Housing allowance - CAF

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 the housing allowance are also based on a number of other criteria, such as financial resources, family circumstances, amount of the 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
Some types of residence permits do not allow to benefit from the CAF housing allowance.
Thus, you will not be eligible if, for example, you came to France with:
- a visa marked ‘dispense temporaire de carte de séjour’ (temporarily exempted from applying for a residence permit),
- a short stay visa ("visa de court séjour"),
- a temporary long term visa ("visa long séjour temporaire"),
- a "long-term resident - EU" residence permit ("carte de séjour "résident de longue durée – UE") issued by a country other than France,
- a residence permit issued by a country other than France accompanied by the "Notification de la mobilité en France d’un étudiant [ou chercheur] étranger autorisé à séjourner dans un autre État membre de l’Union Européenne".

Applying for housing allowance for the first time

If you are not known to the CAF (you are then a 'non-allocataire'), your first application for housing allowance is made online, on the CAF website, in the following steps:

Step 1 – Create your CAF account

You have to go through the section 'Faire une demande de prestation' to create your CAF account.

On the CAF website, go to the section 'Aide et démarches', 'Mes démarches', then 'Faites une demande de prestation en ligne', 'Logement'.
Then, click on 'Faire la demande' under the section 'Aide au logement', and finally click on 'Créer un compte'.
You do not have a French social security number ?
You can create a CAF account even if you do not have a definitive French social security number (starting with 1 or 2).
It is then an 'identifiant provisoire' that will be created and that will allow you to access your account.

> Find out more about the creation of a CAF account (in French)

Step 2 – Applying for housing allowance

Once you have created your account, you can apply for housing allowance online via the 'Faire une demande de prestations' section.

You will then need to log back into your account.
In order to be able to enter all the requested information, you must have with you at the time of the request:
  • Your rental contract or lease,
  • The contact information of your landlord (owner, agency...), the amount of the rent and the Siret number (composed of 14 digits) if the landlord is a company,
  • The amount of your income over the last 12 months,
  • Your bank account number ('RIB', 'Relevé d'Identité Bancaire'), or the IBAN of your account in the SEPA zone.
If you do not have all the necessary information with you, it is possible to suspend the online application, and resume it later, within a maximum of 1 month.
By suspending your application, you will receive a 'numéro de sauvegarde' by email or SMS that will allow you to access your application again.
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 (Section 'Besoin d'aide', at the bottom of the page)

At the end of the online procedure, once your application has been validated, a list of the documents you need to send to CAF will appear on the screen, and summary documents in PDF format will be available for download.
We recommend that you make a note of the list of documents (by taking a screen shot, for example), and that you download the summary documents (they are proof that you have completed your application and allow you to check the information you have entered).

Step 3 – Send the requested documents to CAF

You can send the requested documents to CAF: Depending on your situation, you may be asked for different documents.
But you will have to provide at least the documents listed below.
Please note that the copies of your documents must be of good quality.

Everyone :
  • Copy of your ID (passport, or ID card for EU nationals)
  • Copy of your birth certificate (in the original language, accompanied by the French translation if you have it)
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.
Employed / salaried doctoral students :
  • Copy of your work contract
You are a student arriving from Ukraine and benefiting from temporary protection?
The CAF has set up a specific procedure for your housing allowance application.
To find out more, contact the ISSO service, or come and see us directly at our Welcome center: we will be able to help you complete and submit your application.

The processing of your application for housing allowance

After receiving your application for housing allowance, the CAF will send you letters containing your file number and a password allowing you to access telephone services on an individual basis.

To find out how long it takes to process housing allowance applications, log in to your CAF online account, or visit the CAF website for your place of residence :

Payment of the housing allowance

The first payment is generally made two months after the application was submitted.

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

The payment period may vary depending on the processing time of the CAF of your place of residence.

But for the opening of the right, it is the date of the online application that counts, and not the date of entry in the accommodation.
So apply as soon as possible after the beginning of your rental contract!

Also note that you will not receive an allowance payment for the first month.

If your circumstances change or you move house

You must 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.
Published on  January 7, 2021
Updated on August 23, 2023