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Information for incoming foreign scientists. © INRA

Information for incoming foreign scientists

Practical information

If you are a foreign researcher coming from abroad to work or study at INRA, this section will give you useful information to prepare your stay, to explain what you need to know before arriving in France, on your arrival and during your stay at INRA.

Updated on 08/07/2017

Glossary and useful websites

CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales):  French Office for Family and Social Allowances.

CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie or Sécurité Sociale or Assurance Maladie):
French social security services.

CONVENTION d’ACCUEIL: Hosting institution agreement.

OFII (French Office for Integration and Immigration).


CROUS (Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires).
In France, the Regional Centers for University and Schooling Action are public establishments in charge of welcoming international students, student accommodation, university catering services and student cultural life: http://www.crous-paris.fr/en/

RIB: (Relevé d’Identité Bancaire) Bank Identification Slip.

EURAXESS was created in 2004 at the initiative of the European Commission. This network aims at facilitating the mobility of researchers. More than 500 centers in 40 countries across Europe assist them (as well as the researcher’s family) in all matters related to their professional and daily life.
For more information, visit the EURAXESS portal: http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index.cfm/services/index

Terms regarding housing

ASSURANCE HABITATION  (housing insurance)
Housing insurance is compulsory in France for any rental, regardless of how long the place is rented for. Look in the yellow pages (search for “mutuelles” which are cheaper, but banks can also provide insurance upon the opening of a bank account).

TAXE D'HABITATION (council tax)
This tax has to be paid by any tenant, as long as they occupy their rental as of January 1st, of the current calendar year.

The lease is signed both by the landlord or his representative, and the tenant. French law requires that a number of terms be specified in the lease: the surname and first name of the signatories, the lease duration, the terms of renewal, and the terms of terminating the lease.

BAILLEUR (landlord)

A guarantor is a person who is officially registered to pay your rent in case you cannot. But the guarantor can also be provided through local or regional measures. An example >

DEPOT DE GARANTIE (security deposit)
It is considered a guarantee for the landlord in case of non-payment of rent or property damage. It equals about one month of rent (2 months for furnished places) and is usually asked when you sign the lease.

ETAT DES LIEUX (initial inventory)
An initial inventory is established upon your entry either with the landlord or the real estate agent. This document details all aspects of the rent: cleanliness, state of walls, floor, bathroom, heating system, etc. Make sure you carefully write all details since the document will be compared with the “exit inventory” and any damage or change can lead to a financial compensation to the owner (who is totally or partially protected by the security deposit).

Terms regarding health insurance

ATTESTATION DE DROITS (certificate of rights)
Certificate/letter, stating your personal data and your social benefits, their validity.

FEUILLE DE SOIN (social security form)
This form is given to you by the doctor, dentist or any medical specialist, in the event you do not have your “carte vitale”. This document enables you to be reimbursed for your medical expenses. It must be sent to the social security once you have signed it and put your social security number in the appropriate boxes. See an example >

CARTE VITALE (medical card)
This medical card bears your personal data and is needed for any medical appointment. For more information (French only) >

You are asked by the social security to choose and have them register a “médecin traitant” (general practitioner - GP) for full eligibility to reimbursement. This general practitioner has to fill in the “déclaration de choix de médecin traitant”. Download form >

FRENCH HEALTH INSURANCE ADVICE LINE (information from an English speaking operator).
Dial: 0811 36 36 46 from France or
+ 33 811 36 36 46 from a foreign country.

Emergency services

Dial 17 to find a doctor in the evening, at night, or during the weekend. A police officer answers the call and gives you the address and phone number of a doctor on duty.
Dial 17 for emergency medicine. A police officer will indicate the nearest pharmacy on duty.
Dial 17 for the local police station (the National Police is responsible for public safety in France. You can contact the police station any time of the day).
Dial 15 for medical emergencies (such as heart attack, serious accident or poisoning). The local service for emergency assistance is called “SAMU” and works closely with public hospital emergency and intensive care units.
Dial 18 in case of fire and rescue services. The fire brigade (“POMPIERS” in French) is equipped to deal with accidents and medical emergencies as well as fires.