Key documents / procedures for WHV holders starting a job in France

Chapter 6: How to apply for a “numéro de sécurité sociale” (social insurance number)

Published: 27-01-2018


How to apply for a “numéro de sécurité sociale” (social insurance number)?

What’s a “numéro de sécurité sociale”?

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 administration 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.

This is how you can decipher a social insurance number:

The number follows this format:

  • The first digit is the gender, 1 for a male, 2 for a female
  • The following two digits are the last two digits of the year of birth
  • The next two digits are the month of birth, from 01 to 12
  • The following five digits are the number of the “department” of origin (for people born in France) or “99” and the INSEE code of the country for those not born in France. Here are a few codes: Argentina, 415; Australia, 501; Canada, 401; Chile, 417; Colombia, 419; South Korea, 239; Hong Kong, 230; Japan, 217; Mexico, 405; New Zealand, 502; Russia, 123; Taiwan, 236 and Uruguay, 423
  • The next three digits are an order number to distinguish people being born at the same place in the same year and month
  • The last two digits are the “control key” from 01 to 97

Social insurance number for WHV holders in France

Like any French employee, WHV holders who work in France must get a “Numéro d’Inscription au Répertoire” (“NIR,” the National Repertory Registration) also called a “numéro de sécurité sociale.”

With this number, you can legally work in France. You can also be eligible for French health benefits. However, you still need to buy private insurance coverage for health care needs, hospitalization and repatriation (and maternity coverage, for a few countries).

Useful links

Do I have to apply for my “numéro de sécurité sociale”?

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 “déclaration préalable à l’embauche” (see chapter 4 for more details). However, most of the time, you have to initiate the process and get your own social insurance number.


Occasionally, potential employers are reluctant to hire a WHV who doesn’t have yet a social insurance number. You can argue that you are legally allowed to work in France and that your WHV is proof of employment eligibility. Explain that initiating the process to get your social insurance number won’t take long.

Documents required to apply for a “numéro de sécurité sociale”

You must bring the original and a copy of the following documents:

  • Form 736 – Demande d’ouverture des droits à l’assurance maladie
  • Your work contract
  • A copy of the “Déclaration préalable à l”embauche” receipt (ask your employer for this receipt)
  • A “relevé d’identité bancaire” (“RIB”) from your bank with your information
  • The ID pages of your passport
  • The WHV affixed to your passport
  • A copy of your birth certificate issued at most three months earlier. Your birth certificate must be legalized or apostilled. If the document isn’t written in French, it must be translated. (contact your consulate or read our comprehensive guide on Apostille certification, legalization and translation of your official documents)
  • A proof of address such as a recent utility bill, a rent receipt or an affidavit of residency (a sworn statement from the tenant of the residence where you live along with his/her proof of address)
  • If you’ve been working for several months, you may also be asked for your first and last pay slips

Other documents may be required, so contact your local “caisse d’assurance maladie” (CPAM or MSA for agricultural workers) before applying in person.

Where should I apply?

You have to apply at your local:


Applying for a social insurance number is free. You won’t be charged a fee.

Processing times and next steps

After submitting your application to the “caisse d’assurance maladie” you will receive a receipt with a temporary social insurance number four weeks later. This number usually starts with “3,”, “7” or “8.” Don’t provide it to your employer—this is just a temporary number.

Because you were not born in France, your application will be directed to the “Service Administratif National d’Immatriculation des Assurés” (“SANDIA”), a branch that will check your documents issued abroad. Depending on your country of citizenship, this document check can take a few weeks to a few months (usually 1-2 months for Canadian citizens).

Any missing document or information can delay your application. Make sure to provide all the required documents up front!

A “numéro de sécurité social” is issued for life. You don’t need to apply for a new one every time you change job or start a new contract.

Chapter 6 of 7


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1 Comment

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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!


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