Carte Vitale

10:1 they'll ask for something else or it won't be the right type of translator.

Hi everyone who has joined in on this one.

I have applied for the translation and will return to the CPAM Office in Jonzac with it when it arrives, hopefully soon. In normal circumstances I would be in the 'revolution camp', certainly back in the UK, but my French is so pathetic, and as I need the CV urgently, to avoid paying the hospital bill, I have moved into 'coward mode' in the hope that they will look kindly on my application. So at the moment 'bascule le bateau' is off the menu.

Agree! And agree with Brian and Tim too!

Vive la révolution !

Spot on Jane, but not to be tolerated by anybody - the French included.

As can be seen from other posts, you have no obligation to translate these documents, indeed the obligation is on the French authorities to accept them.
I strongly feel that by not making a stand these tin pot dictators will find more and more ways to harass us.
They seem to think that the reason for their job is to pay their salary, end of story.

There is also an EU directive on recognition on all documents issued by government (it includes local registry offices and so on of course) to go with the three above. We have a folder with all four filed away somewhere, all in French versions naturally, which we will take to the 'offending' office. We have always gone to them in their office rather than haphazard posting. We were warned that if we post things in they will sit in an in-tray for months, so chose to give the bit of time. That way everything is seen and checked there. That is to say, take origins and copies to leave, then no dispute. Insist on a receipt for your application, to which you are entitled. If they get sniffy, as we have had once each, then slam the EU documents down on the desk and tell them you have checked French laws and there is nothing to say translations are required, add that as an EU citizen the documents you have brought are the present law. I had a total back down for my stuff, although not EU, the demand for a transcription of documents from my Swiss wife met with an apology when she demanded to see the head of that office, adding that if he or she was not available she was going directly to the prefecture to register a complaint (neither of has any idea whether or not that is possible, but it appears to have worked).

Thanks David, I also forgot to mention that my husband has a South African birth certificate (he is British - father in the Navy) and we still had no problems! Maybe it's all to come?

We have stamped our feet and threatened to contact superiors, prefects and so on and thus far have evaded birth certificates or anything else being translated. EU legislation has unambiguously regulated it out of the world but French bureaucrats think they know better. As I have said before, they have once even demanded a translation from my OH. Being Swiss, all of her documents are in three of the four national languages of her country, which includes French of course. But oh no, the know alls try to claim there is a law that demands transcribed French bits that must be validated by an approved translator. We also have printouts of the EU regulations, in French of course, somewhere here that if need be we slap on desks. They look briefly at the first page, hmm and ha a bit then climb down. David kind of answers the French law question. They cannot come up with anything because it is something made up by them on the basis of what might have been in the past, but challenge them and they cannot come up with the goods.

Ken, I wrote a letter with a copy of my birth certificate and got mine.

I believe someone posted about this in that there is no 'law', it is just unions being lazy.

Again, cite the treaties and send back your EUROPEAN birth certificate and any problems, SOLVIT.

We had to do a translation of birth AND marriage certificates. They asked for the birth ones we got them done straight away and then weeks later asked for the marriage one as well so back to the official translator and she did the marriage one. We got the translator from the cours de cassation website but she lived in the next village which is why we used her, that meant no sending of documents in the post. I think all 4 certificates in the end cost us about 40€. We still only have a provisional number though and no card yet!! We arrived in June last year and started sorting it out then! We have had money paid into our bank for money paid to GP and for prescriptions though, so it is working.

Good luck and hope it does not cost too much or take too long!

i can personally vouch for Suzanne at

Absolutely 1st class.

Not cheap but not expensive either. Completely bi0lingual. Please feel free to mention my name if you decide to contact her.

Tell 'em to stick it.

They are the ones violating the freedom of movement.

Write them with your birth certifacte and explain THEY are violating the:

  • Acte d’Amsterdam
  • Acte unique européen
  • Charte des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne

And if you get nowhere contact Solvit:

And what BS. If they are worried about fraud, surely your passport is the document that matters.

Good morning Ian

Yes you do need your birth cert translated. I have had the same experience recently.

Look in yellow pages under traducteurs. There is one in Jonzac.

Yannic Senechal 0546 4980476

Good Luck

I am sure that this is the French at it again. They totally ignore EU regulations and carry on as they always have done.

I would take this to SOLVIT.

I think interpretation is bang on (in more than one way!). We've searched code civile re translation of birth certificates (in french) and can find no law which states categorically that they must be translated. The requirement is apparently to stop people using fake birth certificates (can't remember where I read this but it may even have been somewhere on the British Consulate site) but I really can't see how getting a translation would reduce that.

I handed in all my papers in person only to receive a letter -4 months later! - asking for a translation of my birth certificate. A further 10 weeks saw a letter asking for a copy of my passport (which I had given originally) and the CV came through 11 months after I applied. The translation cost 25euros

Not sure there are any rules to be bent - just interpretations! We have found all our contacts with state employees to be polite and very helpful. That also includes the telephone and services people! However, I do speak some French and generally ask for help in such a way that they feel they want to help. The hospital and medical staff have been absolutely wonderful. Usually after each conversation I have, I thank them very much for their patience with my French (even when it has not been necessary). They always respond with pleasure to that. The old saying - it's not what you say but how you say it- is so true. I was an human resources advisor in employee relations in a former life so know how true that is!

We have an agent come to the Mairie one day a week. When we first arrived here 8 years ago we paid him a visit, handed over our untranslated Birth Certificates and next week we collected our Carte Vitale with no problem.

He really is a most obliging chap so perhaps the rules can be bent a little at the discretion of the person dealing with the application.

I am fairly certain it is official i.e. a change in the law. The recognised translator who did some work for us, seemed to know all about it.

We also found it paid to ask for estimates. One we asked wanted 1 euro per word and that included all the small print at the bottom of the certificate whilst the one we used charged only 35€ per completed certificate.