Hi all, I wonder if anyone can give me any advice?

My husband is a plumber and has got a job working here but not really as a plumber more a do everything but lol. Anyway hes been told to register online as a handy person as the plumber registration is too difficult on the auto entrepreneur site,

We tried to do this the other day and seemed to get quite far but then got stuck on a health care question, does anyone know if you have to have health insurance before you can register to work?

Or can i pay someone to do this registration for us to make sure it gets done correct?

Did i mention our french is not good yet :(

Hope someone can help thanks for taking the time to read this xx

you're more than welcome John ;-)

Thank you for that invaluable info Andrew. I did a half day AE course locally but that was never mentioned.

If it says you have to pay 55€ and you're on the official site then it should be right. As I said earlier, I've had no dealings with the chambre de métier et de l'artisant as I've always been prof libérale where there's nothing to pay as everything is direct. This is where Tracy and others who have gone down the artisan route should be able to help. Failing that a visit to your local chambre de métiers may help ;-)

Hi John, Sheila is right, the idea obviously being that you earn money and pay your cotisations from that. But AEs can remain so for up to 2 years, enjoying carte vitale etc without earning, and so paying, anything. This is one of the many reasons Hollande wants to scrap the scheme as it's very unfair compared to all the others. I've been salaried before 2009 and AE since and paid my way (around 6000€ in cotisations per year) but there are many, over half all AEs (French and foreign) who earn very little or nothing. The scheme was set up to enable salaried workers to work legally rather than on the black, or to get people off and running for a year or two befor they moved over to a standard set up. I don't think anyone ever imagined it to become a pseudo-standard way of doing business (I say pseudo as many companies simply won't work with AEs a sub class!).

Will Hollande bring into effect his changes to the AE scheme? He hasn't said a thing since saying he'd scrap it back in April. On verra...!

as soon as i check the box artisan it directs me to the chambre de metiers site anyway, so i have to fill that it before it lets me go any further, It says ive to pay 55 euros, does that sound about right?

Thankyou so much for all your replies x

Sheila, Are you assuming that just becoming an AE will get you a Carte Vitale? I would have thought that one has to pay social insurance to qualfy?

No idea on that one at all, except for the fact that noone leaves school at 16 here, unless it's for an apprenticeship or other scheme in which case AE isn't needed. Given that most 30 and 40 somethings don't want to be self employed, I can't see youngsters wanting to risk it :-D

There is always the question on whether he did an apprenticeship or studied his trade at college and either way has a paper qualification in which case the EQF standards predetermine whether he is a professional, a craftsman, or simply an artisan. Either way he then needs to go to the chambre de métiers. France has not been playing exactly by the rules they even helped draft for the EQF, so go here:

and start looking and then you can also go to the French version of whatever you find and slap it on the desk of whoever seems to be putting their spoke in the wheel.

the thinking behind that is to get round any qualification problems and registration with the chambre de métiers...! Even so, it's still artisanat rather than prof libérale!

no hes registering as a bricolour as hes been told to by the guy hes working for

If it's for your OH and he's a plumber then it's definitely artisanal. If that's the case, you may have to have a word with the chambre de métiers or speak to Tracy Thurling (her OH is an artisan AE) who will probably be able to advise you (I'm strictly prof libérale and haven't had any experience of the artisanat side which is slightly different!). Try re-doing the forms from scratch too ;-)

Thanks for your reply, i filled it in yesterday an got an email today saying

Your statement of 03/06/2012 was refused because:

Post your correspondent URSSAF

:Artisanal and non-commercial activity

So i prob should have ticked the liberele box maybe. Do i just start it all again?

Hi Claire,

Firstly, you'll be with the RSI, not the CPAM, for health care so no point going to see them unless you're going to be in a salaried job! Secondly, yes you can apply to be an AE without already having a social security number, you just tick the box "ce numéro ne m'a jamais été attribué" when they ask you to give your numéro de sécurité sociale.

Bonne chance ;-)

hi andrew, no we are not in the system at all, thats what i meant, do i have to apply for the social security number before filling in the AE form? and can i join cpam online?

Thanks, Catharine. I've already registered myself as Enseignant and added him as beneficiary. However, will look at Maison des Artes and see what I can find out. Either way, we should both be on a Carte Vitale coverage soon. I thought my French was ok, but found out it's not as good as I like to think when tackling AE registration.

And ....even if you don't qualify for CMU - if you are on a moderate income, you may well be entitled to an aide towards your mutuelle. In this case you choose the mutuelle and the RSI send you a 'cheque' which you then give to the mutuelle - this can be up to around 50% of the cost so well worth applying for.

Sheila - Henry should register with Maison des Artistes - it works a bit like the AE scheme but for artists and you can then be attached to his Carte vitale. If the teaching / B&B takes off then you can set up as an AE. Have a look at the Maison des A site and shout if it is not clear.

Thank you Jo. I didn't know that either. Extremely useful post.

Hello Claire. You only need to buy top up health insurance if you are earning more than the threshold earnings level . this is €11,657 for a couple.

There is a national benefit which all low wage earners in France who have lived here for 3 months or more need to use and is called La CMU complémentaire. CMU stands for Couverture Mutuelle Universal and is the name for 100percent health cover

CMU complementaire is means tested, so even if you earn more than the amount above, you will still be entitled to a partial "couverture", right up until about 17,000 € of earnings. After Tax.

here is the link to all the info about CMU. You will get cover from the day you apply if you are eligible and it's absoloutely vital if you want to avoid huge hospital, gp and prescription bills for anything. French healthcare is better than in the UK generally and you are more welcome to argue and shop around for a second opinion I've discovered.

If you think you may need CMU, you ask the RSI once you have registered as an auto-entrepreneur, the RSI being the organism which oversees healthcover for self employed people. I think it would be the CPAM if you use the "cheque a la personne" system of working.

Plummers are "Artisans" and your partner will get help from your nearest 'Chambre des Metiers et des Artisanats' (Hope I spelled that right). and you also have to register at the Chambre de Commerce to become an auto-entrepreneur. In fact I think you have to go to the chambre de commerce first.

It's not hard to register, and doesn't cost a lot, I think it was 15 euro for the card we needed as commerçants, but be prepared for fun and frolics with paperwork, especially from the RSI and read everything you sign at the Chambre of Commerce carefully, even after signing, because they made two errors with us and we've been waiting 3 years for permission to trade.

good luck and learn as much French as possible. My tip is to watch French news and then try to follow the subtitles on a simple slapstick style comedy each night. I recommend "scenes de menage". Hilarious.