The general social security system is organised in four branches:

  • The branch dedicated to disease, maternity, paternity, disability, death, and the branch dedicated to accidents at work and occupational illnesses, managed distinctly by the Caisse nationale d’assurance maladie des travailleurs salariés (CNAMTS)  
  • The branch dedidcated to old age, managed by the caisse nationale d’assurance vieillesse (CNAV)
  • The branch dedicated to family, managed by the caisse nationale d’allocations familiales (CNAF)

To learn more: French social security system and


Registration is the process allowing you to be identified and sign up to the social security service.

The “carte Vitale”, your social security card

The carte Vitale is your social insurance identity card. It is green. You receive it after you register, along with a printed confirmation document. This card proves your affiliation and your rights to health insurance services.

You will find on the confirmation the address of the “caisse primaire d’Assurance maladie” (CPAM, your Local Sickness Insurance Fund) on which you depend.

If your practitioner is duly equipped, you won’t have to engage any process to be reimbursed. An electronic treatment form will be sent directly to your CPAM. If not, you will have to fill in and send a paper treatment form to your CPAM.

Your “carte vitale” does not have an expiry date, it is effective without any time limit, However, remember to update it every year or after any big change in your life: maternity, change of residence, marriage, long-term affliction, …

For more details, check the Carte vitale section on (in French only)


The CPAM partly reimburses medical charges of eligible individuals (medicine, dental care, laboratory tests, hospital stays, etc.)

It can also, under certain conditions, offer daily compensation if you stop receiving your wage during a cessation of work. It also compensate in kind or cash if you lose your wage in some situations (disability, maternity, work accidents and occupational disease, death).

For more information, check the Rights and Process section on or the Health and Reimbursements section on the the French social security website (in French only).