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Queen Mary in Paris

Practicalities of moving to Paris

This page is a checklist of sorts. It contains details of practicalities that are best organised in advance of arriving in Paris. The Queen Mary in Paris team and the ULIP Student and Academic Services team in Paris are on hand to offer additional advice and support. 

French visa requirements

If you are from outside the European Economic Area, you normally require a visa to study in France.  

Your visa application must be submitted in good time. Please consult your local French Consulate in the first instance for details of the visa application process.  

Only students with a firmly accepted unconditional offer to study with us in Paris can be supplied by the University with a letter confirming their admittance to the programme, which can then be submitted as necessary as part of their visa application.  

Please note that student visa processing is entirely the responsibility of the French government; the University cannot intervene in visa processing issues. 

Students who obtain a visa should further take note of  obligations upon arrival in France. These are outlined on the Campus France webpage above. Effectively, students should ensure that, when you receive your visa, you also receive an official form (demande d’attestation with instructions) that you must present to the French office of immigration and integration (OFII) normally within the first three months of arrival. 

Healthcare and medical insurance

Queen Mary and ULIP expect all students to ensure that you have adequate health insurance to cover the duration of your studies and period of residence in Paris.  

International students, including UK students, must register on a dedicated website for French social security as soon as you start your studies. 

Prior to arrival, International and UK students are encouraged to either have a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or travel insurance to cover you until you complete your Ameli registration. 

EU students do not need to register online if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and instead should ensure you have a valid EHIC card before leaving your home country. 

Medical Cover for international students, including UK students

Students  from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) should register on the French Social Security dedicated platformRegistration on the Ameli website takes place in two stages: 

For Temporary Registration, you will need to upload a copy of the following documents: 

  • Certificate of enrolment  
  • Valid Passport
  • Student visa (if applicable)

Once the process has been completed, you will be given a provisional identification number and you will be able to download an “attestation de droits” which confirms you are entitled to French Social Security. You will also need to register with a GP (médecin traitant). 

For Permanent Registration, you will be asked to provide: 

  • Full-length birth certificate and its certified translation
  • French bank details
  • Residence permit
  • You will then get a definitive identification number that  will enable you to apply for a “carte vitale”. 


Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) - UK students only 

UK students who do not currently have a valid EHIC or GHIC card should apply for a GHIC card before leaving the UK. This will give you the same cover as French social security until you complete your Ameli registration. 

Further relevant information 

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - EU students only 

EEA students should obtain an EHIC card before leaving their home country. This will entitle you to any necessary medical treatment  during your time in Paris at reduced cost. Applying for the card is free and can be valid for up to five years. Note that you will be expected to pay for your treatment at the time, and then reclaim the money afterwards. 

Residents from EEA countries can find the relevant contact details for their country.

UK and other EEA students should note that, depending on the doctor’s fees and treatment, the EHIC card will only provide between 20 per cent and 70 per cent of cover of the standard French social security rate (tarif conventionné, secteur 1). Complementary health cover on top of this can be obtained in the form of a mutuelle santé. There are two mutuelle santé insurance schemes specifically for students in France: LMDE and SMEREP. Application forms and further advice are available from the ULIP Student Services team. 

Costs of medical care

Social security registration will provide basic cover for medical needs, but in most cases students will need to pay expenses upfront for doctors’ appointments and prescriptions, and then apply for reimbursement. Depending on circumstances, social security only reimburses from 20 to 70 per cent of approved rates so students are advised to consider an additional health cover as well. 

Whether you have an EHIC card or have registered via the Ameli website, you will need to pay for the costs of doctors’ visits, prescriptions and tests upfront, and subsequently claim for partial reimbursement. 

Some doctors charge the approved social security rate (25 € for a “généraliste” or GP, 25 to 55 € for a specialist) while others will charge more, but you will still only be reimbursed 70 per cent (16.50 €) of the approved social security rate when you see a doctor, and sometimes less for prescriptions or tests depending on circumstances. 

Banking arrangements

We advise students to investigate your home banks’ provisions for access to and transfer of money, whilst overseas. 

Transferring money to France often has a cost which may vary from one bank to another. It is students’ responsibility to check the scale of charges with both the home bank and French bank before deciding how to transfer money. 

There are also likely to be charges involved in withdrawing cash from an ATM in France, which are again most easily investigated before leaving home. 

Opening a bank account in France

We strongly advise students to open a bank account in Paris as early as possible. 

Note that banking practices and costs differ in France from the UK and elsewhere, so  be sure you understand everything a bank asks you to sign. Be aware that in France overdrafts are very costly and you will be charged a fee for every day your account is overdrawn, even if you have a découvert autorisé. This only means that you have permission to be overdrawn, not that you have an interest-free overdraft. 

When you open a bank account remember to ask for several statements of bank details (RIB: Relevé d’Identité Bancaire) which you will be asked to provide to any organisation with which you set up a direct debit (eg, landlord, insurance company, electricity provider, student travelcard, etc.) Also, make sure you receive all Internet banking codes and details for online transactions and services. 

You may also like to consider a digital-only banking option, such as N26 or Revolut.

Housing benefit

Provided your name is on the lease, students with an income below the relevant threshold may be eligible for housing benefit from the CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales). Eligible students are encouraged to submit the CAF application as soon as enrolment is completed, as late applicants will not receive back-payments. Detailed instructions will be provided by ULIP’s Student and Academic Services team, but one of the documents required as part of the CAF application is a full-length birth certificate, so make sure you have a copy with you when you come to Paris (note that this will need to be translated by a certified translator if the certificate is not in French). 

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