Registering for French social security

Employees: Registering for French social security

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Foreign employees who work and live in France are, in principle, covered by French social security legislation, regardless of their nationality or the location of their employer.

As such, they are covered by the so-called “Régime général” (General Social Security System) of France’s public health insurance fund. Foreign employees must be able to prove that they are legally permitted to reside in France by showing a valid residence permit (not required by citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland).

To find out more, visit our “What residence permit do you require to live in France?” section

The French Social Security system


Employees and their families are fully eligible for France’s comprehensive social security system, which includes:

  • Health, maternity, paternity, disability and death insurance. 
  • Occupational accident and illness insurance. 
  • Government pension contributions.
  • Family allowances. 
  • Unemployment benefits.


 3 minutes to understand the French Social Security system, an official video from Sécurité sociale


Source: Sécurité sociale

All foreign citizens, whether or not they are an employee, can continue to contribute voluntarily to their home country’s social security system.


Helpful tip: Salaries and bonuses (benefits in kind, expatriation bonuses, etc.) paid to foreign employees registered under the General Social Security System are subject to all the social security contributions payable to France’s mandatory and supplementary insurance funds at the rates in force.

Use the calculator provided by the URSSAF to find out what social security contributions you will be required to pay



Health, maternity, paternity, disability and death



All employees are covered by this insurance in the event of illness, maternity, paternity, disability and death.

This is on condition that they are registered for French Social Security. Registered employees are classed as insurees under the General Social Security System.

Visit our “How to register for Social Security” section.

Who to contact? The Primary Health Insurance Fund (CPAM) of the insuree’s place of residence.

Health Insurance

Coverage of healthcare expenses

Universal health coverage (PUMA) ensures that any individual who works for one or more employer will have their medical expenses covered from the day they start working. The insuree’s family can also benefit from this coverage.

The medical expenses covered in full or in part include:

  • Medical and paramedical costs (medical consultations, etc.).
  • Pharmacy expenses in the case of medicines supplied on prescription.
  • Hospital expenses (fees, medical examinations, surgery, etc.).
  • Transport costs when covered by a prescription.

To find out more about the coverage of medical expenses, please visit the CLEISS website.
Reimbursement rates are available at the website


Compensation in the event of medical leave

Should an employee be unable to work due to illness, their doctor may prescribe them a period of medical leave.

In such cases, the public health insurance fund will pay the employee compensation as of the fourth day on which they are unable to work. This compensation is referred to as the “indemnité journalière de sécurité sociale” (“daily social security compensation”) or IJSS.

This daily compensation is equal to 50% of the employee’s daily salary calculated over the three months preceding the period of medical leave, up to a maximum ceiling set by the public health insurance fund.
To receive compensation when partially or totally unable to work due to illness, an employee must have worked at least 150 hours in the three months preceding the period of leave.
In the case of long-term leave (more than six months), they must have worked at least 600 hours over the preceding year.


Maternity and Paternity insurance

Coverage of healthcare expenses

Medical expenses relating to a pregnancy declared to the CPAM, as well as the resulting birth, are covered by the public health insurance system.

Both the insuree and their spouse may be reimbursed for any medical expenses incurred during the pregnancy, including the full cost of mandatory examinations.

Parental leave is awarded and compensated for births and adoptions alike. Its duration and the amount of compensation paid vary according to the number of children to be born and the number already in the family. Incapacity to work due to paternity or maternity will lead to the payment of daily compensation, on condition that the individual will have been registered for more than 10 months on the date the baby is due.

To find out more, please visit the CLEISS website.

Disability insurance

When an insuree becomes totally or partially unable to work due to a disability that is unrelated to their occupation, they may apply for disability allowance to compensate for loss of wages.

They must be able to prove that they have been registered under the General Social Security System for at least 12 months and have worked at least 600 hours.

The allowance amount will vary according to their capacity to work.

Medical expenses, mandatory examinations and any medicines a doctor has prescribed to an insuree with a disability will be fully covered in the event of illness or pregnancy, up to the maximum Social Security threshold.


