In France, the medical profession is highly respected and provides considerable autonomy. Therefore, if you want to work and immigrate to France as a doctor in your practice, you have several possibilities and a high level of demand.

France is a lovely country with an exceptional way of life. Furthermore, there are a lot of jobs accessible in France for persons working in the medical field.

Becoming a doctor in France, or living and practicing as a doctor from another country, is a difficult procedure requiring time and much-specialized study. Furthermore, you must be proficient in French to practice as a medical practitioner in France.

Are Doctors in Demand in France?

In 2007, the French government claimed 208,000 practicing doctors in a country of around 70 million people. Despite predictions that this figure would fall, 226,000 physicians were on the job in 2018. This demonstrates a strong interest in improving the medical workforce and a consistent need.

The specialists that France is looking for include but are not limited to the categories below:

  • Anesthesia;
  • Pneumology;
  • Ophthalmology;
  • Cardiology;
  • Urology;
  • Dermatology;
  • Gynecology;
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation;
  • Family medicine;
  • Gastroenterology;
  • Pediatry;
  • Psychiatry

What are the Requirements to Be a Doctor in France?

To immigrate to France as a doctor, you must meet some strict standards. They are significantly tighter than in other nations. To become a doctor in France, you will need the following:

  • A medical degree from a nationally recognized university
  • Clinical experience for 5 years
  • You must finish medical school and specialty training. There is also the possibility of participating in a residency training program in France or abroad, which grants additional qualifications to practice medicine in France.
  • You must have completed your specialty.
  • You must have a certificate demonstrating conformity with EU directives.
  • Be eligible to register with the French Medical Council: European nationality + European Union diploma; OR physicians with authorization from the Centre National de Gestion (CNG);
  • Have a good French language level: B2.
  • Have professionalism. Established interpersonal and organizational abilities and the ability to operate in a team are all required.

Can I Work in France as a Doctor?

To receive a license in France, doctors must complete a three-stage application process. This procedure consists of an interview, paperwork, and testing. In addition, physicians who wish to practice in France must have the following requirements:

  • Have a medical degree from a French state-approved medical school.
  • Be under the age of 40.
  • Have no criminal history.

The first step in applying for a doctoral program in France is to fill out an application. In addition, you must give information about your education, job experience, language abilities, past healthcare programs, and other qualifications. Then, the French Ministry of Social Affairs will conduct two interviews with the proper authorities and a detailed evaluation of your job history.

To work and immigrate to France as a doctor, you must become registered with the French Medical Council. You must first seek registration to do so. Then, you must mail a list of documents (diplomas, CVs, etc.) with certified translations.

If you earned your medical degree outside of France, the first step in becoming a doctor in France is to get your degree recognized and permitted to practice medicine. This is accomplished by following the “Procédure d’autorisation d’exercice” – method for practice authorization. Different criteria are indicated according to the nation of your education, but in general, you must produce documentation of your studies and career track (if you have work experience). In addition, in certain situations, you may be needed to pass a skills exam, and in all cases, you will be expected to demonstrate fluency in French.

After you acquire this permission to practice, you must register with the Council of Doctors (Ordre des Médecins) and receive a French medical license before introducing yourself as a candidate for work in hospitals or clinics or opening your practice.

Medical Diploma Recognition in France: How to Be sure?

Certain laws apply if you’re a general practitioner or specialist or received your doctor’s license abroad. These define certain authorization procedures which must be fulfilled in order to practice medicine in France. The procedures differ depending on whether or not you are from the European Union. In addition, you must hold an equivalency degree. The authorization process has been streamlined by lawmakers both at the national and the European Union levels.

With a few exceptions, all European degrees can benefit from recognition and equivalence in France. You can request it at CNG if the equivalent is not provided quickly for those rare circumstances. You must send a complete dossier to do so. Your request needs extra time.

Yet, all individuals who intend to practice medicine must be registered with the Council of the College of Physicians (Tableau de l’ordre du Conseil) of the Department where they wish to practice their profession. This is why you must choose the location where you want to work from the start.

