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What health insurance do I need for a long-stay French visitor visa?

People applying for such visas need to show proof that they can cover any medical costs which arise while they are in the country 

People applying for French visitor visas must be covered for their healthcare costs in France Pic: Alexander Shutski / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Does anyone know whether a one-year travel insurance policy will be acceptable for a one-year long-stay visitor visa in France or do I have to buy private health insurance? I am a British citizen.

People applying for a French long-stay visitor visa must be able to present certain documents which prove that they will be able to support themselves in France. 

These include a valid passport, ID photos, details of the reasons for their stay, proof of funds, proof of accommodation and proof of valid healthcare cover. 

As you will be staying in France for more than six months, you will need private health insurance covering the whole proposed duration of your visa. 

Therefore, a travel insurance policy will not be sufficient, especially as it will often only cover stays of up to 90 days.

The French visa authorities have previously told The Connexion that: “A travel insurance only covers treatments in the event of an emergency, whilst a private policy also provides cover for routine treatments and ongoing treatments for pre-existing conditions.”

Private health insurance normally costs in the region of £800-£2,000 per person per year depending on age and medical conditions. 

Exceptions 

If you are a state pensioner within the British system you have the option to use an S1 form certificate of entitlement, which allows you to access healthcare in France which is paid for by the UK. 

You can find out more about applying for an S1 on the NHS website. 

For stays of less than six months, applicants from the UK can use a valid EHIC or GHIC card. 

EHICs are no longer being issued to UK residents, but can still be used, along with their GHIC replacement, in Europe before their expiry date. 

These cards are available for free although the NHS stresses that the cards are not a substitute for travel insurance and may not cover all health costs (and never cover repatriation costs). It advises people to take out travel insurance in addition.

The need for private health insurance would normally only concern people applying for visitor visas, as work visas will be granted on the basis that the individual will be integrated into the French healthcare system through their job.

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