Expatriation vs temporary assignment abroad

Definitions and regulation help you to define if you will be on temporary assignment abroad. Or  expatriated.

Employees are considered as “expatriates” or in expatriation when:

  • they are no longer paying their contribution to the French Social Security, and
  • they are residing outside France (fiscal resident in the country of expatriation).

The Employee is therefore under the local Employer’s payroll (country of expatriation). Income and eventual Social Security’s contributions are paid locally. This means, for example, that expatriates do not contribute to the French standard Social Security.

NB: EU expatriates can keep a link with the French Social Security through the Caisse des Français de l’Etranger. Enrolment is done on a voluntary basis. Different modules and options are available.

temporary assignment abroad

Expatriation for the French social security

The French Social Security makes a difference between:

  • someone in expatriation, and
  • an employee who is on temporary assignment abroad (“détaché”). 

This means that only employees with an active French working contract are covered by the French Social Security. 

temporary assignment abroad

Temporary assignment abroad

An employee is generally considered as “détaché” when

  • He/she is on a temporary assignment abroad
  • He/she is still on the payroll of the Employer in France. This means that his/her income is still paid by the Employer in France during the temporary assignment abroad and the Employee is still covered by the French Social Security during that time (contributions to the French Social Security are paid during this time).The length of the temporary assignment depends of the country of assignment.


  • from France to EU country: 12 months maximum. Can be renewed once and is subject to criteria.
  • from France to non EU country: most of the time, the length is determine in the agreement with the host country, such as USA ⇒ 5 years maximum. When there is no agreement, French regulation applies ⇒ cf. article L. 761-2; Articles L. 761-1 and L. 762-1 of Social Securit’s code; Art. L. 761-1.; Art. L. 762-1.)


Expatriation Caisse des Français de l’Etranger


temporary assignment abroad

Pay attention to the local regulation

Please note that an international private insurance does not free you from local regulations, during your expatriation. To conclude, our plans dedicated to expatriation are not substitute for local mandatory insurances.