URSSAF Payments or Private Health Insurance

When applying for a Carte Vitale, does anyone know if URSSAF contributions are sufficient to show CPAM that I’m ‘paying my way’, or would I need to take out private health insurance?
I moved pre-Bexit with EHIC cover and I have just passed 3 months, and I’m looking for work.

The CPAM criteria seems to class me as an ‘Early Retiree’ (i.e. being inactive), even though I’m a job-seeker.

I want the Carte Vitale process to go as smoothly as possible (doesn’t everyone?!) in order to get my social security number before applying for Carte de Séjour before the June 30 deadline.

Anyone with knowledge or experience with this would be appreciated.

Hello @taz Chris. My partner started on the basis of a “worker’s S1” to get his Carte Vitale, so not the same as your situation, sorry. However, he did swap to URSAF shortly afterwards when he started up as a micro-entrepreneour and that was completely acceptable. Not sure if this is a help or not and someone more directly similar to you should come along soon… :crossed_fingers:

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Have you approached your local CPAM yet ???

They are a fount of knowledge and very helpful, in my experience.


I’ll second that, Stella. They were inncredibly helpful to us starting out…

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If all else failes, having been here for 3 months, you are eligible to join PUMA @taz

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Most importantly (in my view) it to make contact with CPAM now and get things moving… in whichever direction the advise.

I know that our local office is awash with Brits… and with deadlines looming they are working their socks off…

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Thanks @smw Stella and @railang Angela, for your very quick replies, people like you make this forum wonderful.

Yes, I have contacted the English speaking phone line of CPAM and they were very helpful indeed, as you mention; so I have all the basics for the application (certified copies of passport, birth certificate, and translation etc etc).

After reading other posts on this website, it appears that after submitting the Carte Vitale application, CPAM then come back (eventually) with further questions if needed. I think the English-speaking assistants were just giving me the basics to get the application in, then other questions would come later. I’m hoping to pre-empt the back-and-forth because, well…June 30 is around the corner.

The entitlement to PUMA appears to have a caveat of being “stable and regular” in France for 3 months and the list doesn’t seem to include “inactive” people like me who are looking for a job but haven’t found one yet. One of the threads seems to say “full private” insurance would be needed, but that looks very expensive and lock me into a 12mth contract when I may find a job tomorrow, so I just wanted to see if anyone on this forum has had any similar experience or knows the rules.

What do you mean by URSAFF contributions?


You can read all about healthcare and how to apply to the French healthcare system . If you prefer to have the information in English the CPAM also have information in English and an English speaking helpline .

No you didn’t :wink: EHIC is only for tourists and not valid once you move to another country. As someone else said now you have been here 3 months you can apply to CPAM. If you are a job seeker you need to be signed up wiht the Pole Emploi to make that official. If you have problems with them saying that you need your CDS to sign up with them please let me know as this is not the case and I have a document from the embassy with the ‘rules’ for various French organisations who are erroneously already insisting on CDS’s.

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Get together all the docs you have just been told about… and get you (and them) down to CPAM asap.

CPAM will look at your dossier and advise you if anything extra is needed… and the sooner you get that (whatever) to them… the sooner the whole thing moves forward.

I’ve always found it quicker/easier to deal face-to-face… which is not easy with covid but is not insurmountable…

Although I know they get fed up with some folk who take-up an interview-slot only to find out that the folk arrive without the basics which they have been already told about… grrr.

best of luck

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Thanks Stella, but my local CPAM office in Paris is closed for interviews (Covid :roll_eyes:) they are only taking postal applications at the moment.
Thanks for the suggestion though.

Ah well… keep copies of everything you send them… and send it by “avis de reception…” so you have proof they have actually received it… and when.

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Thanks @toryroo Tory,
Actually, I think I am still a tourist for EHIC, because if I don’t find a job, get health insurance, residency etc, I will be returning to the sinking ship.

I probably have it all upside down, but I understand Urssaf to be some sort of contributions (cotisations) to social security if you don’t have a salaried job.

But thanks for the suggestion of Pôle emploi, I don’t want to receive any unemployment benefits, but they may let me register - I’ll give that a go, thanks.

Ahh I see what you mean about the contributions.

If you are slower than hoped getting work you can apply as a job seeker which will give you a 6 months carte de sejour (which once you find work you can swap for a 5 year one). For this you must be signed up with the Pole Emploi, which you can initially do online.

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@toryroo Tory, thank you! You are a star! Thanks for the suggestion and link - that is invaluable.

Sorry just reread your first post again. If you have savings you could apply for ‘inactive’ for your CDS as well, but you’d need to have health cover in place. This would give you a 5 year card directly.

Not sure how the contributing to get on the system works if you don’t have income. worth calling the English speaking helpline for Ameli.

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Oh, that’s better, I’ll apply as ‘inactive’ based on savings to aim for 5yr rather than ‘job-seeker’ for 6mth.
Thanks again, kudos to you, this is really really helpful.

Can you look for work with inactive on your carte?

Yes, I dont’ think it says it on the card.

@taz you can mention on the ‘comments’ section that you will be finding work but have the savings to keep you going in the meantime.

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@taz You don’t state what nationality you are so I will assume you only hold a UK passport.
To apply to PUMA after 3 months of French residency you must have been residing in France legally. The essential proof of this is by having health cover equal to that of a French citizen. An EHIC does not give you that cover. As an early retirée CPAM will require proof that you’re not covered by any other health regime so you will need to apply for an S1 refusal letter from the NHS Overseas Health Services.

To apply for a residency permit under the Withdrawal Agreement you must be able to prove stable and legal residency in France prior to 31 December 2020. The essential proof of this is by having health cover equal to that of a French citizen. An EHIC does not give you that cover.

If you are intending to find employment without being covered by a WA RP card then you will need a work visa. This can only be applied for while physically being in the UK. Any employer will have to prove that no other person from within the EU was suitable for the post.

I think you need to do a lot more research into your situation. There are many online groups who can offer professional advice. Good luck.


Good question…although freedom of movement is freedom to “live and work”. My initial CdS as an inactif was silent on this point, although the 10 year card specifies right to work. I imagine few Pole Emploi people have ever seen a WA CdS so may not even question it.

To Chris, you are in a bit of a Catch-22 but if you have been here for three months you are entitled to ask to join PUMA as an inactif. They will ask for evidence of resources as eventually you will get a bill from URSAFF for your contributions. Our first bill took around 11 months and you are charged 8% of your income above €10,000. But then you need to have income around that to meet threshold for your CdS.

You can alternatively join as a job seeker once registered with Pole Emploi - so follow Tory’s advice. You won’t get any benefits, don‘t worry about that! That is perhaps the fastest route. And won’t raise questions about how your health is currently covered.

If you apply as an inactif they can ask how you have covered your healthcare in the three months since arriving in France. And an EHIC doesn’t do it. You can’t be a tourist and a resident. There are I believe some flexible private health policies - click in insurance on top banner to get through to Fabian, and english speaking broker who deals with your situation all the time.

And you don’t actually need the plastic Carte Vitale in your hand, you just need to be accepted by CPAM and have a paper attestation. Usually takes a month or more to that stage and then another 6 weeks for plastic card. But Paris may be quicker.

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