Becoming French residents & social security advice

Hello all,
We have finally decided, in all of our world wanderings (we are outdoor pursuits instructors), that the French Alps is somewhere that we would really like to call home. We have found a tiny apartment that we could buy outright (so no mortgage needed - those years of saving hard might now be paying off!) And would appreciate it if anyone could point us at a French site that would explain the process to becoming residents here?

On a separate note, we applied for our social security numbers this time last year but have still not heard anything. Where should we go to to enquire further, would this be the mairie or is there a phone number?

Thanks in advance

If you’re not resident/working in France, France won’t issue you with social security numbers. You are covered by the social security system of the country where you live/work. It’s not clear from your posr where that is, but it doesn’t sound like it’s France.
If you’re EU citizens you have the right to live in France subject to meeting the conditions of Freedom of Movement, which are different dependent on status (worker, retired, early retired etc). If you’re not EU citizens you apply for a visa. The details are all on the French government website.
Hope this helps.

This is the site Anna refers to.

If you are European you can just arrive at the moment. Then if you are working and paying into the social security system, either by having a work contract or having set up your own business and affiliated it, you can sign on straight away with social security at the appropriate caisse. If you aren’t working then you have to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself (there are set thresholds) and wait three months to sign up with social security. Your social security number will be issued once you your application to join the state system has been accepted. You don’t just get one (unless you have a specific visa).

Another useful site is this one


Also hopefully you have French recognised qualifications as outdoor pursuits instructors in France, a fairly highly regulated profession, if you intend to continue setting up as workers here permanently?

What one can get away with as a seasonal, or occasional profession, in a regulated field, is different to what one can do on a permanent basis, especially if the current home country qualifications are not recognised, and in view of the upcoming Brexit…showing that you will be able to earn income will be one of the bases for obtaining a social security number, unless you are retiring and living off a sufficiently large pension.

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Here might be a good place to start with finding out what is required and what you need to do to get an “agrément préfectoral”:

Thanks everyone that’s really useful:

  • We are international mountain leaders and have our Carte Professionnelle to work leading hikes in France
  • in addition we are seasonnaires in Morzine, this is our second season working (third season here!) And last December our employers provided the paperwork and sent off for our social security numbers. Some people in the company got theirs almost straight away, 12 months later we are still waiting and that’s why I need to know how to chase it up
  • we are uk residents but want to remain in the EU - We are currently looking at buying a studio (within our means!!) So that we have a base here as we now have our Carte Professionnelle and envisage much more of our work being here in the Alps so we would probably set up as auto entrepreneurs although we much prefer being freelance as we are currently!

Mmm… this is fascinating. How are they managing to pay you. Must be a different scheme from that of new arrivals in France… ???

I have someone who has now been employed for several months, but cannot be paid until she can provide the employer with her Social Security number… CPAM have been very helpful, but it does take a long time… I know she is expecting a bumper wage-packet when everything is properly sorted. :hugs:

Oh my goodness that sounds difficult!
I wonder if it’s to do with us being seasonal workers as we definitely got paid all last winter. Maybe it’s like emergency tax but emergency social security number. We definitely also paid towards our social security, it’s written on our pay slips.
So is it cpam that I need to contact to chase up our ss number?

I’ve no idea about your situation.

Our local branch of CPAM/Assurance Maladie are dealing with getting the Newcomers (EU but not Brits) into the Health System etc… at least one of the couple needs to work… !!!

I suggest you take your payslips along to CPAM and they will hopefully be able to track you down from those.

CPAMs used to be regional in which case you would need to go and ask at the one where you worked, but probably these days they are linked up nationally.

Auto/micro entrepreneur is normally regarded as France’s “freelancer” status. What differences are you seeing? Or when you say freelance, do you mean, employees rather than self employed and moving from one temporary job to another?

I think this might have been mentioned before. It’s not how it’s supposed to work. The employer should be paying them, and should be paying their cotisations under a temporary number until the permanent number is issued. Not paying a salary when it’s due is an infringement of the labour code under any circumstances.

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The poor girl has done everything CPAM have told her to do… it may well NOT be how it is supposed to happen, but it is what it is… she now has a temporary number (as you mention) and this should open the flood-gates of money-money-money :hugs:

I’m sure she has. It’s her employer that hasn’t done what they should.

Brilliant thanks Anna, that’s the bit I needed, I feel a trip to Annecy coming on :grin::raised_hands:

Check times/days before you go. A lot of them now only have a few hours a week for walk in appointments, and the rest of the time you can only get appointments for arrĂŞte maladies. No longer as accessible as they were.

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I worked in France in the 70s when I was in my teens. When I moved here in 2007 I was told I needed to get my old sécu number from CPAM. So I sent a letter off, thinking, no chance of this happening. Within a fortnight they sent me a letter with the number.
Have faith.

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Yes, me too. I was a language assistant in 1987. When I moved to France in 1993, my employer found my old SS number from that time via the URSSAF.