You are a not a European (EU/EEA) or Swiss student and you have a "Student" visa

All you need to know about
the French Health care system

In France, healthcare expenses are divided in 3 parts:

  • The mandatory portion (part obligatoire), covered by the French health insurance (CPAM)
  • The fixed contribution (part forfaitaire), paid by all
  • The additional portion (part complémentaire), reimbursed by your complementary health insurance if you have one
    More information: tab “Complementary health insurances / CSS”


The referring doctor (médecin traitant)

He/She is the doctor (generalist or specialist, from sector 1 or 2) who you freely choose and report to the French health insurance with his/her agreement.
He/She manages your medical records, coordinates your care pathway and allows you to receive better refunds.


Costs and refunds

Health costs depend on your doctor. They are 2 sectors.

Sector 1 doctors, generalist or specialist,  apply a costs fixed by the State and do not charge additional fees.

Sector 2 doctors, generalist or specialist, are allowed to charge additional fees (called dépassements d’honoraires) that are not covered by the French health insurance. Costs are different, so are the refunded/paid portions.

If you consult your referring doctor, the French health insurance refunds 70% of the consultation costs.

If you don’t consult your referring doctor, the French health insurance refunds 30% of the consultation costs.

It is therefore very important for you to ask your doctor for their sector and price before booking an appointment.


To find a (referring) doctor,
consult our page: Health directory.


How payments and refunds work?

  • If you don’t have your Carte Vitale (yet) or you only have a provisionnal French insurance number:

You will have to pay all health costs to the doctor/pharmacist who will give you a “Feuille de soin” to complete, sign and send to the French Health Insurance at the following address:

You live in the Rhône department (69):
CPAM du Rhône
69907 Lyon cedex 20

You live in the Haute-Savoie department (74):
CPAM de Haute-Savoie
2 rue Robert Schuman
74984 Annecy Cedex 9

Once refunded, you will get a proof of refund (“décompte”) by post mail.
If you have a complementary health insurance in France, you can sent them this document to get refund from the additional portion of your health costs.

  • If you have a Carte Vitale

-The doctor can ask you to pay the health costs.
The French health insurance will then refund you automatically (= you will not have documents to send).
You can check the refund process on you Ameli account.

-The doctor can ask you to pay only the costs that are not refunded by the French health insurance.

In both case, you can download the proof of refund (“décompte”) on you Ameli account and sent it to you complementary insurance in France if you have one.


Watch the Campus France tutorials – English and Spanish subtitles

The enrolment for the French Health Insurance is mandatory and free of charge.

Why do I need to enroll?

The enrolment for the Assurance Maladie means your health costs will be partially covered during your studies.

When to enroll?

You can enrol as soon as you are in France and have your final certificate of enrolment at UCLy.

How long does it take?

It can take up to 2 months for your application to be processed and your documents verified.
Therefore, we advise you to take out a private health insurance before your departure in order to be covered during the first weeks of your stay in France.

How to enroll? Step by step – List of supporting documents


Step 1: Before your arrival

Prepare the following document (in PDF version)

  • Full copy of your birth certificate/excerpt of birth certificate with parentage
    Make sure you don’t crop the document (stamp and header must be visible)
  • Official translation in French*
  • Passport
  • Valid « Student » visa


*The translation is not needed for following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores included), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Balearic and Canary Islands included), Sweden, UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar included).


 Step 2: Once in France

Prepare the additional documents (PDF version):

  • Validation confirmation of your “Student” visa
  • IBAN of your current account (saving account is not valid)
  • School certificate at UCLy

Additional documents may be asked according to your country of origin.


 Step 3: Enrol for the French Health Insurance (Ameli)

  • Prepare all supporting documents before registering
  • Go on
  • Fill the mandatory information (last name, first name etc.)
  • Submit the supporting documents (passport, visa and validation, certificate of enrolment etc.).
  • Create your personal account


Once created and few weeks after, you will receive your provisional French social security number.


Caution: If additional documents are needed, you will receive a post mail (no email or online notification)! Pay attention to their letters.

  • After a 2 months delay and once your application is completed and verified, you will receive your final Social Security number (15 figures)
    On your personal account, you can download your certificate of affiliation while ordering your Carte Vitale.


Step 4: Getting your Carte Vitale

You will receive the form for the Carte Vitale by post mail.
You will have to check the information, sign (black ink) and provide an ID photo and a copy of your passport. These documents must be sent back to the French health insurance by per post (provided envelope).
Having a Carte Vitale makes it easier to have your healthcare costs reimbursed.

If you haven’t receive the form, go to a French health Insurance office.

