So you’ve crossed the Seine, taken that Eiffel Tower selfie, and now you’re officially planting roots in France.

But before you dive deep into the vin and fromage, there’s a less glamorous but crucial rite of passage: securing your French Social Security Number.

This little number is your golden ticket to a smooth sail in the French system, so let’s demystify the process, shall we?

Social Security Departments In France CPAM, CAF, CNAV

If you are registered with France’s social security system (more on that later). In that case, depending on your personal and professional circumstances, you may be eligible for any of the benefits and allowances.


Social Security Number France 1

The CPAM, or Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie, is in charge of all healthcare, maternity/paternity, and disability claims. Ameli is the name of their website.

Your local CPAM will also handle any claims for accident or illness benefits (l’Assurance Accidents du Travail et Maladies).


Social Security Number France 2

The CAF, or Caisse des Allocations Familiales, is in charge of all family allowances (allocations familiales), such as childcare (PAJE), school grants (allocation de rentrée scolaire), housing benefits (allocation logement), and supplementary benefits (RSA or revenu de solidarité active).

Visit their website by clicking here.


The Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Vieillesse, or CNAV, is the department in charge of France’s state pension payments. Visit their website by clicking here.

PĂ´le Emploi

You can register for L’Assurance Chômage, or unemployment benefits, at the jobseeker’s service. Visit their website by clicking here.


URSAAF is the primary organization in charge of collecting social security contributions from employees, employers, and self-employed workers/entrepreneurs.

If you have a question about your social security payments, please contact URSAAF. Visit their website by clicking here.

You may also encounter:


Caisse des Retraite et Santé au Travail is the regional department in charge of the CNAV and CPAM.


Caisses générales de sécurité sociale deal with French overseas territoires and departments.

The ABC Of Social Security

Here is a glossary of useful social security terms to help you understand the French healthcare system.


This is the website for France’s online health insurance (FR). It allows you to track your reimbursements, download eligibility certificates or daily allowance details, and ask questions via email.

You will also find explanations of all aspects of the French healthcare system (primarily in French, with some English translations).


This is a one-of-a-kind, secure identity card that allows you to identify yourself to health insurance providers.

Once you have it, you will be reimbursed more quickly and will not need to send your doctor’s forms by mail. Having a Carte Vitale also entitles you to instant third-party payment at your doctor’s office and pharmacy.


The Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM) manages the healthcare expenses of anyone registered with France’s general social security system, including students.

The CPAM protects your right to healthcare. It protects against health risks such as illness, maternity, disability, and death.


If you don’t have a Carte Vitale or the healthcare professional you are seeing does not have the necessary computer equipment, they will give you a paper form called a “feuille de soins” at the end of your appointment.

You must complete this form and return it to your local CPAM branch (FR) to be reimbursed. On the top of your provisional certificate of affiliation, you will find the address of the CPAM to which you should send your form.


When you schedule an appointment with a doctor, the fee they charge will be determined by their sector (1, 2, or 3) and whether they have signed a convention that sets their fees at the standard rates for doctors in that sector.

Any doctor who signs this convention agrees to abide by the rates established by the social security system.

  • In Secteur 1, doctors have signed the convention and charge the national social security system’s fixed rates. There are no additional fees (dĂ©passements d’honoraires) charged.
  • In Secteur 2, doctors can charge extra fees. You will only be reimbursed for the rate set by the social security system, with any difference being your responsibility.
  • Non-conventionnĂ© doctors (Secteur 3) will charge additional fees. The social security system will only reimburse a small portion of the fees.

Find out more about doctor’s fees (FR)🔥


Social Security Number France 3

You can declare a general practitioner as your traitorous médecin the first time you see them. The médecin traitant is your personal doctor and the first point of contact for any health-related issues.

They will be able to provide tailored advice and, if necessary, refer you to a specialist.

Furthermore, if you declare your médécin traitant to the social security system and consult them every time you need medical advice, you will receive a higher rate of reimbursement.

For Example

You schedule an appointment with a secteur one general practitioner at the standard rate of €25.

  • If this doctor is your traitant, the social security system will reimburse 70% of the appointment cost, a total of €16.50 after deducting a mandatory 1€ surcharge on all doctors’ fees (participation forfaitaire).
  • If the doctor is not registered as your personal mĂ©decin traitant, then the social security system will only reimburse 30% of the appointment cost, which is €6,50 after the 1€ surcharge is deducted.


A mutuelle, also known as complementary health insurance, is a service that covers the costs that remain after the social security system has reimbursed them (for example, the remaining 30% of your doctors’ fees).

A mutuelle subscription is optional but recommended. However, before you can sign up for a mutuelle, you must be registered with the general French social security system.

In France, there are numerous mutuelle schemes with a variety of offers. It is a great idea to weigh your options before making a decision.

Preventive Medical Checkups

According to French Decree n° 2008-1026 of 7 October 2008, which is related to SIUMPPS (FR), all students in France are required to attend at least one preventive medical appointment during their time at university.

This appointment will include a free and confidential preventive health check-up, as well as an opportunity to discuss health promotion and prevention issues in a convenient and personalized setting.

This free appointment is available to all students who are visiting France for the first time. At the start of the academic year, you will receive an email invitation outlining the details of the check-up.

Provisional Certificate Of Affliation (ATTESTATION D’AFFILIATION PROVISOIRE)

When you sign up for the French healthcare system for the first time, you will be given a provisional certificate of affiliation. This document confirms that you are a social security system member and eligible for healthcare coverage.

The address of the CPAM branch in charge of your file is printed on the certificate. When requesting reimbursement, send all Feuille de Soins doctor’s forms, and your provisional social security number, to this address.

This certificate does not yet qualify you for third-party payment: you must pay all of your medical expenses upfront and then request reimbursement. Similarly, you will be unable to create an account on with the certificate.

You will then get your official certificate of affiliation once you have been assigned an official social security number (the minimum waiting time for this is approximately six months).

Registration Process French Social Security System

Social Security Number France 4

Every French resident is required to have a social security number (numéro de sécurité sociale), and it is this number that allows them to access the social security system.

At birth, all French citizens are given a social security number. Foreign workers, expats, and retirees in France, on the other hand, must apply for a social security number upon arrival.

Applications must be submitted to the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie in your area (CPAM).

Create Your Account On The Website

You must use a French postal address to register.

Upload The Required Documents

  • Passport;
  • Student visa;
  • Certificate of enrolment in education.

Download Your Provisional Affiliation Certificate To The French Social Security System

The French healthcare system will immediately reimburse you for your medical expenses.

The provisional affiliation certificate will allow you to complete your Sciences Po administrative registration online.

Complete Your Registration By Uploading The Required Documents

  • Long copy of your birth certificate or a standard birth certificate with your parents’ names;
  • Residency permit or visa validation certificate;
  • IBAN number (French bank account number).

Get Your Official Affiliation Certificate To The French Social Security System

Your account on the etudiant-Ă©tranger website will be closed once you have received your official certificate of affiliation, and your information will be transferred to your local CPAM branch.

Order Your Carte Vitale

Create an account at (FR): your account login information will be mailed to you. Order your Carte Vitale health insurance card online and track your reimbursements.

Final Words

Congratulations, brave expat! You’re now well-versed in the nuances of the French Social Security Number. Think of it as your backstage pass to the grand French opera of bureaucracy.

With this knowledge in hand, you’re one step closer to truly becoming one with the French way of life. À bientôt on the other side of paperwork!

VoilĂ , Sorted!

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