Ex-Pat News

Friday Freebie – Carte Vitale

morzine-property-agentEach week Sharon Scott of local estate agency 2 Valleys Properties shares a really useful, interesting and helpful guide to ex-pat life in the mountains. You’ll find the full back collection of Sharon’s blogs on our website, and on Sharon’s Facebook page.


This Week: Carte Vitale

This weeks Friday freebie is all about the Carte Vitale which is green unlike the Carte Grise which is grey, unlike car insurance which is also green. Sorry about my colour blindness to those who pointed this out!

So what is the carte vitale?

If you have moved to France from another European country you still have the right to social security and health care. You will be registered over here and will start paying into the French system instead of the British one if you start working for a French company and will receive a carte vitale, which is like a national insurance card.

When you leave the UK and arrive in France you will need to fill in a E104 form which you can download online or get from the CPAM (more details later). You will need to give information about your previous employment in the UK and therefore your social security contributions, so that they can work out what you are entitled to. Members of your family can also be covered in France whether they live here or not. You just have to fill in another form the S1 (inscription des members de la famille du travailleur salarié ou non salarié), that you can also get from the CPAM and then send it back to your health insurance in the UK.

If you are still employed by an UK company but living in France, you will continue to be attached the health system in the UK for a maximum of 24 months. In order to get reimbursed for doctors visits while in France, you will also have to fill in an S1 form and send it back to your health insurance in the UK.

So armed with your E104 form you can go to the CPAM (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie) in Thonon:

12 Avenue du Géneral de Gaulle, 74200, Thonon-les-bains. They are open from 8,30am  to 4pm every week day. http://www.ameli.fr

In order to ask for your Carte Vitale. From memory, I think you get a temporary paper card until you get a permanent one which will have your photo on it. Remember to go armed with every piece of paper that has ever been designated to you: birth certificate, passport, proof of residence, RIB, work contract and photos of any tattoos or any other distinguishing features. (well they might ask you, stranger things have happened…)

When you have got your Carte Vitale you can bring it to the doctors and pharmacy and present your card in order  to get reimbursed. You will normally have to pay out, so don’t forget your cheque book, but the money will be put onto your bank account shortly afterwards. You will need to get top up insurance (mutuelle) if you want to get reimbursed 100%.

Someone asked me about autoentrepreneurs. If you are just an AE and do not have another job, then you have to apply and pay for health cover through the dreaded RSI if you are an artisan or commercial, or for other métiers, the CIPAV. You will not be connected to the CPAM.

For people setting up as a micro enterprise, EURL or SARL, the health system you pay into will depend on your métier, but is usually the RSI, URSAFF or CIPAV (or all 3).

This is a great website for people setting up their own business:


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