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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bonjour,

Hope someone maybe able to help us with these queries?

We are Australians who have been living in France now since July 2016.

We have just submitted our paperwork to stay another 12 months - so we are renewing our Long Term Visitor Visa. When we submitted the paperwork we received a receipt which is valid until October (so we are expecting our visas to be organised prior to this date).
We have also submitted the paperwork to exchange our drivers licence to french ones.

We have travel insurance which covers us for our first 12 months. This is due to expire shortly.

My queries are
"can we apply for the Carte Vitale" with the receipt that we have?
How and where do we apply for this card?
Do we have to pay cotisations? (8% of total world wide income if we are not working in France) - or would this card be free as we have been living here in France for more than 3 months.

As part of our visa, we are required to show that we have health insurance cover.
I tried getting a quote from Groupama but they said I had to provide a social security number and a copy of the face of the ID card (which I am assuming is the Carte Vitale). Plus they said we had to be registered with CPAM. Does this mean being registered with CPAM is the same as applying for the Carte Vitale?

We are retired and are living off our savings so haven't yet submitted any tax forms so are not in the french tax system as yet.

We are hoping to stay in France for more than 5 years and then apply for permanent residency - we absolutely love it here and love the french people and culture and countryside. Oh and the wine of course.

Would appreciate any advise or if anyone has been in a similar predicament.
Regards
Wendy
 

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Bonjour,

Hope someone maybe able to help us with these queries?

We are Australians who have been living in France now since July 2016.

We have just submitted our paperwork to stay another 12 months - so we are renewing our Long Term Visitor Visa. When we submitted the paperwork we received a receipt which is valid until October (so we are expecting our visas to be organised prior to this date).
We have also submitted the paperwork to exchange our drivers licence to french ones.

We have travel insurance which covers us for our first 12 months. This is due to expire shortly.

I'm not sure how you managed to get a visa with just travel insurance, but you will definitely need evidence of health cover in order to get your CDS for the forthcoming year (which effectively commences in July - you will need to attend to this.

My queries are
"can we apply for the Carte Vitale" with the receipt that we have?
How and where do we apply for this card?
Do we have to pay cotisations? (8% of total world wide income if we are not working in France) - or would this card be free as we have been living here in France for more than 3 months.

Response to both questions: you can apply for PUMA cover via CPAM (commonly referred to as the 'sécu'. It is not free and requires you to pay around 8% of your worldwide income, less approx. 9.601 Euro. You will need to provide evidence of current health cover when you make your application - so you need to do this ASAP! Note that it can take several months for your application to be processed. Once your application has been approved, you will receive an 'attestation' of cover and the paperwork for your Carte Vitale. It would have been easier for you had you submitted an income tax declaration for the period July to December 2016.

As part of our visa, we are required to show that we have health insurance cover.
I tried getting a quote from Groupama but they said I had to provide a social security number and a copy of the face of the ID card (which I am assuming is the Carte Vitale). Plus they said we had to be registered with CPAM. Does this mean being registered with CPAM is the same as applying for the Carte Vitale?

That's because they are a mutuelle that provides cover for the gap (or part thereof) between what is refunded by CPAM (usually around 70%) and the actual fee you pay. You cannot have mutuelle cover unless you are attached to the French health system. The alternative is private expatriate health cover, which can be expensive and can also have exclusions.

We are retired and are living off our savings so haven't yet submitted any tax forms so are not in the french tax system as yet.

You would have done well to submit a French tax declaration for July-December and it would have assisted you in accessing the French health system and reduced the cost.

We are hoping to stay in France for more than 5 years and then apply for permanent residency - we absolutely love it here and love the french people and culture and countryside. Oh and the wine of course.

:)

Would appreciate any advise or if anyone has been in a similar predicament.
Regards
Wendy
See comments in red - I hope they are helpful. I would suggest you visit your local tax office to determine whether you can still submit a tax declaration for July-December 2016.

