Carte Vitale

Youpi! Have cracked the Carte Grise and the insurance.

This morning my S1 arrived from Newcastle. Could someone please tell me which other documents I need to take to the CPAM office?

I know we're in France but surely something as important as social security would be handled relatively efficiently?

Oh dear, I did get a good laugh from that - you're clearly only just starting your Kafkaesque journey of the "Carte Vitale"

Figure 18 moths from when you started your business. Add extra time if you wish to argue with RSI on the need for translations.

The carte vitale itself doesn't make any difference to your health cover, it just simplifies paying the bill. If you have a social security number, are paying cotisations and have an attestation stating that you're entitled to health cover, then you will get exactly the same reimbursements as if you had a carte vitale, it's just a bit more faff with the paperwork.

Does anyone know how long getting the Card Vitale actually takes? I applied through my company mid-January, but have not heard anything since.

I know we're in France but surely something as important as social security would be handled relatively efficiently?

Any estimations?

Thanks John.
This is now an old post.
I got my Carte Vitale with no bother at all. I took all of the documents to my local CPAM office where they were extremely helpful. No need for translations!
They gave me an Attestation almost immediately and once I had submitted my photos the card itself came very quickly.
Thanks for all of the helpful advice from SFN members.


Go and ask! They will give you a printed list. There is no standard.

Local CPAMs have their own and varied interpretation of what the rules are. Some
want English documents translated, some don’t for example. I see someone has told
you you need that, but I didn’t (12 years ago), but a friend in another department did.

You will find this with all official things here because government is
departmental not centralised like in the UK.

I have found staff in the various offices very helpful.

Good luck.

Everything is scanned, copied and filed - Even once you get your CV.

I think France is personally responsible for the shrinking of the rainforest.

At the risk of stating the something obvious, always take copies of whatever you send off or hand over. In my case I had dealt with the S1 form some 10 years ago but when in discussion with our local tax office, 2 years ago, I was asked for the S1 form. I pointed out that I had already sent this off and got my Carte Vitale but was told that the offices never swap documents so I had to supply it again. I sent a copy and all was well. I am sure that this is easier than asking Newcastle for a duplicate!

This is how I solved mine:

1) Sent this to RSI/RAM (pardon my French;-) if there are any errors )


Caisse nationale RSI

260-264 avenue du Président Wilson

93457 La Plaine Saint-Denis CEDEX

Object : Pièces de d’état civil


Il y avait un an et j’ai fourni les pièces d’état civil comme vous avez demandé. Mais vous ne les acceptez pas.

Car je suis un citoyen du Royaume Unis et donc un citoyen de la Communauté Européenne, je vous réfère des actes de la Communauté Européenne qui facilite le mouvement des gens :

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

Le seul document qui est le plus important est mon passeport, mon extrait de naissance n’est pas. Le document est dans une langue officielle de la Commuté Européen.

Donc, je demande vous acceptez les documents fournis et la livraison de ma Carte Vitale.

Je vous prie d'agréer l'expression de mes sentiments distingués

Blah Blah

Sent in copy of Passport and copy of US birth certificate. I did get the 'long form' from the US. It was not Apostilled at that point.

2. Sent a complaint against RSI/RAM as per above with Solvit. I don't know if they did anything, but it can't hurt and I urge everyone who is having problems to complain to Solvit. They may not do much but if enough complain to form a pattern... ;-)

Hi Catherine,

Where are you now with RSI and the translation of the birth certificate? We are being asked for the same but don't feel we should have to pay to have a birth certificate translated. How did you tackle them over this?

Best wishes


And just to update this : Carte Vitale arrived two weeks ago!

Strangely the Attestation has not. Should I contact the CV people?

And even if you don't have your Carte Vitale yet - Fill out the form and get a doctor now!

Otherwise you only get reimbursed 30% (5€ vs 15€) I have just found out :-(

My gosh, within 10 minutes got a reply asking for more info!

That was quick!

Well going through several levels of hell with RSI myself. Seeing what OH went through sorted out my Birth Certificate and got a translation. Within days of sending it off, computer said NO.

In double fonctionaire hell as they insist on an Apostille too. But I had the wrong type of US birth certificate to get one. So after the run around in the US to get a version compatible (and paying 50 quid to get it shipped over as the cheaper way only acccepted US checks!) I then had the problem of getting the postage to get the 'free' Apostille (the department that does the Birth Certificate will not send it three doors down to the Apostille people. It has to go from the US to France, to the US and back.) And whilst the Apostille is free, they need a postage paid envelope. Groan. Well 60 euros later a I have a UPS return which I hope works. I am sure they'll insist on translation.

Anyway, I fired off copy of passport and birth certificate (in English sans Apostille) mentioning the above. Probably won't work, but I feel better.

Did stumble upon this EU site that may help others. Solveit!

"Unfair rules or decisions and discriminatory red tape can make it hard for you to live, work or do business in another EU country.

