oh, french admin, tu me tues

It’s been a crazy week for us as we’ve been in the midst of moving to our new place. We’ve been making numerous trips back and forth each evening, and tomorrow will be the big moving day. We will finally be sleeping there tomorrow night.

Another thing we’ve been starting to do is gather proof of “vie commune” (living together), one of the requirements for my residence card as a spouse. The list of requirements asked for one document. However, we all know the Prefecture can be fickle. One PACSed friend went recently, and all she had to show was any piece of mail addressed to both of them. Another friend (married) had to show three official forms of proof! I’m glad she warned me! Luckily, they had brought four things, but the person almost didn’t accept certain things. So we’re preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best.


As I am on J’s health insurance as his “ayant droit”, an attestation of that counts as proof. Little did we know that our adventures in health insurance were not over. We kept having trouble with the site which kept saying technical error, so J finally went to the CPAM office itself.

Turns out, I had been kicked off his insurance as I didn’t have a valid titre de séjour (residence card). No one bothered to tell us that. Normally, they send you a letter requesting a copy, but somehow, that didn’t happen. I never provided that last year when I signed up, so it didn’t occur to me that I would need to provide a copy this year!

To make matters worse, the only thing that I have at the moment is proof of my appointment at the Prefecture. No card, no récépissé. Nothing. But on the CPAM website, it says proof of an appointment is enough. We were then so kindly informed that as an “ayant droit” that is not the case. So basically, if I were single and living on my own, I could have health insurance, but not married. I mean, what? The person at the office said they knew it was ridiculous, but the higher ups don’t care.

It’s bad enough that I have to wait 5 months for my appointment at the Prefecture, but now I don’t have health insurance because of that? It’s not my fault. We went as soon as we could to make the appointment seeing as we needed proof of the marriage. Plus, they say to go two months before your old card expires, and we were well within that margin of time.

J called the number for the national CPAM office, and they said they would “examine” our dossier. Yeah, that didn’t sound promising.

To our surprise, they called J back yesterday saying my insurance had been reinstated, and that they’d said us an attestation in about two weeks. I just have to provide a copy of my récépissé once I have it.

What a relief.

I mean, even if I didn’t have insurance, it’s not like going to see a doctor is that expensive in France, but it’s the principle of the thing. We were also pissed that no one informed us. That’s sort of the thing people inform you of. At least, it seems to be figured out for the moment.

How would you have reacted in our place?


12 thoughts on “oh, french admin, tu me tues

  1. It sounds like you guys handled it perfectly and I’m glad that you found some sane people who felt like it was their job to take care of this! I told my J the other day and he shook his head sadly.

    Also, I had about ten different “preuves de vie commune” for my first PACS carte de séjour, but then we had to prove a year. But they still ask for a good number of things every year: avis d’imposition, letter from the CAF (I have never in my life received CAF, and I used to ask for a letter saying so—this year the CAF failed to send it even though I called for it, and the prefecture didn’t care), our separate attestations d’assurance even though I’m not an ayant droit… it’s a pain in the butt.


    • We were super surprise when *they* called us back.

      That’s why I was surprised when my friend said they just accepted a piece of mail from a year ago with both their names on it whereas my newly married friend had to jump through hoops. For marriage, you just have to prove that the “vie commune” hasn’t stopped. You can make out in my photo the example of things you can give. And it clearly states “un justificatif”, but we’re going to play it safe.

      And as soon I can and do find work, I won’t be an ayant droit anymore.


  2. Yep, totally not your fault and I would have been annoyed too.

    I had a similar issue in Canada recently: Mark’s health card is only valid for two years (it’s the rule for kids, I think, because their health card doesn’t have a picture) and must be renewed. I received the paperwork to renew it, no big deal, I just had to provide my own health card number and confirm we hadn’t moved out of Ontario. It takes 6 weeks to get a new health card.

    Mark got sick a few days after his birthday so we went to see the doctor. Guess what… we had to pay for the visit ($60) because his health card was expired (by three days!) even though I had sent the renewal papers. I was pretty annoyed.

    Apparently, the $60 fee will be refunded once we receive the new card and show it at the doctor office… sigh… more paperwork…


    • That is annoying! I hope getting it refunded goes smoothly.

      Considering how much seeing a doctor costs in the US (and how much insurance costs), I feel like I shouldn’t be complaining about potentially paying 23 euros. But at the same time, I’ve done everything in my power, and I shouldn’t be “punished” for that.


  3. I’m glad it worked out and praying for the rdv a la pref. Im an ayant droit too so this warns me to get my new récépissé copy to them. I must renew my récépissé because my renouvellement est encore en cours d’instruction. Super ! Lol Bon courage !!!! 🙂


    • We found out the exact day my “droits” expired – one year from when we did the original dossier, so if you’re coming up to that period, you’ll need to give them a copy. Though they should theoretically ask you for it… they apologized for not notifying me.

      Good luck with your renewal!


  4. French administration and their stupid justificatifs…

    I’m glad everything got figured out insurance wise and am crossing my fingers for your appointment next month!


  5. Pingback: m2 en poche! | Almost Bilingue

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