Advertisement-NordVpn Black Friday

What is carte Vitale?

Every single French adult has a carte Vitale in France. Find out everything there is to know about carte Vitale in this FAQ.

What is carte Vitale?

It’s a card you hand out at the doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy or lab to be later reimbursed.

Who delivers it?

The French Healthcare System (Assurance Maladie) delivers Vitale card.

How does it work?

Medical staff scans your Vitale card to report your medical expenses to CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie) and to your complémentaire santé or mutuelle.

How much does it cost?

It’s free.

Who is eligible?

Anyone over 16 affiliated to the French healthcare system is eligible.

How do I get a carte Vitale?

You can order your Vitale card from your Ameli account (see How to create an Ameli account).

Can I pay with my card?

No, you can’t pay with carte Vitale. This is not a payment card.

What information is stored on my card?

Your name, address, French social security number, local CPAM and médecin traitant (primary doctor) are stored on the microchip on your Vitale card.

Is medical data stored on my card?

No, your card doesn’t contain any medical information.

How long does it take to get reimbursed?

Reimbursements usually reach your bank account within a week.

Can I be reimbursed if I do not have my card with me at the doctor’s?

Yes, as long as you are affiliated with Assurance Maladie. The doctor (or the pharmacist) gives you a feuille de soins (invoice for medical care). You then mail your feuille de soins to your local CPAM to receive your reimbursements.

Can I be on my spouse’s card?

No, you can’t. Since 2016, every adult must have his/her own Vitale card.

How do I update my card?

To update your Vitale card, use a borne multi-services (card updating machine) or ask your pharmacist. Most pharmacies in France provide updating machines to their customers.

When should I update my card?

Update your Vitale card whenever your situation changes: marriage, divorce, new child, pregnancy, new ALD exonérante, new address or new mutuelle. Try updating it at least once a year.

What if I lost my carte Vitale?

To inform your CPAM, in your Ameli account, go to Mes démarches >> Déclarer la perte ou le vol de carte Vitale.

screenshot of report of stolen or lost carte vitale on Ameli
CPAM will mail you a new Vitale card within a few weeks.
In the meantime, download an Attestation de Droits (proof of insurance) from your Ameli account to show at the doctor’s office. To get reimbursed, mail your feuille de soins to your local CPAM.

Is there an age limit to apply?

No, there is no maximum age limit.

Now that you know all about carte Vitale, take the next step and apply for carte Vitale!

Nathalie Nahmani

About Nathalie Nahmani

Nathalie is the creator of ma French Life. She moved back to France after living in Los Angeles for 20 years. She writes practical articles to help expats in France. Nathalie lives with her family in the French Alps near Grenoble.

Related articles

13 thoughts on “What is carte Vitale?”

  1. Hi there! I’m from Spain but working in France (cross boarder worker) I have my carte vitale alr, I just want to know if my son is also covered from my Carte Vitale? He is 12 years old. If yes, how can I add him as a beneficiary? TIA!

  2. Hi

    I applied for my carte vitale last year (Oct) I only just today received my SS number that too via email card still not arrived.
    My question is since I needed treatment from last year Nov will I be reimbursed? I have the fractures from all the professionals I saw.

    Thank you

    Kindest Regards

    • Hi Kaila,
      You can get reimbursed for your feuilles de soins that are dated after you received your temporary SS. Is it your permanent # that you just received?Does it start with 2 and the year of your birth?

  3. Nathalie,
    I am a dual French/US citizen and have a French SS#. I have NOT been able to get my SS# to be recognized on Ameli; have tried unsuccessfully to get through to the #3646 number for help (recommended by Assurance Maladie who contacted me cause I am Covid positive – they were able to access my info through my SS#), can’t get past French Connect even with my # de taxe fiscale and can’t get through to CPAM as the offices are all closed? due to Covid, I guess, so I can’t go to the office. Got any other suggestions? I am not declared a resident as I am only here for 3 months but plan on coming for another 3 months later in year. Any advice would be great! Merci infiniment!

    • Hi Nicole,

      Sorry to hear about your troubles. I am not sure how to fix the issue but I would keep calling 3646 until you reach someone. You could try the English help line (09 76 77 36 46) to see if it’s less busy. Have you tried using your SS# already? You should be able to send your feuilles de soins to CPAM and get reimbursed, even if you don’t have a carte vitale. It should also be good enough to get a mutuelle if you want one. Don’t give up Nicole!


Leave a Comment