All about the illusive Carte Vitale and how you can get one!

All about the illusive Carte Vitale and how you can get one!
28 November 2018 Virginia Bastide
In Live

The ultimate question for all foreigners in France. What is the carte vitale and how on earth do I get it?!

Here is the lowdown on what you need to do and how Le Repertoire de Gaspard can guide you through the administrative process (hopefully eliminating a whole lot of stress for you).

The Basics

  • Health insurance in France is called la Sécurité Sociale, la Sécu or Caisse Primaire d‘Assurance Maladie (CPAM). The main website for it is
  • Once hired by Le Repertoire de Gaspard, we will automatically make a declaration on your behalf to the social security office who will then register you enabling you to get your Carte Vitale
  • This card covers you during sick leave, accidents or maternity leave during your working time (as long as you have worked at least 60 hours per month or 120 hours per quarter).

The Carte Vitale – what is it!?

The Carte Vitale is available to all French citizens aged 16 and older and all foreigners who are eligible for a French social security number.

This green card contains all of your health insurance information and you should present it to the doctor and pharmacy every time you visit. You will still have to the pay the consultation fee for seeing a doctor, but you will be reimbursed later directly into your bank account.

The Process

Once you start working with the agency, we will register your details with the social security office. Technically you will receive a letter from the office requesting you send a number of documents to complete your application. Generally this letter can take several months to arrive so we recommend that you to go directly to a CPAM office to kick start the process yourself!

Once you have worked with the agency for three months, you can prepare your required documentation (your dossier) and submit it to CPAM. Don’t worry, we give you an up to date list of everything needed! The administration at this stage can take several months (to be more specific, between 3 and 6 months!) but eventually you will receive a green health care card!


– copy of job contract
– DPAE (Declaration Préalable à l’Embauche) – please ask us to provide you with this
– three payslips
– birth certificate translated into French by an official translator. Check out
– French bank account details (bank name, account number, RIB, IBAN, branch address)
– proof of residence (referred to as a justificatif de domicile) – a utility bill from EDF should work
– copy of passport (bring original with you too) and visa (if applicable)

How does it work?

  • If you need to use a medical service, when you pay (almost always in cash or by cheque), the receptionist at the doctor’s office will swipe your carte vitale and you will be reimbursed with money going directly into your bank account. Normally you will receive the reimbursement within a week. An adult will be reimbursed 70% for a visit to a standardised general practitioner (25 – 28 euros).
  • Your social security coverage will commence the day you start work, so even if you do not receive your social security number or carte vitale for a while, you are still covered and will be reimbursed. Make sure you keep your fuilles de soins which you need to send off to the CPAM office once you have your social security number.

Hope this helps. We have tried to include information in this article which is as accurate as possible…. although things are liable to change!
Here at the agency we are always able to help you navigate the French and sometimes complicated administration processes 😉

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