Health coverage: a compulsory requirement

French law requires all individuals living in France to have health insurance

This health insurance covers medical expenses, such as doctor visits, prescription medication, hospitalisation, surgery, etc.

Your age and conditions of your stay in France will determine which of these following requirements is applicable for you. You either must:

  • Join the French social security system (Sécurité Sociale, commonly known as “la Sécu”) to be covered by health insurance, or;
  • Remain affiliated to the social security system of your previous country of residence (make sure it will cover your medical expenses in France), or;
  • Take out a health insurance in France, or;
  • Take out a health insurance in your country of residence.  


It is compulsory that you arrive in France with civil liability insurance and healthcare covering repatriation

We strongly advise you to take out a private insurance for the 4-month period following your arrival while completing the French social security application: registration may take several weeks. Check with the insurance company the terms and conditions of the coverage you have chosen. Make sure that your insurance guarantees repatriation and that you are covered by a civil liability insurance. If you are coming to France for a stay of over 3 months, you can choose later on the health coverage that best suits your needs and situation.   


Type of insurances

For students, interns, PhD students holding a scholarship and their family members (spouse and/or children):

PhD students and researchers with a French employment contract and their families:


In short
  • You must have a health coverage that covers medical expenses, hospitalization, surgical interventions and repatriation and a civil liability insurance from the first day you arrive in France;
  • This insurance should preferably be French;
  • If, later on, you must or decide to join the French social security system (depending on your situation), take into account that the process may take a few months. You will have to submit the required documents as soon as possible. The sooner you apply, the sooner your medical expenses will be covered. We strongly recommend you to take out a private insurance for the 4-month period following your arrival.

Please note

Before undertaking any procedure by yourself, we strongly advise you to contact your institution.

If you are a researcher and are accompanied by your family, please inform your institution.