I have a French passport and I just moved to France. What is the process of being a citizen/what papers and documents to I need to possess to be able to work and go to school and live?

I know I need a Carte Vitale, Social Security Number, an ID card. But from my understanding, most of that gets done through your employer/school, and I have none. So i'm kind of lost.

  • 3
    What sort of passport is that? What makes you think you need these things to become a citizen? What claim to French citizenship do you have?
    – Gala
    Aug 17, 2015 at 16:11
  • 4
    Normally the order of events is "become / be confirmed as a citizen", and only then "get passport"!
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 17, 2015 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


None of these things are required to be a French citizen (and conversely, being a French citizen is not required to get a carte vitale or social security number) or even, technically, to live in France.

If you come to France as an adult, you can get a carte vitale from the CPAM when you first register for health insurance:

  • If you work, you will be insured through your work.
  • If you are a student at a higher education institution, you will have to register with one of the approved students' health insurers (usually you do that together with all other registration formalities). Not sure about students at secondary schools, the assumption is that they are usually insured through their family but there must be some procedure for those who aren't.
  • If you live with your parents or a spouse/partner, you can also be covered by their insurance, at no extra cost.
  • If you have no other way to be covered, you should contact the local CPAM directly to get the Couverture Maladie Universelle.

You will also automatically get a social security number when you get (statutory) health insurance for the first time. You don't really need to do anything now to be a citizen or reside in France legally and could therefore wait to find a job (if that's what you want to do) and sort it all out afterwards.

But of course having health insurance as soon as possible would seem a good idea and you could therefore simply apply for the CMU immediately. The costs of the insurance premium will depend on your income for the previous year (you will need tax returns from the country where you resided previously) and it's free if you had no income.

An ID card, while useful for many purposes and nearly universal, is not legally required for any purpose. In particular, your passport should do just fine when interacting with the authorities and if you need to prove your citizenship, the certificat de nationalité française, and not the carte nationale d'identité, is the strongest form of evidence.

A tip: Whatever you do, you will need a copy or extract of your birth certificate for many things, you can already prepare those.

  • Since OP has a (presumably valid) passport, I can't see why a birth certificate should be required now. In particular, it is not required when applying for a carte d'identité.
    – fkraiem
    Aug 18, 2015 at 9:46
  • @fkraiem As I explained in my answer, the CNI is probably the least useful in all the things mentioned in the question but you need a birth certificate to get a numéro d'inscription au répertoire des personnes physiques. Besides, if there is any doubt about the OP's citizenship (which would be very surprising to me if the OP really has a recent passport but that's what the question implies…), a birth certificate would also be needed to get a certificat de nationalité française.
    – Gala
    Aug 18, 2015 at 10:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.