Social protection & health care

Register with the french social security

In France, it is mandatory to have a public or private health insurance covering all or part of your health expense. As a scientist or doctoral student, you have mandatory options :

  • Register with the French health insurance (CPAM/PUMA) depending on your professional situation, country of origin and length of your stay
  • Stay registered with the health insurance of your country of origin, provided you will be covered in France
  • Register with a private health insurance in France or in your country of origin that will cover you in France. This will not cover work-related accidents.

There are several cases :

  • If the scientist or doctoral student has a French work contract
    • If the scientist or doctoral student is from the E.U.
      Before coming to France, the scientist or doctoral student will need to request a European health insurance card, which will cover the medical fees while waiting for the French social security to be granted. Once in France, the scientist or doctoral student will benefit from the Unviersal Health Protection PUMA (“Protection Universelle Maladie”) of the French social security upon the first day of work. The employer will contact the CPAM Alpes-Maritimes to request their employee’s registration. The CPAM Alpes-Maritimes will then contact the scientist or doctoral student to finalize their registration and “carte vitale”. The process usually takes one month.
    • If the scientist or doctoral student is from a third-party country
      Before coming to France, the scientist or doctoral student will need to register with a private health insurance from their country of origin that will cover them for the first three months of their stay in France. Once in France, the employer will contact the CPAM Paris designed for researchers / PhD students with a “Passeport/talent” visa. Otherwise, the scientist/doctoral student can contact the CPAM Paris themselves upon presentation of their visa to issue a registration request.
  • If the scientist doesn’t have a French work contract
    • If the scientist is from the E.U.
      Before coming to France, the scientist will need to request a European health insurance card, which will cover the medical fees while waiting for the French social security to be granted.
      Without a work contract, the scientist can make a PUMA request at the CPAM Alpes-Maritimes. In this case, they will need to prove their residence in France for 3 months at least. After 3 months, the scientist can send their registration request to the CPAM Alpes-Maritimes.
    • If the scientist is from a third-party country
      Before coming to France, the scientist or doctoral student will need to register with a private health insurance from their country of origin that will cover them for the first three months of their stay in France. Once in France, the scientist can make a PUMA request at the CPAM. After three months of residence in France, the scientist can send his registration request to the CPAM Paris.
  • If the doctoral student is already registered with a French social security
    Doctoral students who started their studies in the fall of 2018 and continuing their studies in the fall of 2019 will stay registered with the same health insurance free of charge.
    Doctoral students who were registered with a student health insurance in 2018/2019 and who will pursue their studies in the fall of 2019 will be registered with the CPAM of their place of residence. The carte vitale will need to be updated on their personal online account with the CPAM (“compte Ameli”).
  • If the doctoral student is not registered with a French social security yet
    Once arrived in France, the student needs to register with the French social security as soon as their registration at the university is finalized. Below is the list of documents to provide electronically on the portal https://etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr
    Health coverage will start at the date of registration at the university.

    • Passport or national identity card
    • Visa “VLS/TS étudiant” and OFII validation (or valid residence card)
    • Birth certificate including parents (please check here, if you require an apostille/legalization). A translation into French by a court certified translator is required.
    • 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 3 months old (phone, electricity, gas bill…)

The student will receive a temporary social security number from the CPAM. Later on, they will receive a rights certificate with a final social security number. The doctoral student can request their “carte vitale” via their personal online Ameli account.

Additional health insurance

On average, Social Security reimburses 70% of medical expenses. For better coverage, you can register with an additional health insurance (“mutuelle”). You will be able to be reimbursed up to 100% of your medical expenses.

To compare advantages and prices of health insurances before registering, you can check with the following establishments:

  • Student health insurances, only if you are a student: LMDE or MEP. You can also choose another private health insurance which is separate from the student social security in France. Yet, you will not benefit from extended benefits and the basic rates will be slightly higher.
  • Insurance companies (AXA, Allianz, MAIF, Groupama…)
  • Banks (BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, Banque Postale…)

We invite you to compare the different insurances to help you select the one which best meets your needs and budget.