Emergency treatment in France

This article provides you with basic information on emergency treatment during a trip to France. What you need to know concerning healthcare access in France as an EU citizen and as a non-EU citizen.

EU-citizens travelling to France

  • If you are a citizen of the European Union and you have a compulsory health insurance you are entitled to emergency medical care in accordance with the legal benefits of the state in which you are treated (in this case France).
  • EU-citizens with statutory health insurance should ask their national insurance for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving to France. This card is included in your insurance and causes no additional costs.
  • When getting sick or involved in an accident you have to present this EHIC to the French doctor or in a French hospital before treatment. The necessary medical expenses will be obtained.
  • Normally you do not have to pay for the treatment. However, please note that some health professionals may not know the mechanism of the EHIC. Therefore, we would recommend you to carefully check any form before signing, in order to make sure that all the information concerning your insurance is correct.
  • The EHIC enables you to benefit from medical treatments under the same conditions as a person insured in France. These can slightly differ from the conditions in your home country.
  • If you are not able to present your EHIC, you will have to pay for the treatment according to the tariffs for the French health insurance.
  • If you have a chronic condition and are likely to need treatment abroad, you should contact your health insurance for information about appropriate medical centres for your stay in France and any associated costs.
  • It may be useful to pay for an additional travel insurance that covers additional costs such as the transport back home. Compare their offer with the benefits covered by your regular health insurance.

Be careful: depending on the care you received, all your expenses are not systematically covered. So it may be useful to subscribe to a complementary insurance (for health or travel) which will cover extra costs such as repatriation.

Non-EU citizens

If you come from a country that isn’t a Member State of the European Union and your home country has no special agreement with France in regard to social insurance, you are not protected by the compulsory health insurance in France. Since you will have to pay the costs for the medical treatment yourself, it is advisable to take on a private health insurance cover to meet any medical or repatriation costs.

If you have been displaced from Ukraine and arrived in France after 24 January 2022, you may get a temporary residence permit (APS) which specifies that you benefit from "temporary protection". With this document, you will benefit from universal health protection and complementary health insurance. This means that you do not have to pay in advance for your care: you and your family members will be covered for a period of 12 months.

To receive the APS, you must check with the prefecture of the department where you are staying, where you need to go to ask for protection. It can be the prefecture itself or a specific reception centre (“centre d’accueil”):

Specific associations may be allowed to help you. Before committing to any of those, check with the prefecture if they have the official authorisation to help you.

If your file is complete and admissible, you will receive temporary protection which may include:

  • Issuance of a temporary residence permit for a period of 6 months, bearing the mention "beneficiary of temporary protection ; 
  • Payment of the asylum seeker's allowance ; 
  • Authorisation to work ; 
  • Access to health care through medical care ; 
  • Schooling for minor children ; 
  • Support in accessing housing.

Non-EU Citizens (Students)

If you are a student from a non-EU country studying in France, the type of coverage you are eligible for differs based on the duration and characteristics of your stay. If you are in France for less than 3 months, travel insurance or an international health insurance policy is required along with the issuing of your visa. However, if you are staying for more than 3 months, as is often the case with study abroad or exchange programmes, you are eligible and encouraged to register for French social security. Registering for French social security is free for all students (even those on programmes not associated with a French university) and obligatory for students enrolled in a French institution.

If enrolled, 70 percent of your total health costs will be reimbursed, leaving only 30 percent to be paid out of pocket.

Here is a quick guide to registering with French Social Security:

  • Go to the website etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr
  • Indicate your situation, nationality and date of birth
  • Fill in the required steps, such as inputting data about your passport, visa and length of stay
  • After you have gathered all the relevant details, a social security number will be sent to you.
  • With this number, you will be able to access the Ameli portal, from which you can manage your reimbursement requests and make a request for a physical card (carte vitale). 

For further questions related to public insurance policies, Centre des Liaisons Européennes et Internationales de Sécurité Sociale (CLEISS) may be able to offer additional information or guidance. The organisation, based in Montreuil, France is reachable at: +33 1 45 26 33 41

National Points of contact

The EU-Directive also provides for the establishment of a network of national points of contact. The aim is to strengthen the patients trust in the European Healthcare Market and provide concrete help and information. In France, the national contact point is the Cleiss.

For more information on cross-border health care and national contact points

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.