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How to get a Carte Vitale and a French social security number in France?

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

The French administration and bureaucracy system can be intimidating but Sojoourn is here to help you navigate through successfully. We empower expats to succeed in their integration in France through networking events, thematic workshops, French courses and a vibrant and welcoming community.

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What is a Carte Vitale?

When you are living or working in France for more than 3 months, you are eligible for the French national health coverage. The Carte Vitale is an actual physical green coloured card with your photo, full name, French social security number and a chip. You use this card to identify yourself at every health-related occasion. For example, going to your general doctor’s office, buying new glasses, picking up medicine from a pharmacy or even your annual dentist check-up or blood test in a laboratory.

Your French social security number (numéro de sécurité sociale) is created automatically when you apply for the health insurance and then you get a Carte Vitale. They belong together.

How to apply?

You need to fill out an application form called "Demande d’ouverture des droits à l’assurance maladie” with every necessary information about your situation and send it by post with all supporting documents attached to it to your regional CPAM Office's post box (Caisse Primaire d’Assurances Maladie is the local department level of the national health insurance administration).

How to fill out the Carte Vital application?

A/ Your personal information (Identification du demandeur)

Simply follow the instructions and fill out the form with the necessary informations.

B/ Your employment status (Situation du demandeur au regard de l'emploi)

This section is asking about your employment status, if you are are working or not.

C/ Declaration of honour (Attestation sur l'honneur à compléter par le demandeur)

You swear that all information is correct, filled out by you and you will report any changes to the authorities as soon as possible.

What documents do you need to attach? (Pièces justificatives vous devez fournir)

You find all necessary and demanded documents that you need to attach to your application on the second page of the form. It depends on your nationality and status what you need to include in your application.

Do you feel lost in the process? Contact us for a free quote for our administrative guidance service.

Waiting time

Be patient. France is not known for its fast administration system but don’t worry it is in progress. First you will receive a temporary social security number in around three weeks. You can use this immediately to go to the doctor and get refunds later, but you will have pay in advance and do everything manually on paper (using une feuille de soins). You cannot yet set up a personal Ameli account with this temporary number.

In up to 6 months after applying you will receive your permanent social security number. Yeah! You are nearly finished. Now you can register yourself and open a personal account on (the official website for the French health insurance program).

You have two options now to request a Carte Vitale: on paper or electronically. When they sent you the permanent number, they also gave you a paper to fill out and to attach an ID photo and send it back by post to request your carte Vitale. The easier option is to do it online. Once you have your Ameli account you can upload a picture for the card and request it directly on the webpage. It takes about 1-2 months to get your card in the mail.

Keep in mind that if you are coming from the UK, some administrative processes might have been changed for you, since you are not a member of the European Union since 2021.

+1 Bonus tip for only our Sojoourn Club members: free European health insurance card (Carte européenne d'assurance maladie)

This is an exclusive content available only for the members of the Sojoourn Club.

Become a member in Sojoourn Club to enjoy exclusive events, personalised assistance, discounts up to 50% and much more! Start building meaningful relationships today!

Are you not living in France for more than 3 months? You cannot apply for the French social security but no worries you can still be covered. We present you our private insurance partner, PartirAssur. They are specialised in the insurance of expatriates and travellers around the world.

See you around,

The Sojoourn Team


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