Obtaining a Carte Vitale


We have had our house in the Vendee for six years, but have now decided to live here permanently. I am a little confused about how to go about obtaining our Cartes Vitale.

I am a freelance animation director, my Wife is now a retired Teacher. Neither of us are yet at official retiring ages.

Wht are the steps I need to take to achieve access to the French Health system?

Many thanks


Thank you Ian, this is useful for the top up insurance.


I have just joined this site so you may have resolved the issues concerning health insurance by now. If you have not I suggest that you contact www.amariz.fr - numero vert 0800 900 258. This company has been providing health insurance for people living in France for 20 years. The staff are bilingual as is the wesite. The insurance cover is provided by Lloyd’s of London

Good luck

Ian Swan

You are in the same situation as us. I am retired and have a state pension, but Jim is not yet 65.
Your wife needs to obtain an E121 from Newcastle to enable you both to join the french system. You will be named as her dependent until you have your own state pension.
When you register with a doctor hyou will need to tell them if you have any long-lasting conditions, which enable you to receive 100% reimbursement from your local CPAM.
Your health costs are paid by UK due to a reciprocal agreement for french citizens resident in UK.
If you have an E121 you will be exempt from social charges on your pensions, but not all tax offices in France realise this. For advice go to French-Property.com and look at their newsletter. I subscribe, it is free, and it is a mine if useful information.

Hello Ben,

Thanks for the input. I have made some inquiries into the UK end trying to obtain certain paperwork requested from the French end, but, it seems that being freelance or ‘independent’, throws up some complications.

I hope this thread comes up with some answers for both of us.

Good Luck with yours!


Hi Les

Im currently going through the same process, trying to get a carte vitale. My situation is my partner is french and im from new zealand, i’ve only just moved here on the 8th july on a long stay visa.

The information we got was, you need to prove to them that you have no social security or equivalent insurance back home. If your from new zealand Les, then you should be ok. its my understanding that if you have left the country for more than 6 months, have no income and dont plan to return then you are not covered by the relevant government departments. however im unsure how similar England/Australias policy will be to new zealands policies.

Hope this helps in some way… And maybe someone knows if having a french partner will make getting a carte vitale any easier?