Change for foreign residents and eligibility to family benefit in France

People will only be able to obtain family benefits if they spend majority of the year in the country

The changes will come into force from 2025

The rules for gaining access to family benefits in France are being tightened, as the government seeks to crack down on benefit fraud.

People will need to spend nine months of the year in the country – as opposed to the current six – to claim any family benefits (prestations familiales) from the caisses d'Allocations familiales (Caf).

This includes child benefit (allocations familiales, available to families of two or more children) and prime à la naissance d’un enfant (a one-off benefit paid on the birth of a child). 

The minimum vieillesse – sometimes called Allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées (Aspa) – pension top-up, is also impacted.

Read more: French benefit explainer: Aspa low pension income top-up

The new rules were published in the Journal Officiel on Sunday (April 21) and will come into force from January 2025.

It means, in effect, only full-time residents of France will be able to receive these social benefits.

Previously, the rules stated that you had to live in France for half of the previous year to be eligible to receive the benefits and could spend the other six months elsewhere.

The nine month minimum means recipients will need to have their main residence in France.

Read more: How long before French home is deemed main residence?

Eligibility for some select benefits, most notably healthcare related Protection universelle maladie (Puma) has not changed.

Read more: Who has to pay the Puma healthcare tax in France?

Watered-down version of bill eventually passed

Originally, the bill that covered these changes also required a minimum of five years of residency in France for non-EU nationals – and 30 months for those from within the bloc – before they could be eligible to receive benefits from the Caf.

This, however, was rejected by the Constitutional Council.