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Social Security and Insurance in France

Expatriates are often attracted by France’s promising working conditions and good social security coverage. If you are also intrigued by the idea of working in France, our InterNations guide helps you learn more. We cover France’s industries, business climate, and work permits.
Expats also benefit from the country's excellent welfare and insurance system.

Paying French Taxes

All foreigners whose main place of residence is France are taxed on their entire income the same as French people. Expats who spend less than 183 days per year in France are taxed only on income arising from French sources.

In order to avoid double taxation of foreigners, France maintains a number of international tax treaties. Under these treaties, expats who receive their salary from a foreign company and whose stay in France does not exceed 183 days per year may choose to continue paying taxes in their home country.

For further information and a list of countries which have signed such an agreement, please consult the public service website of the French Ministry of Finance and Public Accounts.

Social Security — Sécurité Sociale

The French Sécurité Sociale is open to all legal residents of France, unless they have opted out of paying social security contributions in France in favor of continuing payments in their home country. However, this is only possible under certain circumstances, for example if they are in France for less than 12 months, and providing that they are citizens of a country which has entered into a mutual social security agreement with France.

In addition to all EU and EEA member states (as well as Switzerland), these countries include Canada, Chile, Israel, the Philippines, the United States, plus many African states and all remaining European countries.

For a detailed list of all conventions bilatérales de sécurité sociale, please check the documentation section of the Centre de Liaisons Européennes et Internationales de Sécurité Sociale.

The French Welfare System

The French welfare state is among the best in the world. It consists of numerous different agencies and insurances covering all sorts of eventualities, from health insurance and sick pay to family benefits and a state pension.

Most social security contributions consist of a combination of payments by both employer and employee, while some others, e.g. accident and compensation insurance, are paid by the employer alone. Most salaried employees in France are covered under the régime général, which is illustrated on the Sécurité Sociale website. There are different plans for the self-employed, for civil servants, etc.

Public Health Insurance

Public health insurance covers a certain percentage of the costs arising from all necessary medical treatments (e.g. doctor, dentist, hospital, rehab, etc.). Excess payments for outpatient treatment in hospitals, for example, typically amount to 30% of the cost. Most French employees therefore opt for a private complementary health insurance, which is often eligible for financial support from the employer.

EU and EEA nationals who continue to pay social security contributions in their home country are nevertheless covered by the French health insurance system, but they need to register with their local caisse d’assurance maladie. All other non-residents, both tourists and business people, are only eligible for emergency treatment. New self-employed French residents should register with a caisse mutuelle régionale to obtain further information.

Taking Care of Your Future

The retirement age in France is 62, although this is set to gradually increase to 67 by the year 2023, so that the age of automatic entitlement to a full pension is 67 for people born after 1 January 1955. The French state pension is contribution-based, amounting to a maximum of 50% of the salary an employee received during the 25 highest-earning years of their career.

There are various additional payments reflecting different circumstances, e.g. for people in need of personal care or for mothers who have raised three or more children. A number of private pension funds are available, and employees of major multinational companies will almost certainly be offered such a group pension plan.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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