Cheers
 

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I see EverHopeful has filled you in on the details. As she says, it would have been best if you had submitted a tax declaration for the period in 2016 when you were living in France - but even then, you wouldn't have an avis d'imposition until August or September at best. It's the income figure on the avis d'imposition that is most commonly used for the CPAM to assess the amount you have to pay for the national health care system. And then you need to find a mutuelle to cover the remaining costs.

Still, you should probably apply to CPAM asap to see if you can at least get the process started. It can take "a few" months for the paperwork to pass - so you could be touch and go to get it all sorted in time. And, if you've already submitted your dossier, it's possible they could come back and ask you about your health insurance before they will issue the carte de séjour.

You may want to see about renewing whatever insurance you had for at least six months to a year, just to cover you while you sort things out with CPAM and line up a mutuelle.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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""We have travel insurance which covers us for our first 12 months. This is due to expire shortly.""

I'm not sure how you managed to get a visa with just travel insurance, but you will definitely need evidence of health cover in order to get your CDS for the forthcoming year (which effectively commences in July - you will need to attend to this.

Everhopeful - Travel Insurance is accepted at the consulate - it just has to meet the parameters of $50,000 emergency medical, and repatriation. In fact, they recommend it if you can not get insurance to pay the doctors directly, which pretty much no insurance does. We just got our visas recently with a year's travel insurance with Allianz. Not sure what we will do next year as our income is too high this year for PUMA next year, but plan to apply for PUMA in 2019.

KJ
 

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The issue of insurance - travel vs. expat - seems to be one of those areas where the local consulates can and do vary considerably in what they accept. And then you have to contend with the local prefectures - all of which have their own standards for what sort of coverage you need to have to renew a titre de séjour. Sometimes you just have to submit your dossier and see what the prefecture tells you if/when they approve your renewal (or don't).

That thing about how the insurance has to pay the doctor directly is also a new wrinkle I hadn't heard of before - and may be a "peculiarity" of the consulate, too.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies.

We found an English speaking French accountant so that we could prepare ourselves to enter the french tax system. We met with him in Jan of this year to find out what paper work he will require.
We waited and waited for him to contact us. So we went back to his office (he is only in town once a week), we emailed him, we tried calling his mobile. We tried for months to contact him. Still have never heard a word from him. So we did try to enter the tax system. But we will need to find another accountant or travel further afield.

The travel insurance was full comprehensive insurance and was not queried at the Sydney French Consulate.

Can we apply for Puma without the avis d'imposition? If we are unable to submit a late return for this year and will have to wait and submit one in May next year then we will be in the same boat if we don't receive the avis d'imposition until August/Sept.

Once we determine whether we can submit a late return, we will still require health insurance cover so will need to take out private insurance.

I have received a quote from a broker for 458 euros (for both of us) per month. Online quotes through Aetna and Cigna were significantly more.
The french top up insurance quote through Groupama was 132 euros per month.

Our income for 2016 was quite low ( my husband was not working and I was on Leave without Pay being paid at half pay for a few months). So earned under the 9000 euros. So it would have been better for us to pay the 8% on our income and then top up insurance.

Regards
Wendy
 

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As I understand it, you can use copies of your tax returns from "back home" in order to apply for the French national system (PUMA or whatever it's called these days - I'm losing track <g>). It may be a bit more complicated because obviously the CPAM people aren't familiar with which figures on the foreign tax returns correspond to what they normally look for on the avis d'imposition. But it should work out.

As far as the tax declarations go, before you spend big money on a tax accountant (an expert comptable) you should perhaps try to get an appointment with the local tax office. Whether they'll have someone who speaks English is a bit iffy, but normally the tax offices will help you with the forms, especially the first time around. And yes, you probably can declare "late" - if you owe any taxes (which you well may not) the "penalty" is a flat 10% of the taxes due (probably cheaper in any event than the accountant).

