Health insurance for an international student in France

All international students coming to study in France for 3 months and more are required to register for the French social security coverage. That will help you partially cover your healthcare expenses (visits to the doctor, medical check-ups, medicine, etc.). At KEDGE, we can guide you through the registration process and inform you of the necessary steps to follow and documents to provide to obtain your health insurance in France.

Do I need health insurance to study in France?

You DO NOT need to register for the French social security system if:

  • You are coming from a state of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland and you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a temporary replacement certificate. If you come to study or travel in France and need medical treatment, you can obtain reimbursement under the same conditions as if you were in your country. You must have a card valid at least until the end of the current academic year.
  • If you were already insured in France during a previous stay, and you already have a definitive social security number, you can go directly to the CPAM office (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie) which is closest to where you live to restart your health insurance in France.

You MUST register for the French social security coverage if:

  • You are a European student, and you have an S1 form;
  • You have neither a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) nor an S1 form;
  • You are a non-European student.

What does health insurance in France cover?

French health insurance plan for students includes:

  • Emergency care: All major cities and towns in France have an emergency ambulance service, and A&E services are a component of the public healthcare system.
  • Doctors: Under the state system, a visit to the doctor costs €25. Healthcare insurance reimburses medical care expenses.
  • Pharmacies: When purchasing medicine in a pharmacy, you will only be required to pay the part that the state does not cover. This avoids having to pay the whole cost and then make a request for partial reimbursement.
  • Specialists: Although specialists in France may charge at a higher rate than general practitioners, the fees will still fall within the range of the national standard for public healthcare. For your expenses to be reimbursed, your general practitioner must refer you to the specialist.
  • Dentists: Dental checkups are covered by the French public healthcare system. Dental care does, however, have its fees and reimbursement rates. General dental care is covered in the same way as other specialist care, although some advanced procedures are more expensive, and reimbursements for them are often lower.

How to get health insurance for an international student in France?

To obtain health insurance in France, you must sign up on the special website for international students once you have registered at a French higher education institution. The registration for the French social security system is free of charge and mandatory.

To guide you through the process, KEDGE has created a dedicated tutorial to help you register for health insurance upon your arrival in France. 

For those who have difficulties with the registration online, you can call by phone at 36 46 (free service plus call charges). If necessary, you can be directed to an English-speaking helpline.

How to register for social security in France?

The steps to follow:

  1. First, you should go to the dedicated website for international students and fill out the form with the requested information and personal details. You must specify the start date of your entitlement to French health insurance: this means that you have already arrived in France and that you are in possession of your school certificate (provided by KEDGE when your school registration file is complete) and your student visa.
  2. Upload the required supporting documents, such as your passport/ID card, student visa, school certificate, RIB/IBAN details, etc.
  3. Once you have completed and validated the form, you will receive a provisional social security number. Then you can download your social security certificate and upload it on Virtual Campus (Personal File - Social Security). This document is necessary to complete your registration at KEDGE. 
  4. You can use your temporary health insurance certificate while you wait to be sent the definitive number for your medical coverage. Then you will be able to apply for your personal Carte Vitale (social security card).
  5. Do not forget to declare your general practitioner during your first consultation with a doctor in France.

As the French social security does not reimburse all healthcare expenses, make sure you take out complementary health insurance that includes civil liability. There are several ones in France dedicated to students, e.g: MGEN, LMDE, SMERRA, SMENO, etc. We recommend you arrive in France with valid temporary insurance to cover you in case of emergency while you carry out these administrative procedures.  

You will find more information on the official social security website.

Health insurance for a student in France: document checklist

Please prepare all the necessary documents from the list:

  • Your passport or ID card;
  • Your residence permit/student visa;
  • School certificate provided by KEDGE for the current academic year.

These 3 documents are required for you to be able to obtain a provisional social security number. The other documents are also mandatory, but only if you plan to stay in France for more than one year.

You will then be asked for further documents:

  • The full copy of your birth certificate and/or an extract of your birth certificate including your parents’ information (or a document issued by a consulate);
  • Your RIB/IBAN (bank details) for the reimbursements of your healthcare expenses.

You might want to open a French bank account to get reimbursed for your healthcare expenses.

You will be able to add the documents to your profile later once you have them. Additional documentation may be requested depending on your country of origin. 

  • European citizens: you must provide a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC);
  • Students from Québec: you must provide your signed and stamped SE-401-Q-106 form;
  • Students coming for less than 3 months: you will have to provide proof of private health coverage upon your arrival to be admitted to classes and be given your Student ID card.

Please find more relevant information on the official social security website for international students.

Download files

Tutorial Registration French Health Insurance (PDF - 1.1 MB)