How to access the French health insurance system?

The basics for foreigners living in France


Santé publique France provides handbooks available in 15 languages to understand the French health insurance system, your rights as a foreigner living in France and the procedures best suited to your situation.

Do you live in France without a residency permit?

If you live in France without a residency permit (“titre de séjour”) nor any document proving that you have begun the application process for legal residency such as an official receipt (“attestation de prolongation d’instruction delivered by the ANEF website”) for a residency permit application or a summons to appear at the préfecture, you may be eligible for State medical assistance (Aide médicale de l’État or “AME”).


Your rights

The AME program will cover up to 100% of your health care expenses within the maximum rates set by the French Social Security system.

For example, if you are charged 26,50 € for an appointment with your general practitioner, AME will cover 100% of the expense.


Health care coverage

AME covers most of the expenses for medical or dental care provided at the practitioner’s office or in a hospital. AME also exempts you from paying any charges upfront if you carry your AME beneficiary card.


Eligibility requirements

You must meet three criteria in order to be granted AME:

1 - Be an undocumented immigrant residing in France

This means you do not have a residency permit (“titre de séjour”), an official receipt (“attestation de prolongation d’instruction delivered by the ANEF website”) of an application for residency, or any other document proving that you are in the process of applying for legal residency.

2 - Reside in France on an ongoing basis

You must have been living in France for at least 3 months without interruption. AME is not applicable to Mayotte.

3 -  Have financial resources below a set threshold

The resource threshold depends on the number of members in the applicant’s household. It also depends on the location since metropolitan France and overseas “départements” have two different threshold. 
AME coverage is granted for one year and must be renewed each year.


Application process

Submit an application in person to your local Health Insurance Fund (Caisse primaire d’Assurance maladie or “CPAM”). 


You must fill out the application forms and provide the following documents:

  • Proof of identity for the applicant and his/her dependents
  • Proof of the applicant’s uninterrupted residence in France for the past three months
  • Proof of the applicant’s financial resources
  • A recent 3.5 X 4.5 cm identity photo of the applicant and for each of his/her dependents to be covered by AME

Guide to the AME application process


Traduction effectuée par la direction des traductions du CLEISS (Centre des Liaisons Européennes et Internationales de Sécurité Sociale)