Social Security provides foreign students with social coverage while studying in France. To increase the amount of their healthcare expenses that is reimbursed, they may take out complementary health insurance, or mutuelle.
How to see a doctor
Within the university there is a health department: the Service Universitaire de Médecine Préventive et de Promotion de la Santé (SUMPPS - the University Department of Preventive Medicine and the Promotion of Health). You can make an appointment with a doctor there. Some visits are free, including for contraception, testing, vaccinations, nutrition and psychological monitoring.
There you can also get contact information for a doctor and make an appointment online on the doctolib.fr website
If you have questions about sexuality, sexual relations, love or contraception, contact the Planning Familial (Family Planning), an association that offers free and confidential check-ups. Women in particular may obtain a prescription for contraception which suits them and obtain the day-after pill in case of need. Family Planning has branches everywhere in France.
Here are a few important numbers
112: the European emergency number;
15: the SAMU (Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente - Emergency Medical Service);
18: the Fire Brigade;
And 3624: for a house-call doctor if you are too ill to travel. This service is available 24/7
How to benefit from social security
As part of the law project in relation with academic orientation and the success of students, a reform of the system of the student social protection is ongoing (June 2018). A transition phase should be in place for the 2018/2019 period. Eventually, international non-European students will be included in the general healthcare scheme; European students will continue to be covered by their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if they have one.
You don't have to complete any process if you have a European Health Insurance Card: you can use it to have access to medical care in France. You are covered, whatever the date of your registration in a French higher education institution.
You are in this case if you have the nationality of a country of the European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
Non-European students already registered in France for the academic year 2017/18
- Start of the academic year 2018:
You don't have to complete any process: you stay in the same scheme. You will be managed by a student healthcare mutual (the one you subscribed during your registration in an institution in 2017). You can't change it during the academic year 2018/2019.
- Start of the academic year 2019:
You don't have to complete any process: you will be automatically included in the general system of French healthcare.
- Non-European students arriving in France for the academic year 2018 or later
- You can benefit from the French social security and the reimbursement of your medical fees, whatever the type of visa you used in France to complete your studies (VLSTS or VLST).
- First, you must register to your higher education institution.
- Then, you must register to the French general social security system.
Registration is free of charge and completed online by logging in to the website of the health insurance dedicated to foreign students. It is available in French and English.
Our advice: Read our article on the registration to the French social security to plan your stay serenely.
Can I benefit from the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
Students with the nationality of a country from the European Union, from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland have access to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). They don't need to register for French Student Social Security. This card must be requested in your country of origin and be valid until at least the end of the academic year.
The European Health Insurance Card gives access to care in France.
How to subscribe to a healthcare mutual
The choice to subscribe to a healthcare mutual to top up the reimbursements of your medical expense is entirely up to you. It is not mandatory, but we do recommend it strongly.
It's up to you to complete the subscription process. Start by asking for a quote, and compare the offers. You can do so with:
- Traditional student healthcare mutuals
- Insurance companies
Check that the mutual you choose offers a civil liability valid for both your private and student life. That way, you'll be covered on your place of study and the place of your internship.