How to Immigrate to France as a Doctor?

You are a foreigner who wants to immigrate to France as a doctor and practice as a general practitioner. You should be aware that every foreign doctor practicing in France must be registered with the Order Council of the department where they desire to practice.

A 2005 European regulation states that EU, Switzerland, or European Economic Area graduates have their certificates automatically recognized in France. In other words, if you earned your diploma in one of the EU’s member nations, you have free mobility and can live wherever you like.

Let’s dive into it for more details:

Doctors from the European Union

A European Union directive from 2005 permits citizens from an EU Member State, the European Economic Union, or Switzerland to have their degrees automatically recognized. This allows you to travel freely as long as you have been granted permission to practice your occupation. A doctor who is a national of a member state of the EU or a party to the Agreement on the EEA can practice medical professions permanently or temporarily.

However, the practice of medicine is subject to the previous declaration and must be backed by supporting documentation. Moreover, the EU doctor must:

  • Demonstrate their command of the French language.
  • Include a diploma from their country of origin (translated into French)
  • Follow the norms of the profession as they are practiced in France.
  • Respect the disciplinary court that has jurisdiction.

You may be requested to present further documentation if your degree does not meet the French government’s educational criteria. Certifications are classified into three types:

  • Certification of conformity. It confirms that your degrees or training certificates fulfill the minimum education criteria.
  • Certification of rights obtained. It states that you have practiced your profession efficiently and lawfully in a member state.
  • Certification of legal validity. It is intended for graduates from Member States that have undergone major structural changes, including the former German Democratic Republic (“East Germany”) or former Czechoslovakia. This certification confirms that the achieved degree has the same legal significance as those conferred throughout the European Union.

Suppose you are a national of a country that joined the EU between 2004 and 2007 (for example, Hungary, Poland, or Romania). In that case, you must additionally produce a certificate issued by the Ministry of Health of your graduating country. This certificate verifies that the diploma meets the requirements for practicing in France. It can also be issued by the authorities of an EU member state or party to the EEA Agreement confirming that you have practiced as a doctor in its territory for at least three consecutive years in the past five years.

It should be noted that having obtained a DU (university degree) does not allow you to practice in France.

Only practitioners holding the Doctor of Medicine degree, achieved after three years of internship and culminating in the preparation of a thesis, are permitted to practice in France.

Doctors from Outside the European Union

If you want to immigrate to France as a doctor and you have a foreign medical degree, you must go through the following permission process:

  • A theoretical examination known as the knowledge check, which is held once a year.
  • Practice for three years in a medical service that has been approved for intern training.
  • An authorization commission may provide temporary or final authorization.
  • Understanding of the French language

While you are not qualified for automatic recognition, you can acquire individual authorization. This document is a government ministry-level authorization that is provided after a professional committee reviews it. Based on your degree, you may be required to take an aptitude test (to measure your understanding of your skill) or undergo a term of supervised practice, or both. You must also have a strong knowledge of the French language.

Exceptions are given to Quebec-licensed doctors, who are entitled to a unique process for professional qualification recognition. There is, however, an exemption for doctors from the Persian Gulf states who can receive a temporary license to practice medicine.

You can freely practice medicine in France if you have met the standards and obtained relevant authorizations. Afterward, you must decide whether you want to work as a so-called public doctor (salarié) or have a private practice (libéral).

Foreign Medical Students

Foreign medical students are permitted to pursue extra training in France under Decree No. 2017-1601, issued on November 22, 2017. However, they must provide the following:

  • Foreign medical students are permitted to pursue extra training in France under Decree No. 2017-1601, issued on November 22, 2017.
  • A public health establishment’s pledge of hospitality
  • Their professional project proves the need for the proposed training program.
  • The reason for a degree of French language competency required for the instruction that followed
  • Adequate safeguards for public health, particularly in light of the practitioner’s professional skills

Once they take these steps, admission with the “Order of Physician” is obligatory. Once the registration has been validated, you will be allowed to practice lawfully and get the status of the attached practitioner. The Ministry of Health grants permission to exercise.

