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Obtaining a social security number as a foreigner coming for a PhD

Good afternoon.

I am south african and will start a PhD in France very soon. I am currently stuck in a circular situation as :

  • I need a social security number and a bank account for the establishment of my contract
  • I need a visa to have a bank account
  • I need a contract to finalise my university registration
  • I need a contract to get a visa

Am I supposed to register online to a student social security ? The procedures requires a visa (which itself requires a contract)

Am I supposed to be registered by the general CPAM ? The procedures has to be done by my employer who himself requires a social security number ?

Thank you for your advices


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Hello BenjaminB,

In order to apply on the website "étudiant étranger", you need to have a VISA, for that you should contact your "préfecture". 

Anyway, if you need some help regarding this request, you can contact the CPAM’s English speaking line.

More information on the link below : How call French Health Insurance Advice Line ?

For your information : the international call prefix or dial out code shown as “+” has to be replaced by figures which are different from the country where you’re located.

You can find the list of these codes on the link below : https://www.indicatifs.fr/code-acces-international

You can also contact the French speaking line, dial 36 46.

Have a good day.

[mis à jour le 08/07/2020]

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