3How to apply for a numéro de sécurité sociale (social security number)

The numéro de sécurité sociale is a unique, personal 15-digit code. Employers use it to identify each employee in the system, and it serves as a client account number in the administering of social benefits. For instance, employers use it to pay statutory social security contributions so that employees can claim sickness or injury benefits if needed.

Consult our full article Everything You Need to Know About “Sécurité Sociale,” the French Health Insurance System.

Social security number for WHV holders in France

WHV holders are exempt from needing a social security number in their first year. You do not require one to legally start working for an employer in France. Given the unique status of WHV holders, if you try to apply for one yourself in your first year, CPAM is likely to automatically reject your application. If your employer insists that you provide a social security number, you should communicate that the responsibility and ability to obtain one rest with him or her.

Even if your employer successfully obtains a number on your behalf, you are still ineligible for social security benefits as a working holiday maker.

Applicable only to Canadians who extend their stay in France by a year: once you have an Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour, you will be eligible to apply for a social security number yourself and access benefits, since you will no longer technically be on a WHV.

Useful links:

Applying for a numéro de sécurité sociale via employer

If you were born outside France and are about to start your first work contract in France, your employer may register you with the social security system when filling out the DPAE déclaration préalable à l’embauche. However, as mentioned in chapter 2, they are not obligated to do so.

Some employers may be reluctant to hire a working holiday maker without a social security number if they have never done so before. Know that a lack of a social security number is not a valid reason to refuse employment to candidates – WHV holders have open work authorization in France.
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In February 2023 I moved from Vancouver to Paris. Adventures await.
En février 2023 j’ai déménagé de Vancouver à Paris. Des aventures m’attendent.

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(14) Comments

niloo1890 I |

Hi Jackson!

In one of the comments you mentioned that there are no restrictions in hours or industries for the France WHV. What about contract types? CDD, CDI? If I’m not mistaken we are limited to CDD only, but I may be wrong. Just want to make sure.

Thank you!

Jackson I |

There are no rules against a CDI. You just have to stop working when your work authorization ends (ie resign). Or switch to a difference visa type at that time.

niloo1890 I |

Perfect, thank you!

Sh3r I |

Hi, thank you for the article. For WHV holders, what is the max hours I can work per week and are there any restrictions on the type of jobs or industries I can work in? Thank you!

Jackson I |

Hi there. There are no restrictions in hours or industries for the France WHV 🙂

melosm I |

Hi there. Thanks for the helpful article. Just a question on the social security–I understand that WHV holders do not need a social security number in the first year. Does this mean that the employee and employer do NOT make any social security contributions? If so, wouldn’t that mean the net income is much higher because it will only be subject to income tax? And does the same also apply to the second year (extension) of the WHV? Thanks for clarifying 🙂

Jackson I |

No, we make social security contributions regardless of whether we are eligible for social security benefits, in both years. The employer withholds it from gross pay.

melosm I |

Thank you, good to know! So we make the regular social security contributions both years of the WHV, but can only begin accessing social security benefits in year 2 (assuming we manage to extend the WHV for a second year)? Thanks again for the helpful info!

Jackson I |

That is correct

theAge I |

Hi pvtistes,

I’m hoping to clarify the most updated information regarding the need to apply for APT.

I’m Australian and obtained the France WHV last month. I will be arriving in January 2022. I saw above that for Australians who obtained WHV after March 1, 2016 do not need to apply for an APT in order to obtain work. Is this correct?

Having said that, I understand I will still need to obtain a ‘numéro de securité sociale’, correct?

Merci d’avance!


laura1995 I |

I too am in this exact situation and unable to confirm whether or not I need to validate my French working holiday visa? And if not, I still need to get the social security number yes? Sorry I can’t seem to read the replies to this comment which I suspect would answer my questions!

Max I |

anyone get an answer on this?

Max I |

would be good if I could see the replies as to know what people said? Cause I have a job, and now am unclear about what to do as I’m being asked for a “titre de sejour” and an “attestation de validation par l’OFII”. Unsure what to do

Jackson I |

1) WHV holders do not need an APT. The visa itself serves as work authorization AND titre de séjour
2) As outlined in chapters 2 and 4, WHV holders do NOT need a social security number in order to exercise employment (although your employer has the option of requesting one on your behalf through the DPAE). Some employers may not be familiar with the WHV, and so may need to be informed on your rights.