For members of the EU, like British citizens, there is no need for a specific visa to stay and work in France. EU citizens will, however, still need health insurance if they are planning to live permanently in France. For non-EU citizens, the French government requires a valid health insurance certificate as a prerequisite to obtaining a visa.
What are the requirements of the insurance to comply with visa procedure?
According to the French government, the health insurance plan must comply with the following benefits:
• Minimum coverage for health expenses of €30,000
• Assistance and repatriation to your home country – standard travel insurance covering only assistance and repatriation will not be sufficient, as you also need coverage for medical costs.
Applying for such an insurance plan will guarantee you comply with visa requirements but not for good rates of reimbursement. The conditions that must be met in order to qualify for a visa are less than what is needed to cover health expenses properly.
For example, maternity costs, dental and optical care are not included in this type of health plan. Another specific point to France is that reimbursement rates are usually presented in terms of a percentage of French social security tariffs.
Therefore, an insurance plan reimbursing 100% of the real costs or an insurance plan reimbursing 100% of social security tariffs offer very different levels of benefits, the one based on social security tariffs offering less coverage.
How long should you take out insurance for?
If you are applying for a visa lasting three months or less, you can easily find an insurance plan that complies with expected conditions for one, two or three months.
If you are applying for a long-stay visa and plan to stay in France for six months, one year or more, you want to take out insurance for the period of your stay. You will then have the choice between two types of insurance:
• An insurance plan with a definite period of coverage. If you are applying for a long-stay visa, it is advisable to take out coverage for at least six months, which you can renew.
• An insurance plan that is renewable annually is the best policy for a person who will not benefit from the French social security regarding their situation in the long term.
In both cases, you will need to present an insurance certificate to the consulate. Recognized international insurance companies and insurance brokers are best, as it is not unheard of for people to have their visa refused because they bought a local insurance policy or used an unrecognized insurance company unknown to immigration agents of local French consulates.
About the author: Katherine Graffin is the founder and manager of Mondassur.com and France-Insurance.com, specialized in international and travel insurance.
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