If you are resident in Spain, you should not be using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the UK to access healthcare in Spain.
If you live in Spain and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.
If you are entitled to an S1, you are also entitled to apply for a UK issued EHICbut note:
- you may use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
- the EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return home
- an EHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance
- for more information you can read our travel advice pages and advice on foreign travel insurance
If you are not an S1 holder, but are registered for public healthcare in Spain in another way and are travelling outside of Spain, you should apply for a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (TSE) online (in Spanish), or go to your nearest social security office (Insitituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social).
You should also buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your TSE, EHIC or for travel to countries outside the EU.
You can read the NHS guidance on healthcare and studying abroad.
You can also find an English-speaking doctor in Spain.
Healthcare after the UK leaves the EU
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal and you are resident in Spain, your current rights on access to healthcare in Spain will remain the same as long as you remain a resident in Spain.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare may change. You should ensure you are correctly registered for healthcare and, if in any doubt, consult with your regional healthcare authority. You can read the Spanish government’s guidance on access to Spanish healthcare and EU Exit.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Spanish Royal Decree states that if you are currently registered for healthcare in Spain as a resident, you will be able to continue to access healthcare until at least the end of 2020. This is provided the UK makes the same agreement for Spanish nationals in the UK. We will update this guidance when there is a formal agreement between the UK and Spain about this.
Should UK nationals face changes in their circumstance and wish to return to the UK, they will have an entitlement to NHS services as soon as they take up ordinary residence in the UK.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal your Spanish TSE may not be valid for use in the UK. If you are an S1 holder your UK-issued EHIC may not be valid for travel to other European member states. In either case, you should ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance.
You should read the NHS guidance on healthcare for UK nationals in Spain and how it may change after the UK leaves the EU.