Infographic How to Work and Immigrate to France as a Doctor

How to Get a French Work Visa for Immigrant Doctors?

Suppose you need a visa to work as a medical practitioner in France. In that case, you must first get permission to practice by completing the “Procédure d’autorisation d’exercice” and satisfying the standards that apply to your circumstance. There are varying methods for recognizing your degree depending on where you received it, but you will need to provide your academic and job records and proof of French ability.

If you get a job offer from a hospital, the head of the institution wanting to hire you can apply for a work permit in your name to secure your visa. Please remember that if you are an EU citizen, you will not require a visa; instead, you will need to get authorization to practice once your degree is recognized and then apply to join the Ordre des Médecins.

To learn more about getting a French work visa, you can read our article about it.

Finding Hospitals to work or Starting your Practice in France

Being an employee of a hospital is the simplest method to begin working as a medical doctor in France. Nonetheless, there is a great demand for work in large metropolitan hospitals, and rural regions are underrepresented, so you will have a better chance of finding work in more remote areas. Find hospitals in this French directory.

Why Study Medicine in France?

Some Good news. This article also gives information about studying medicine in France for those who plan to do it. France offers some of the greatest medical universities and schools in the world. In addition, France is well-known for its outstanding medical schools, where many international students study. As a result, France has been a medical healthcare leader for a long time.

  • For international students, studying medicine in France has long been a popular option due to its high quality and low cost.
  • A medical degree from a French medical college provides a highly regarded credential.
  • A medical degree from a French medical college provides a highly regarded credential.
  • France has produced several Nobel Prize winners who have made significant contributions to the medical area. From the discovery of the genetic origin of Down syndrome to the development of the Hepatitis B vaccine, graduates of French medical schools have excelled in every field.
  • Tuition prices at French medical institutions and schools are significantly lower than at most European universities.

How Long Does It Take to Be a Doctor in France?

Medical studies in France are lengthy and demanding. It takes around eight years to earn a general degree and eleven years to qualify as a surgeon. In addition, physicians must be registered with the Ordre National des Médecins, the French Medical Council (CNOM).

Medical Study System in France

In France, medical studies are separated into three cycles: PCEM, DCEM, and General Medicine (or other specializations). It concludes with the awarding of a Doctorate in medicine.

First Cycle (PCEM). The first cycle consists of two academic preparation years in which all medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, and physiotherapy students follow an identical course of study. Students must pass a competitive test at the conclusion of the first year to finish this cycle.

The Second Cycle (DCEM). The second cycle will last four years. Fourth-year students must pass theoretical tests to finish this cycle. In addition, they should engage in all internship periods at hospitals and seminars. Students are qualified to pursue the specialization of their choice after achieving achievement and based on their grades.

The Third Cycle (DES). The third cycle of medical education is divided into two study programs: general medicine and various specializations. Both will lead to a Diploma of Specialized Studies (DES).

Students can finish their studies in certain disciplines to acquire the DESC certificate for supplemental specialized study. This will require two years of research. The student might then draft and discuss a thesis for the Doctorate in medicine.

Requirements to Study for a Medical Degree in France

Your native country determines the application process for a medical university in France. Also, the student must have a

  • Diploma from high school
  • French fluency is required. Provide proof of fluency in DELF & DALF or TCF / TFE.
  • Good grades in various disciplines. For instance, students at the University of Nantes must excel in Life Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, French, and Languages.
  • Motivational or recommendation letters
  • If appropriate, relevant experience

Best Medical Universities in France

The following are the finest medical schools in France for overseas students:

  • Paris Descartes University
  • Western Brittany University
  • Sorbonne University
  • Strasbourg Medical School
  • Montpellier Nimes College of Medicine
  • Marseille Medical School

Can You Study Medicine in France in English?

