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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I looked in the forum and could not find an answer.

I am 63 years old American going to retire in France in a a couple of years. My wife is a French national.

We are trying to find out what kind of health insurance I need to purchase in order to get:

+ a short stay visa
+ long stay visa
+ residency permit

We are not sure if I have to get all the visas to get the residency permit.

The insurance requirement is also very confusing.

Thanks for your help in advance.
 

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As of right now (and that could change over the coming months and years), if you are married to a French national you will need to get a long-stay visa in order to move to France and take up residence.

The sequence is pretty simple (though getting the actual documents may present a few "challenges" along the way). A visa is a document that allows you to enter France. On arrival, you then register to obtain a residence permit (called a "titre" or "carte" de séjour).

The talk you may see amongst the folks here on the forum about a spouse needing only a short-stay visa is ONLY for the spouse of a non-French EU national planning to settle in France.

For the long-stay "spouse" visa (actually a "vie privée et familiale" visa and/or residence permit), at the moment you don't need to show proof of health insurance coverage in order to get the visa. Your wife may want to take a look at this page for French people returning to France (if only to make sure she is up to date with all her registrations and such): Services for French nationals abroad - France-Diplomatie - Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères

It will take a bit of time to qualify for and register for the French national health care system, so you should probably look into taking some sort of "travel insurance" to see you through the first 3 to 6 months in France.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the quick reply. A while ago I saw the French consulate in Washington DC said I needed $30,000 of health insurance with no deductible to apply. I don't see that requirement any more.
 

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Just checked the DC Consulate website. It's a bit tricky to navigate and it's possible that you may have been looking before at the requirements for one of the other long-stay visas, where there usually IS a requirement for health insurance.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Both you and your wife will need to take out private health insurance to start with, even though she is French, unless she is eligible for a French pension. Once you can prove you have been continuously resident in France for 3 months, you can apply to CPAM to join the French health system. Don't forget that the French system does not generally reimburse 100% of costs, so it's worth considering top-up cover through a mutuelle (but you will need to have been accepted into the French health system in order to get that cover).
 
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