Helpful tip: The Ile de France regional health insurance fund (CRAMIF) is the authority responsible for awarding disability allowances in the Paris region. In other regions, this role is performed by the CPAM.

To find out more, please visit the website

Death insurance

The families of insurees are covered by the General Social Security System’s death insurance provisions. They may therefore receive compensation in the event of the insuree’s passing, if certain criteria are fulfilled.
To find out more, please visit the website


Occupational accidents and illnesses



Any employee who suffers an occupational accident, i.e., one relating to their occupation (including accidents that occur during commuting), or develops an occupational illness will be covered.

To receive compensation, the employee must declare the occupational accident to their employer within 24 hours. The employer then has 48 hours to inform the relevant CPAM office.

Who to contact? The Primary Health Insurance Fund (CPAM) of the insuree’s place of residence.


Temporary medical leave

If, as a result of an occupational accident or illness, the employee is temporarily unable to return to work, their healthcare expenses are covered in full by the public health insurance fund and the insuree will not be required to pay for any medical costs up front.

They will receive daily compensation from the first day they unable to work due to their occupational accident or illness.

This daily compensation is equal to 60% of the employee’s daily salary, and 80% as of the 29th day of medical leave, up to a maximum ceiling set by the public health insurance fund.


Permanent incapacity

If, as a result of an occupational accident or illness, the employee is unable to return to work, they will receive an allowance. The allowance amount will depend on both the employee’s degree of incapacity and their salary prior to the occupational accident or illness.

To find out more, please visit the CLEISS website.




The retirement benefits of employees insured under the French General Social Security System are comprised of:

  • A basic pension.
  • A supplementary pension.

Watch the video “Pensions: how do they work? produced by the French state pension fund!
(subtitles available)


The basic pension

Employees born in 1955 or later can retire at the age of 62. For preceding generations, this age differs according to the year of birth.

The basic pension amount depends on the employee’s average annual income, which is calculated based on the 25 highest annual incomes they have earned.

The amount also depends on the number of quarters that have been validated (the “contribution duration”). Validated quarters are:

  • Quarters for which pension contributions have been paid and collected by URSSAF offices.
  • Quarters during which the employee did not work due to illness, maternity leave, occupational accidents, etc.
  • Quarters during which the employee did not work due to the birth of a child, parental leave, etc.

To obtain a full pension, insurees born in 1973 or later must prove that they have 172 validated quarters. The total pension received may be supplemented.

Watch the video on the basic pension produced by the French state pension fund!
(subtitles available)

Who to contact? 


The supplementary pension

In addition to the General Social Security System’s basic pension, all employees contribute to a mandatory supplementary pension.

It is implemented by the association for the supplementary pensions of employees (ARRCO), which covers all employees, and by the general association of executive pension institutions (AGIRC), which covers company executives:

  • Non-executive employees contribute to the ARRCO.
  • Executive employees contribute to the ARRCO and the AGIRC.

The supplementary pension received alongside the basic pension depends on the contributions paid by an employee during the course of their career.

Who to contact? 

  • ARRCO for all employees.
  • AGIRC for executive employees.


Pension contribution periods completed abroad

Pensions are calculated based on the entire career of individuals who have worked both in France and abroad. This amounts to a totaling of pension contribution periods.

The totaling of all pension contribution periods takes into account the pension contribution periods completed under the legislation of another country, so as to provide an individual with access to state pension rights in France.

This option is available to individuals who have worked:

The insuree’s pension rights are assessed with respect to all the national legislations under which they have worked.

Every country calculates the portion of the pension that it must pay with respect to all the pension contribution periods completed in the countries covered by the agreement.

In the event that the individual has worked in several countries that have agreements with France, the most advantageous total for the employee is applied. This principle also applies if the insuree wishes to benefit from the totaling of their pension contribution periods within the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, or in any other country that has an agreement with France.

If the individual has worked in a country that does not have a bilateral social security agreement with France, their pension is calculated in each country, without taking into account the periods validated in the other country.

To find out more, please visit the CLEISS website.