Several universities and private medical institutes offer English courses to attract overseas students to study in France. On the other hand, studying medicine at public universities in France is only available in French. As a result, becoming fluent in this language is one of the most difficult difficulties for overseas students applying to public colleges in France.

How Much is the Cost of Studying Medicine in France?

According to ANEMF (National Association of Medical Students of France) statistics, PACES students spend an average of 6,000 EUR for college enrollment fees and private courses. ANEMF predicted that the cost for first-cycle medical studies would be 5,000 EUR and 4,000 EUR for third-year studies. About 260 euros for books and all medical study supplies. Moreover, social security might cost up to 500 EUR each year.

List of Medical Universities in France

  • MD Universities in France
  • MBBS Universities in France
  • Paramedical/Nursing Studies Universities in France
  • Veterinary Science Universities in France
  • General Medicine Universities in France
  • Surgery Universities in France
  • Dental Sciences Universities in France
  • Pharmacy Universities in France
  • Physiotherapy Universities in France
  • Public Health Universities in France
  • Medical Sciences Universities in France
  • Master of Surgery(MS) Universities in France

How Much is a Doctor’s Salary in France?

In France, a doctor or physician normally makes roughly 116,000 EUR per year. However, wages vary from 42,800 EUR to 197,000 EUR.

This is the average annual pay, which includes housing, transportation, and other amenities. Earnings for various Doctor / Medical occupations vary greatly. If you are interested in the pay of a certain position, please see the table below for wages for specific job titles.

The essential criterion in deciding remuneration is the amount of experience. Consequently, the bigger the payment, the more years of experience.

  • Typically speaking, professionals having experience from two to five years earn, on average, 32% more than freshers and juniors across all businesses and specialties.
  • Professionals with more than five years of experience earn 36% more than those with five years or less of job experience.
  • When you reach the ten-year milestone, your compensation increases by 21%, with an extra 14% for those who have reached the fifteen-year level.
  • These values are simply provided as suggestions. As you evaluate one job title at a time, the statistics become more meaningful.

Doctor Salaries at Public Hospitals

Working as a doctor at a public hospital would earn you a monthly total salary of 4,130 euros at level 1. This will have climbed to 4,411 euros after you have reached level 4, or after 6 years in this job.

A full-time contract doctor in a public hospital earns a minimum gross pay of 4,130 euros. Therefore, they may expect to earn a maximum gross income of 4,852 euros per month towards the conclusion of their career. This excludes bonuses and incentives and overtime pay where applicable. After 5 years on the job, it is not uncommon for a foreign doctor in France to make a gross monthly compensation of more than 5,000 euros.

What are the Benefits of Immigrating to France as a Doctor?

Depending on the amount of training, the time it takes to see the results of your financial commitment might vary substantially. However, after 4-6 weeks in a hospital environment, you should expect to experience several advantages.

  • Professional independence;
  • Plenty of time for patients;
  • Positive relationships between doctors and patients;
  • A diverse range of employment is available in the public, private, or mixed sectors;
  • Excellent working conditions;
  • Grants and tax breaks for certain localities.

Let’s Sum Up the Topic of Immigration to France as a Doctor

Many people consider their profession choice to be one of the most significant decisions they will make in their lives. Medicine is a demanding yet rewarding professional path. It is also one of Europe’s fastest-growing professions, with over 25,000 doctors currently employed in France.

Physicians in France charge far less than physicians in the United States. The cost of the study is also far lower, thus it is worthwhile to explore becoming a doctor overseas. However, the salary is the most significant difference between being a doctor in France and the United States. Physicians in France make more money than doctors in America despite working fewer hours.


How long does it take to register at the French Medical Council? 

Delays might vary, but if your dossier is comprehensive, it usually takes 2-3 months.

Can a foreign doctor practice in France?

Foreign citizens from outside the EU or the EEA who are doctors, dentists, midwives, or pharmacists can apply for authorization to practice in France.

Is healthcare better in France or the UK?

In 2020, France will spend 12.2 percent of its GDP on healthcare, compared to 11.9 percent in the United Kingdom.

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