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How to get free transport to medical appointments in France

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
How to get free transport to medical appointments in France
An ambulance drives down the street in Lyon, eastern France, on July 16, 2023. (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)

If you need to get to a medical appointment in France, you might be eligible for state-reimbursed transport.


Whether you are returning home from hospital or you need to go in for a routine appointment, France's public health system may be able to provide transport.

This is used for non-emergency appointments - in an emergency you should dial 15 and call an ambulance.

It might be useful if you live in a rural area and cannot drive after surgery but it can also be used by those in urban areas if, for example, you are on crutches and cannot manage public transport. 

In most cases, your doctor will need to a write a prescription for it to be covered, but you could also be eligible if you have received a health-related summons (convocation) for example to the compulsory workplace medical. 

How does it work?

Your doctor will first write up the prescription. It is their job to choose the mode of transport that is best suited to your personal condition and level of independence. 

This service is often used by people with chronic illnesses who must attend regular appointments, but others can benefit too.

To be reimbursed, you must follow the prescribed mode of transport. If you opt for an alternative, it must be less expensive in order to be covered. For example, if your doctor prescribed a taxi ride you could instead have a relative drive you, as this would be less expensive.

READ MORE: How to get a carte vitale in France and why you need one

Which types of transport are offered?

Your doctor will abide by the transport guidelines when deciding the type of vehicle to prescribe for you.

You might be prescribed a 'private vehicle' (eg driving yourself, or being driven by a family member) or public transport, for those who have sufficient mobility or independence. 


In this situation, the doctor will also specify whether you need to be accompanied.

A licensed taxi or 'light' medical vehicle - véhicule sanitaire léger - a car provided by a local patient transport service - is prescribed if you need assistance travelling.

If you need to be monitored or remain lying down, a patient-transport ambulance might be prescribed.

In some circumstances, you may be transported by boat or plane (though this depends primarily on your location).

How do I get the reimbursement?

After your trip, you can request the reimbursement either on your personal Ameli account, or you can download, print and fill in the Ameli form (S3140). You can find it on the Ameli site.

To get your reimbursement, you will need proof of the prescription for the transport and proof of the expenditure (eg. a receipt).


You should be reimbursed within one week.

If the situation was considered urgent, you may be able to get a backdated prescription and qualify for a reimbursement. You should ask your healthcare provider if this applies to you, as it is on a case-by-case basis.

In terms of the reimbursement rate, this depends on your situation. The standard rate, as of 2023, was 55 percent. Depending on the mode of transport, the amount is calculated differently. You can find the calculations here.

Some groups automatically qualify for a 100 percent reimbursement rate. These include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Babies under 30 days old
  • Those suffering from a work-related accident or an occupational disease
  • Those with long-term illness or disability (people who qualify for ALD)
  • Children and adolescents being transported to medical centres for disabilities (CMPP and CAMSPs)
  • People (usually those on low-incomes) who qualify for state medical aid or the 'solidarity' complementary health insurance (CSS)

Filing paperwork beforehand

In some cases, you may need to seek prior agreement from your local CPAM (Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie) before booking your travel.


You need prior approval if any of the following situations applies to you:

  • you need transport for more than 150 km one way;
  • you need multiple transports (at least four transports of more than 50 km one way, over a period of two months) for the same treatment. If you have a long-term condition, then you do not need prior agreement to be eligible for multiple transport reimbursements.
  • you need transport by plane 
  • the transport is related to the care or treatment of children and adolescents to a medical centre for disabilities (a CMPP or CAMPSP)

In this case, you must send a request first to CPAM. If they do not respond within 15 days, that means you were approved. If you are refused, you will receive a letter from Assurance Maladie.

What about medical emergencies?

You should call SAMU (emergency services) - the phone number is 15. You can also call 18 (the fire brigade, les sapeurs pompiers) or the international emergency number, 112.

Calls to SAMU are free but you will be billed for their services, with prices for consultations and call outs varying greatly according to department.

Costs will be reimbursed by the government's social security scheme and your complementary insurance policy, if you have one, in the same way as other medical costs.

READ MORE: Emergency in France: Who to call and what to say


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