Healthcare in France

What coverage are you entitled to?

Healthcare in France

Since January 2016, all expatriates relocating to France are eligible for public healthcare providing they can prove they’ve been consistently living in France for at least three months.

Temporary/short-term stays

A temporary/short-term stay in France is classed as a stay of 90 days or less. Conditions for healthcare during this time depend on your nationality. If you are a citizen of a member state of the EU/EEA (or Switzerland), during this time you can access healthcare using your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) . Some countries have a bilateral agreement with France  that ensure you are covered for healthcare during this time, but this coverage is normally limited to emergency healthcare. Whether your country has such a deal or not, if you are not a citizen of a EU/EEA member state, you are advised to take out private insurance for the duration of your temporary stay.

Long-term stays

If you are staying in France long-term (over 90 days) you must enroll in the social security system (sécurité sociale) and register with Caisee Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM), France's principal health insurance fund.


France’s universal healthcare system allows all residents to easily access healthcare. Expats that have proof of ‘stable and regular residence’ for three consecutive months (principal home for these three months has been in France and will continue to be for six months of every year after), can access healthcare through Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA). This healthcare can also be topped up with complementary cover. Find out more about the PUMA scheme and complementary cover here.

Before you are able to prove ‘stable and regular residence’, you will need an alternative form of healthcare. EU/EEA (plus Switzerland) member country citizens will be covered by their European Health Insurance Card. Non-EU/EEA member country citizens will need private health insurance.


Retired expats from EU/EEA member countries receiving a state pension from their home country can access public healthcare under PUMA providing they have an S1 certificate (formerly E121). With this certificate, you do not need to pay into the French social security system in order to access public healthcare.

Retired expats from non-EU/EEA member countries are treated the same as other non-EU/EEA member country citizens; when able to prove ‘stable and regular residence’ for three consecutive months, you are eligible for public healthcare under PUMA. In the meantime, you will need private insurance.


If you are working in France, it is not necessary to wait the three months required to access healthcare as a resident. You will have immediate access to public healthcare under PUMA through your social security contributions (cotisations sociales).


Healthcare coverage for students depends on nationality, length of stay, and age: 

  • EU/EEA member country citizens (plus Switzerland): covered by valid European Health Insurance Card.
  • Non EU/EEA member country citizens staying for less than three months: need private health insurance.
  • Non EU/EEA member country citizens older than 28 staying over three months: access under PUMA scheme.
  • Non EU/EEA member country citizens younger than 28 staying over three months: you must enrol for student social security (sécurité sociale étudiante) with a student health insurance organisation. With this, you will receive reimbursements of up to 70% for your medical costs. Find out more here .

Further reading

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