As far as the cost of the mutuelle - remember that that monthly charge is on top of whatever "cotisation" you'll pay for the sécu cover. And there is a wide range of pricing for the mutuelle, based on your needs. We recently retired and had to look for "individual" mutuelle cover that approximated what we had while employed. Because we wanted good dental and optical cover, we wound up paying about 350€ a month for the mutuelle for the both of us (though it came in handy pretty much right away when I needed a tooth crowned and found that the new mutuelle reminbursed considerably more than the prior one had done). I also have a rather expensive eyeglass prescription but have yet to see how the new mutuelle will handle that.

But mutuelle coverage can vary all over the map depending on what you need and want.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks for the replies.

We found an English speaking French accountant so that we could prepare ourselves to enter the french tax system. We met with him in Jan of this year to find out what paper work he will require.
We waited and waited for him to contact us. So we went back to his office (he is only in town once a week), we emailed him, we tried calling his mobile. We tried for months to contact him. Still have never heard a word from him. So we did try to enter the tax system. But we will need to find another accountant or travel further afield.

The travel insurance was full comprehensive insurance and was not queried at the Sydney French Consulate.

Can we apply for Puma without the avis d'imposition? If we are unable to submit a late return for this year and will have to wait and submit one in May next year then we will be in the same boat if we don't receive the avis d'imposition until August/Sept.

Once we determine whether we can submit a late return, we will still require health insurance cover so will need to take out private insurance.

I have received a quote from a broker for 458 euros (for both of us) per month. Online quotes through Aetna and Cigna were significantly more.
The french top up insurance quote through Groupama was 132 euros per month.

Our income for 2016 was quite low ( my husband was not working and I was on Leave without Pay being paid at half pay for a few months). So earned under the 9000 euros. So it would have been better for us to pay the 8% on our income and then top up insurance.

Regards
Wendy
For tax, visit your local tax office and ask for an appointment with someone who deals with expatriates - if you live in a village or small town you may need to visit the nearest larger town. The tax offices here are generally extremely helpful (totally unlike in Australia!) and will guide you through your declaration without seeking to charge you the highest possible rate.

When I applied for the CMU de base (that was prior to PUMA), given that the Australian financial year is a full 6 months out of alignment with France), they helped me to make a declaration re my income post arrival in France. So, yes, you should be able to apply without making a declaration, BUT I'm not at all sure that you would be accepted if your initial income is below approx 9,600 Euros (in subsequent years, once you have joined, this is no longer an issue) - that would mean that you would be making no contributions at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Bevdeforges and EverHopeful.

But here in lies another problem. As the Australian Tax year has just finished, we won't receive our tax returns for a few months. It will be calculated from July 2016 to June 2017. Will the french tax office just half the amounts (they only require July to Dec)? Plus my husband never worked during the last financial year so will not receive a return to be able to present to the french tax office.

Is this the form - Demande d'ouverture des droits à l'assurance maladie - that we both need to complete and then take it to the CPAM office in Gueret? Can we do this without lodging a late tax return?

Appreciate all your help.
Kind Regards
Wendy
 

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Actually, the way things work in France you're always dealing a year in the past. So take your 2015 to 2016 Australian returns with you to the CPAM.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks Bevdeforges and EverHopeful.

But here in lies another problem. As the Australian Tax year has just finished, we won't receive our tax returns for a few months. It will be calculated from July 2016 to June 2017. Will the french tax office just half the amounts (they only require July to Dec)? Plus my husband never worked during the last financial year so will not receive a return to be able to present to the french tax office.

Is this the form - Demande d'ouverture des droits à l'assurance maladie - that we both need to complete and then take it to the CPAM office in Gueret? Can we do this without lodging a late tax return?

Appreciate all your help.
Kind Regards
Wendy
See my previous post re making a declaration re income. Your Aussie tax return is pretty meaningless - take it with you if you wish, but it does NOT represent your income July to December, which you can calculate yourself (not necessarily half the amount on the tax return - eg. you may have received more in the first half of the year than the second and the difference can be significant). In any case, Australian tax returns are not declared in the same way and don't necessarily include your all of your income as some income may not have to be declared or is not taxable. Take it along if you wish, but it's not essential, especially if you have other documentation that documents your actual income (eg. bank statements).
 
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