 2016, adults can no longer be considered beneficiaries even if they are not in employment. Only minors can be beneficiaries up to September 30th of the year in which they turn 18 provided that they are not employed.


Registration to the French social security system is free and mandatory for all students in France, whatever their age.


The French social security system is basically a number of statutory schemes:

  • The compulsory general scheme which covers most employees and certain other categories (students, beneficiaries of certain benefits that have progressively come under the general scheme).
  • Various "specific" schemes covering categories such as farming and special schemes which cover civil servants, military personnel and other workers from the public sector such as SNCF, EDF-GDF etc …

For more information, please consult the website of the CLEISS (Centre of European and International Liaisons for Social Security), in particular the webpages dedicated to sickness insurance and accidents-at-work and occupational-diseases branch.







Affiliation to the CPAM (Primary Health Insurance Fund)


To register for membership in the French social security system, you need to submit an application to the CPAM (Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie) – the health insurance fund.

The procedures vary depending on your personal and professionalstatus and on your country of origin.




The signatory of a French employment contract automatically pays towards basic health insurance (in the general social security system) which is taken out of his/her gross salary. Generally this fee covers 70% of the insuree’s medical expenses and those of his/her spouse and accompanying children.

Researchers with "Passeport Talent Chercheur" status must apply for national health insurance cover with the Paris CPAM which centralises registration requests and handles various formalities such as reimbursement of healthcare fees. All adult members of the family must individually apply to join the national healh insurance scheme.

To be able to get reimbursement for healthcare expenses as quickly as possible, it is strongly recommended that you apply for registration with the Paris CPAM for you and the whole family as soon as you start work.

Once you have received a social security number, you will be eligible to receive reimbursements for any healthcare expenses incurred from your first day of employment.


Registration can be done online by the your employer or at the your Euraxess service centre.

To download registration form S1106 (Cerfa n°15763*02)click here

You will be asked to send the following documents :

  1. Registration form S1106 (Cerfa n°15763*02) duly completed, dated and signed
  2. A copy of your passport ID page
  3. A copy of your resident permit or of your VLS TS (visa + confirmation of online validation)
  4. A copy of your birth certificate showing filiation. It must be translated into French by a sworn translator if required
  5. A copy of your hosting agreement
  6. A copy of your work contract
  7. A copy of your first pay slip if it is available; if not, a copy of a letter of assumption to duty issued by your employer
  8. A copy of a proof of address in your name and less than 3 months old (lease contract/ recent utility bill or house insurance certificate)
  9. A copy of an official banking information slip showing IBAN number (RIB) in your name


You must send your registration documents to :

Assurance Maladie de Paris (CPAM)


75948 PARIS CEDEX 19



You are a student from the European Union or the European Economic Area and you hold the European Health Insurance Card (CEAM).

This name card makes it easier to pay for the medical care necessary during a temporary stay in France and gives you access to the public health service.

Present it during each visit to a health professional to ensure your care.

To be reimbursed, you must deposit the treatment sheet given by your doctor, your prescription and the copy of your EHIC to the CPAM of your place of residence.

Please note: its period of validity varies depending on the issuing country (ask your social welfare organization in your country of origin or consult the CLEISS website - Periods of validity of the European Health Insurance Card.


Researchers who are nationals of countries not belonging to the European Union but signatories to bilateral social security agreements with France, and who benefit from social security at home, may be reimbursed for their health costs in France.

Before their departure, they must check with their social protection organisation if the bilateral social security agreement between France and their country includes health and accident insurance.

If this is the case, they can obtain reimbursement of their health costs at the CPAM of their place of residence by showing a certificate of affiliation to the health insurance scheme of their country with proof(s) of their expenses.




If you come for a stay of less than 3 to 4 months, you will not be able to benefit from health insurance cover from the French Social Security.

Non-EU PhD students who are not registered at a French institute of higher education, researchers on a research internship with a scholarship and their accompanying family members must take out a private health insurance which will cover their health expenses during their stay in France.

Before departure, it is sometimes possible to take out private health insurance in the PhD student or researcher’s country of residence. In this case, the visiting Phd student or researcher will come to France with an insurance certificate. He/she will not need to take out private health insurance in France. Otherwise, they can subscribe to a private health insurance in France.

If you wish to take out a private health insurance in France, we recommend that you study and compare the various offers available. Amongst many other companies, ACS AMI and AXA insurance via the Fnak website have insurance offers tailored to the needs of international students and researchers.


Access to care


The emergency numbers allow you to reach the emergency services 24 hours a day free of charge. Be sure to specify the following 3 points:

- Who am I? victim, witness, etc., give a phone number to stay reachable.

- Where am I? give the precise address of the place where the services must intervene.

- Why am I calling? Specify the reasons for your call.


European emergency number: 112 (emergency centre closest to the call point)

SAMU: 15 (medical emergencies)

Firefighters: 18 (serious emergencies)

Emergency number dedicated to deaf and hard of hearing people: 114

Free European number for missing children: 116000

SAMU social: 115 (emergencies concerning homeless people - 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.)

Allo abused childhood: 119

Pharmacies on duty: 3237 or