Here is a cry for help! We cannot figure out how to amend our situation. Maybe someone out there can help us with legal advice.

We've done tons of research online, but things change so quickly and here in France the left hand never talks to the right hand when it comes to government documents.

In March 2014, my husband and I married in Normandy, France, after fighting through the immense amount of documentation they needed supplied and translated, only planning to stay here until we were married then move back to England as a family. My then 5 year-old son (not genetically my husband's son, but he's his daddy) and I are American. My husband is British, born and raised.

From this point on my son and I have had no legal need for a carte de séjour technically, as family members of EU citizens do not need them as long as they entered the EU country legally. My son and I were given a 3-month visitor's visa. We moved from Normandy, France to Vendée, France. A major change of day-to-day temperature, financial situation, and all matters of life for us.

We happened upon an offer that seemed to be too good to be true, so we decided to stay in France and attempt to start a business repairing and running a gite. My husband has been desperately trying to get work and stay in work since May 2014 as the offer turned out to be a farce, but has only had possibly 10 months total of work up to today.

We are not renting out the house my husband inherited and are living on this income alone and have been since about June 2014.

My son and I have left and entered France a total of 5 times in total including first entering France until today, with little to no trouble, outside of two occasions:

  1. The time we entered England to go to my father-in-law's funeral, where I was kept aside and questioned for about four hours, since we hadn't booked returned ferry tickets, as we were not exactly certain how long all affairs would take to get in order. It was a nightmare. We were finally given just 9 days to settle everything and burry my father-in-law then return to France. Which we did.

  2. The last time my son and I went to visit family back in Colorado, USA in summer 2015, where we were nearly turned around at CDG airport for not having a carte de séjour -- even with my documents showing we were legal to remain. We have no health insurance, no governmental financial aid, and no carte de séjour or social security numbers for France -- not even my husband... as we just cannot understand what rights we do or do not have and how to go about sorting everything out.

I am pregnant, due in mid August, and we are drowning in every bill imaginable. We are waiting for an appeal on our UK family permits, but that's looking rather dark as the UK referendum is looking at leaving the EU.

Oh, I forgot to mention I had a grand mal seizure, first time in my life, and spent 4 days in the hospital and am now only a high dose medication daily until I give birth where even more tests must be done after I give birth.

1a. How do we get health coverage through England? Is it possible? What documents are needed?

1b. How do we get health coverage before I give birth, if we're not eligible for coverage through England?

  1. How do we push for our appeals to go through quicker, as they have both been put on hold since February?

  2. If we end up needing to stay in France, what are my and my son's legal rights in Vendée, France?

  • 2
    Usually, it is better to only ask one question on this site. You might focus on one of the three you're asking (you can edit your original message).
    – audionuma
    May 16, 2016 at 15:34
  • 1
    Notice that your assumption that you don't need any 'titre de séjour' is wrong. You should have obtained either a 'visa long séjour' or a 'carte vie privée et familiale'.
    – audionuma
    May 16, 2016 at 15:57
  • 4
    @audionuma actually she should have obtained a carte membre de famille d'un citoyen de l'union. These are free if applied for in a timely manner, but in this case it will most likely cost €340 because the application is late.
    – phoog
    May 16, 2016 at 16:14
  • 3
    To answer 1a, you can only get health coverage through the UK's National Health Service if you reside in the UK. It looks like you need to get settled there or in France as soon as possible. Without a job, that could be difficult. Have you discussed this with a French or British immigration lawyer? It could be expensive, but probably much more efficient than muddling through it yourself. Given your financial situation and the urgency of your pregnancy, you might be able to find some legal aid, reducing or eliminating the cost.
    – phoog
    May 17, 2016 at 3:11
  • 2
    @audionuma also the absence of the carte de membre de famille d'un citoyen de l'union is probably hampering the EEA family permit application.
    – phoog
    May 17, 2016 at 3:15

1 Answer 1


Since January 1st 2016, the French healthcare system has been simplified with la protection universelle maladie.

Quoting the official website:

Le 1er janvier 2016, la protection universelle maladie entre en application. Cette réforme garantit à toute personne qui travaille ou réside en France de manière stable et régulière, un droit à la prise en charge de ses frais de santé à titre personnel et de manière continue tout au long de la vie.

This means that anyone who works in France or is a stable and legal resident in France is entitled to personal healthcare benefits. The website explains that one does not need to work to get benefits: residence is enough to qualify. Healthcare is both for illness and pregnancy (maladie et maternité).

For people who do not work (affiliation sur critère de résidence), being a stable resident means having stayed uninterruptedly in France for the last three months (de manière ininterrompue depuis plus de trois mois). The page mentions some exceptions where the 3 month rule is waived.

And don't forget to get a "carte de séjour UE". As a non-EU citizen dependant of a EU citizen, you are required to get one (and possibly one for your son too).

  • I am not sure that's necessarily relevant to the OP's situation. The ability to get a carte de séjour UE and be covered by the health insurance system is not unconditional. If you don't have a job, having health insurance is in fact a requirement. If you don't have or buy one, applying for it might in fact trigger a request to leave France. In practice the details are more complex and the OP should definitely hire a lawyer but EU law does not provide much rights in this situation.
    – Gala
    Sep 1, 2017 at 10:28

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