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Hi there,

I am a chef from Canada, although I have been living in London, UK for the last 3 years. I have found a job in Honfleur in Normandy at a Michelin restaurant as a chef, and I now have an apartment as well.

I have been living in France for about 3 months now, and had some questions. I have heard that when moving to a new town in France, you need to check in with city hall, or hotel de ville. Some of my non french friends and colleagues here say they have never heard of this requirement. Anyone familiar with this...?

I am also a little confused about the healthcare system here. I should mention that I have an EU passport, and pay taxes through my employment. For instance, if I were to visit a doctor or dentist, would I be expect to pay? Do I need to register for a social security number beforehand?

Any help with this or advice would be much appreciated, thanks!

Maxfra
 

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You have to register with the local town hall in Germany, but there is no such requirement here in France. It never hurts to find an excuse to "drop by" the mairie (say, to pick up a list of the town's associations or activities) and just introduce yourself as new in town. Sometimes you will manage to be invited to a gathering for the new folks in town (never refuse a drink from/at the mairie!) and it always helps to have a friend at the mairie in case you run into problems down the line.

With the health care system, your employer will need to have your sécu (social security) number in order to properly make the necessary payments for the social insurances. If your employer has not yet put in for a sécu number for you, you should probably start the process off yourself. Once you have the sécu number, you can approach the CPAM to register for a Carte Vitale, which you'll need when you go see a doctor or get other medical care.

The French health care system is a reimbursement based system, so in any event, you pay (at least at most doctors and practitioners) and you are reimbursed after the fact. Many labs, pharmacies and other providers will ask you up front for your Carte Vitale and the card you get from your mutuelle (top up insurance that pays what the national system doesn't) so you don't have to advance the funds.

First step, however, is probably to ask your employer whether they have applied for the sécu number for you, and if not, ask them to help you get that process started. Your employer usually offers a mutuelle (for which they pay part of the cost) and may actually already be taking the payments for it out of your pay.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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