Caution: your card will need to be updated once a year, and whenever you have a change in your family/professional situation. You can update it at the terminals available at all local health insurance funds (“CPAM”) and at most pharmacies. This guarantees that all of your information is up-to-date and streamlines the reimbursement of your health care expenses.


Step 5: Create you Ameli account

Once you have your Carte Vitale, you can create you Ameli account to check your refunds and update your personal information that is crucial for smooth communications with the French health insurance system, and ask any questions by email.


Step 6: Declare a referring doctor (“médecin traitant”)

Your primary-care physician is the health professional who will be looking after you during your stay in France. She/He will prescribe the care you need and refer you to a specialist if appropriate. Your care costs will also be reimbursed at a higher rate.
To find one, please consult our health directory.


Good to know!

You should know that the CPAM partially covers your health expenses but not all of them. In order to be better reimbursed, it is strongly recommended to take out a complementary health insurance. Find out more on our tab “Complementary health insurances / CSS”.


Don’t forget to watch the Campus France tutorials
(English and Spanish subtitles):


You have difficulties to access health services or to pay for your health care costs ?

In order to be better reimbursed, it is strongly recommended to take out a complementary health insurance.  A large choice is available and offered by insurance companies, banks, student complementary insurance companies etc, do not hesitate to compare the different offers and ask for a quote.

The amounts of reimbursment depend on the contracts and compagnies.

Advice: Verify that your complementary health insurance covers you in your student and private life.


The Complémentaire Santé Solidaire – CSS

Under conditions (read below), you can benefit from the Complémentaire Santé Solidaire (CSS), an exceptional and punctual support from the CPAM (Ameli).

According to your financial resources/incomes and the composition of your household, the CSS is without a financial participation (free) or with a financial contribution.

The CSS covers every members of your household (partners and dependents under the age of 25 years old).

With the CSS, you won’t have to pay:

  • The doctor
  • The dentist
  • The nurse
  • The physiotherapist (kinesiologist)
  • The hospital
  • Your medicines


To benefit from the CSS, you have to:

  • Being affiliated to the CPAM (Ameli)
  • Your financial ressources do not exceed the limitation (fixed every 1st of April)


Check if you could obtain the CSS (simulator):

Can I obtain the CSS?


Every person who is asking for the CSS must provide a tax notice (avis d’imposition).
If you lived outside France over the past 12 months before asking for the CSS, you have to provide all proofs of your fiscal and social situation in this country.

The 1st year you ask for the CSS, if you do not have these documents, you can provide a sworn statement mentioning that you do not have any proof of your fiscal situation.

Caution: you will mandatory have to provide a tax notice (avis d’imposition) at the end of this 1st year.


How to ask for the CSS?

Connect on your account, click on “Mes démarches”.

List of supporting elements:

  • N° allocataire from the CAF
  • List of person composing your household
  • Proofs (depending on your situation: tax notice, property tax, CAF certificate etc.)
  • Organization that will administer your CSS (mutual company, insurance company, pension institution etc.)

To choose your organization, get inform on this official website:


The Assurance Maladie will have 2 months to process your application.

If your application is validated, you will receive a notification of your rights to the CSS, your subscription form and a debit mandate.

Your rights to the CSS will be opened after sending back the completed, signed, dated subscription form and a bank account identification or any other means of payment. You have 3 months to send these documents.
Caution: After these 3 months, you will have to reapply for the CSS from the begging of the process.


When the Assurance Maladie received your documents, you will receive a proof of the right (attestation de droits). Update you Carte Vitale and you won’t have to pay for the doctor, dentist, nurse, physiotherapist (kinesiologist), hospital and/or your medicines.


Your rights to the CSS are established:

  • From he 1st day of the month following the validation of your application
    (For example: if your application has been validated the 25th of June, your rights are established on the 1st of July)
  • In case of emergency*, from the 1st day of your application
    (For example: if you apply the 27th of May, your rights are established on the 1st of May)
  • In case of hospitalisation*, up to 2 months before you admission to the hospital
    (For example: if you have been hospitalised on the 19th of April, you rights cover your costs from the 19th of February)

*In these situation, don’t forget to provide all proofs and supporting documents (hospital report, medical bills etc.)


All infos about the CSS (only available in French)


Memo – Complementary health insurance – CSS (only available in French)

Do you need help?

If you have any questions about your application with the French Health Insurance or your reimbursements, please contact the CPAM directly:
Line in French
Tel: 36 46 / From abroad: +33 184 90 36 46
Line in English
Tel: 09 74 75 36 46 / From abroad: +33.974.75.36.46

If you need additional information or guidance, the International Student Desk will be happy to support you.