Find out whether your country has signed a bilateral agreement with France.
Watch the video “Working abroad: how will my pension be calculated?” produced by the state pension fund!
(subtitles available)

Family allowances


France’s family allowance funds (caisses d'allocations familiales or CAF) pay family allowances to employees in all professions who have one or more dependent children under the age of 20 living in France. These include:

  • General living allowances (family allowances, supplementary allowances, etc.)
  • Childcare allowances (birth allowance, etc.)
  • Special allowances (back-to-school allowance, etc.).

To be able to claim family allowances, a foreign employee must be able to prove that they:

  • Live in France.
  • Have at least one dependent child in France.
  • Are residing in France lawfully.

They must also attest that their child is residing in France lawfully, by producing one of the following documents:

  • A short-form copy of their French birth certificate. 
  • A medical certificate for the child issued by the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (OFII) subsequent to the completion of a residence application or approval procedure conducted within the scope of family reunification.
  • Their residence permit, if they are aged 16 to 18 and in employment, or if they are an adult and the permit entitles them to social security coverage.
  • A certificate issued by the State Prefect, which must specify that, at the very latest, the child came to France at the same time as a parent who holds a “private and family life” residence permit, due to family ties.

Family allowances will not be awarded unless the required documents are produced.

Seconded employees may not claim family allowance.


Consult the table summarizing the family allowances available on the CLEISS website


Who to contact? The family allowance fund (CAF) of the insuree’s place of residence.



In the event of involuntary loss of employment (redundancy, mutual contract termination, etc.), an insuree can receive unemployment benefits on condition that they have worked for at least four months.

To be eligible, they must be registered as a job seeker with Pôle Emploi, the government department responsible for supporting job seekers in their search for employment.

The amount of job seeker’s allowance and the length of time for which it will be paid depend on the contributions the individual has paid into the General Social Security System and the duration for which they have done so.p> 

Use the calculator Pole Emploi provided by Pôle Emploi to determine your entitlements

Registering for public health insurance (Assurance Maladie)


Your employer has a permanent establishment in France

When an employee has never been covered by French Social Security, their employer must carry out the formalities required to register them.

Any company that employs an individual in France must submit a pre-recruitment declaration (DPAE) with the local URSSAF (the government organization in charge of collecting social security and family allowance contributions).

Requests for social security coverage must be submitted to the local Primary Health Insurance Fund (CPAM) using form S1106.

Such requests will allow an individual to register for social security if they do not already possess a social security number.

All employee and employer social security contributions relating to the employee’s occupation will be linked to their social security number.


Helpful tip: Employees and accompanying family holding a ‘Talent Passport’ residence permit should contact the local health insurance fund (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie – CPAM) in Paris, which centralizes registration requests and handles various formalities (to reimburse healthcare fees, cover costs following an accident at work, etc.). For further information, please visit the website.

It is possible to register online: Click here


Your employer has no establishment in France

Companies headquartered abroad, without a permanent establishment in France, and which hire an employee in France to work in the country must complete all mandatory declarations and pay social security contributions in France to the National Center for Foreign Firms at the following address:



Centre national des firmes étrangères - CNFE

67945 Strasbourg cedex 9

Tél. : + 33 810 09 26 33 (France and abroad)

Fax : + 33 3 69 32 30 08 (France and abroad)

courriel :




For further information, please visit:


Social security number and Vitale card


Social security registration will lead to the issuance of a social security number and an electronic registration card, the Vitale card ("Carte Vitale").

The social security number is the number under which private individuals are registered to the national identification directory.

It comprises 13 digits and enables insured parties to obtain health and maternity care under the public health insurance system.

The Vitale card is a chip card that proves that the insuree is registered with the CPAM and is entitled to social security coverage. During medical consultations, it must be presented to the doctor so that social security can reimburse the patient’s medical expenses and so that the latter may benefit from the third-party payer system. The insuree is not required to pay for certain procedures up front and the health professional is reimbursed directly by Social Security.

This avoids the insuree having to directly request reimbursement from the CPAM.

The Vitale card contains all the insuree’s information, including: 

  • Their identity and that of their dependents.
  • Their social security number.
  • Their public health insurance system and the organization by which they are covered.


Source: Ameli