How does one apply for a Carte Vitale after an absence of three years?

Dear All,

Very stressed friends of mine left France three years ago and no longer have their C Vitale.
They are coming back to France and wish to know how they can renew their C Vitales in the UK before arriving back in France.
They are planning on selling their house in Devon then buying in France.
They are not working and are a couple of years away from retirement age, and living off their savings.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Anna Louise

You don’t say on what basis they were eligible for carte vitales when they were here (working//inactifs), nor how long they lived here for. Possibly if they were in France for over 5 years they might have some kind of ongoing rights, but three years on I doubt it, and I suspect that it will be a case of applying again from scratch and proving current eligiblilty. Healthcare rights aren’t automatic, your circumstances are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that you are still eligible. I don’t see how they can “renew” from the UK if they’re not currently resident in France, not currently paying cotisations and haven’t paid anything in for 3 years. As inactifs this will involve showing that they meet the “sufficient income” criteria and have been living here for 3 months minimum at the time of application.
You did ask for advice - NOMB I know, but being inactif with no income can be a tricky status to juggle in France, so if they want to avoid more stress might it not be a good idea to wait a couple of years until they reach retirement age…

When a local couple arrived before retirement age… they had to take out Full Medical Insurance until such time as one of them reached retirement age and the UK pension arrived with associated health cover …

At that point… one was entitled to the CV and the other was also covered/attached … thus only needing the Top Up Mutuelle…

It can be expensive getting full health cover… as Anna says, might be worthwhile waiting…

Surely saying wait is over the top. If the hadn’t been in the system they would have applied under PUMA. Surely the easiest way for them to proceed will be to do that now and hope that by previously being on the system their paperwork will be quick to go through. I doubt that they can do anything before arriving in France but once they arrive I advise that they go to their local CPAM office ASAP.

of course, everyone should go to CPAM ASAP David, I am just pointing out what happened 2 years ago to a couple in similar situation…

It was expensive and they did bite the bullet… but it is worth considering the finances carefully, especially in view of current exchange rates…

Thank you David, Anna and Stella.

Hopefully having lived and worked in France for over 30 years might help these friends but guess they’ll have to wait and see.

Best wishes,

Anna Louise

Exactly. And applying to join PUMA on the grounds of residence, if you’re inactif, requires you to prove that you are resident, which means 3 months’ uninterrupted regular and stable residence… Hence the need to have an address and produce utility bills or whatever, going back 3 months.
Hopefully it will save a bit of time that they already have sécu numbers.

Came across this, which looks as if it might be useful:

being in France for 30 years…did they get French Nationality… or what… ??? just wondering…

According to that blog it wouldn’t make any difference - it’s written by a French national for French nationals, and it says that after being outside of France for more than a year you have to jump through the hoops including proving 3 months residence.

Be interesting to get to the bottom of this one… they can’t be the only foreigners who have moved back and forth…

What do you think is beneath the surface? I don’t see any great mystery, it’s all covered in the PUMA regulations.
Did you read the blog?


Sorry, you are misunderstanding… I meant… … after these friends have achieved their CV… checking what they did and who said/did what etc etc.

Yes, I did read the Blog… and other stuff elsewhere… and I am not quite so sure that it will be straightforward. I hope it will be… and wait for the outcome…


After 30 years in France, your friends will be able to work their way through the following website… which gives examples of virtually every situation…

I hope they can soon feel less stressed… :relaxed:

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