The Family Allowances Office (‘Caisse d’Allocations Familiales’ - CAF) can provide you with financial support to help you pay your rent, provided that you meet certain conditions.

Conditions to be met

To be eligible for housing allowance, you must live in France for more than 3 months, have signed a rental agreement, and have a bank account in France (or in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)).

The awarding and amount of housing allowance are also based on a number of other criteria, such as financial resources, family circumstances, amount of rent, and type of accommodation.

Before applying, to get an idea of how much you could be entitled to, you can do a simulation on the CAF website.  
Good to know
If you came to France with a visa marked ‘dispense temporaire de carte de séjour’ (temporarily exempted from applying for a residence permit), you are not eligible for housing allowance..

Payment of the housing allowance

The first payment is generally made two months after the application was submitted.
So apply as soon as possible after your rental agreement starts: your entitlement begins on the date you apply online, not on the date you move in!
Also note that you will not receive an allowance payment for the first month.

You move into your accommodation on September 10th.
  • Online application in September -> housing allowance entitlement starts in October, paid in early November
  • Online application in November -> housing allowance entitlement starts in December, paid in early January

Applying for housing allowance

Applications are submitted online on the CAF website, in the section called ‘Demander une prestation’.

Documents to have close at hand when applying online

  • Rental agreement or lease
  • Contact details of your landlord (owner, agency, etc.), the amount of the rent, and the Siret number (made up of 14 digits) if the landlord is a company,
  • Your total income over the past 12 months,
  • Your RIB (form containing your bank account details), or IBAN if your account is in a SEPA country
Remember to enter (or update) your mobile phone number, as this will simplify the procedure, especially if you forget your password!

When you have completed the online procedure, once your application has been validated, download the recap summarizing the information you have declared and any supporting documents you need to provide.
A benefits recipient number (‘numéro d’allocataire’) and the codes to access your online account will be sent to you either by text message or by post.

Documents to be provided after submitting your application online
Everyone :
  • Copy of your ID (passport, or ID card for EU nationals)
  • Copy of your birth certificate
Europeans :
  • Copy of your European Health Insurance Card
  • Copy of your certificate of enrolment (‘certificat de scolarité’) at a higher education institution (if applicable)
Third-country nationals (outside Europe) :
  • Copy of your visa and the certificate confirming validation of the registration of your long-stay visa serving as a residence permit (‘Confirmation de la validation de l’enregistrement de votre visa long séjour valant titre de séjour’) or of your residence permit.
Other documents may also be required depending on your circumstances; check the list of documents on your CAF application recap carefully.
You can submit these documents via your online account on the CAF website, or send them by post to your local CAF office.
CAF guides to online applications for students
The CAF has published guides in English and Spanish to help you submit your online application.
> See the guides on the CAF website

If your circumstances change or you move house

It is vital to inform the CAF of any change in your circumstances: change of address in France, moving back to your home country, salary, change in personal circumstances (marital status, children, etc.).
The easiest way to do this is via your CAF online account.

If you move to a new address in France, you must change the address on your CAF online account and submit a new application for housing allowance for this new address, if you still wish to receive it.

If you change your address and move abroad, you must notify CAF via your online account. Do this well in advance, so that the CAF can inform you about any other procedures to be completed before you leave.