Thus, if you, as an EU citizen or business from another EU country, face extra obstacles caused by a public authority which isn't doing what is required under EU law...

...SOLVIT can help."

At the very least the more that complain may change things. Oh look, a flying pig!

It’s a form that you and the doctor sign which really means that he/she becomes your main doctor. I found it on the internet, downloaded and printed it. I asked around as to which doctor people preferred and altho’ I speak reasonably good French I chose one who had an excellent reputation for speaking English.

thanks for that Elaine - what is an attestation de medicin traitant and where do I get it from? I am type 1 and have had diabetes since I was 13 months old and have a gold medal for 50 years on insulin! you say the doses are different - in what way?

Hi Lesley
Although I haven’t got the Carte Vitale sorted I have been to the doctor as I too am type 2 diabetic. He did an examination and gave me a prescription for my meds. I took the packets and leaflets with me and he has used the same drugs. The only problem was the dosage which is not the same as the UK. We agreed on something close and he gave me a note for the lab to have a blood sample taken in a couple of months time so he can see hoe I’m getting on. I also took an “attestation de medecin traitant” as you need to have had this signed before you apply for your Carte Vitale. Worth making sure that you have that too before you make another long round trip.
You have to pay for your consultation, 23 euros, but will be able to claim most of this. Because he declared the diabetes as a long term illness the prescription is free as in the UK.

Good Luck

I so wish that I had read all of this 2 days ago before as new permanent residents we travelled a 200km round trip to Foix to be smiled at very sweetly because we had our S1 forms and our passports plus our tax d.habitation forms but no birth certificate or marriage certificate. We were very sweetly asked by a very happy and friendly lady for proof of our French bank account as well, so now armed with all the advice we will venture to Foix once more and hopefully succeed next time!

It seems to me that the UK issuers of the S1 do not really care at all about what happens to it, and the advice given on the docs with the S1's was useless as all it advised was to take passports.

There also seems a lot of contradiction as to whether birth and marriage certificates indeed do actually need translating - but as far as I could tell the lovely helpfull and very smily lady at CPAM in Foix did not mention anything at all about getting them translated but simply told us that she needed our birth certificates for both of us [no mention of the mariage certificate either but will take that along just in case] - hopefully we will have success the next time we venture to Foix to try the registration again but in the mean time far bigger problems lie ahead such as which kitchen should I buy and when will the floor tiles arrive and what bread shall we eat today?

I am still unclear as to what to do about my Diabetes as I certainly will require medication for my diabetic control within the next 6 months after my UK GP kindly managed to allow me 6 months worth of supplies by over prescribing because the UK only allow the maximum of 3 months medication in any one prescription although I had to tell him that we were travelling accross europe for him to even agree to that.

Guessing my next stop will be to find a friendly GP and perhaps to have a word with our very friendly Mayorie - just when I had thought it would be a piece of cake the cake it seems to be turning into one the size of a battleship and I am now very slowly munching my way through a porthole at this minute!

Steve, it is the arbitrariness that gets me. We were forewarned by French folk. They told us to go face to face with local offices, which we did. We went in to get forms, armed with all documentation. For us it is messy because my wife has a family book (in three languages, of course) rather than birth certificates but then the two Swiss passports for the girls... So, as Celeste says, in we went full of jokes and humour about ourselves, polite and all. We have had glitches over things for the girls, that is where the dossier comes in. We had, as Sheila says, a fonctionaire ignore our questions. When she did, my OH intervened and politely said that she had not answered the question so could we please take a step back. When she made a face and went forward I then said that if she had a problem with the question could she call her supervisor or superior to answer it for us. We have never got exactly what we needed, the two girls are still on my Carte Vitale and have no 'social security' cards. However, their medical stuff is covered and we get the payments for them we are entitled to. Eventually we shall pursue the issue to the bitter end. Since 2009 we have been to URSSAF, RSI/RAM and CPAM between them a dozen times, most recently my OH in December, we have NEVER given them a translated anything even when they say it is necessary. Each time they ask we say that under EU legislation it is not required and that we have the treaty with us if they would like to examine it, tapping on the dossier.

It is like this then. Politely, in good humour and even wittily go to them to enquire, then apply if that is the next step. Be prepared, do it there with the bureaucrat, ask questions if you can fill in forms in their presence (even if you do need to ask anything), have every document that might be required plus others in case, be armed with EU legislation. Avoid all arguments but be firm, when you know they are wrong then stick with the point politely and if not resolved ask for the boss. He or she will try to avoid that, especially if inventing rules along the way. The dossier of EU legislation is your sledge hammer for cracking the nut, if be.

Celeste, I think the difference was that I was registered as AutoEntrepreneur, and there is no office in Carcassonne dealing with the issue of Carte Vitale - it has to go through RSI/RAMGAMEX, and is in Bourges (Département 18), south of Lyon! Was NOT driving up there when I could do it my post and was able to correspond with them by email.