Social security and autoentrepreneurs

I'm one step closer to getting a proper secu sociale number - the one they sent me previously was a temporary one, but I can apparently still use this to claim back my healthcare costs. I now need to send the RSI a copy of my full birth certificate and a certified translation, and they'll start the process of allocating me a proper one. They didn't, of course, tell me this until I went in there this morning to query my odd secu number. But they did tell me in the end, so success! We've got to get the birth certificates translated for the wedding, anyway, so it's not even an extra cost.

I haven't, though, seen anything that sets out how the autoentrepreneur and social security system work for foreigners. So I thought I might write down for future reference and Google indexing the steps I've gone through. (Please do comment if your path differs, it would be interesting to see how much this varies by location in France!)

This assumes you are an EU citizen living in France, that you're not otherwise covered by a secu sociale system and that you're not otherwise employed.

1. Register as an auto-entrepreneur at From the date you register, you are entitled to full social security cover (and are also liable for social security contributions, depending on your income.)

2. Wait a while. The RSI should send you a Certificat d'Inscription au Repertoire des Entreprises et des Etablissements (SIRENE) . This will have your SIRET number on it, which is proof that you are a properly registered company for places that require such proof. It took them about a week to send me mine, I was pleasantly surprised.

3. Wait some more time. Eventually, they will send you a request for information on how much you've earnt, and thus how much you owe in social security contributions. This letter should contain your numero de securite sociale. Congratulations! However, note that this number is probably filled with 000s. This indicates that the number is only temporary. To get a permanent one, you apparently have to send a copy of your full birth certificate, plus a copy of a certified translation to your local RSI offices. They will forward these to INSEE in Nantes for you, who will allocate you a permenant secu sociale number that remains with you until you die. (Or possibly until you leave France. Who knows?)

4. You should, at this point, also receive a letter from the mutuelle that you chose as part of the auto-entrepreneur sign-up process. This will have a numero de immatriculation on it, which should match the temporary social security number you have been given. It is to these people that you will send any feuilles de soins you are issued (along with a RIB, so they can repay you), until they give you a carte vitale. You also send them the completed declaration de choix de medecin traitant. The mutuelle you chose during the sign-up process is not (necessarily) the same as the mutuelle you have for your normal health insurance (which is optional). For auo-entrepreneurs, the RSI has sub-contracted, essentially, the admin work for processing healthcare repayments to a series of mutuelles - you choose one you'd like to work with, and they replace the CPAM for auto-entrepreneurs.

Simple, really, isn't it? Of course, it's taken 5 months to get to this point. And god only knows how long it will take to get the reimbursements and the proper social security number. But at least I have clear instructions and contact addresses, and the direct phone number of a very helpful RSI employee, who is clearly new and thus hasn't become utterly jaded and hating-of-humanity yet. I give her a week, but I'm glad I caught her early on!

Sandy –   – (20 May 2010 at 14:21)  

It was ever so much easier as a new arrival in NL, all I did was apply for residency, pay an exhorbitant amount in private health insurance and register with the city. The number is issued at the time of the visa, all done!!

This of course, applied to a non EU citizen, but still a hell of a lot easier than the nonsense you've been through!!

Nicole  – (20 May 2010 at 15:51)  

I could have, after 3 months, registered for universal health cover - regardless of my employment status. I didn't find out about this til after I'd started the above process, though, by which time it was too late. Ah well, the end is in sight now!

Fran –   – (21 May 2010 at 22:19)  

What was all that about French bureaucracy only being a stereotype??? haha

Lee  – (4 June 2010 at 17:12)  

You can get loads of good auto-entrepreneurs info and help on

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