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Applying for an EHIC Card as a Spanish Resident

- Updated: 12/06/2017
Applying for an EHIC Card as a Spanish Resident

The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), commonly known as a European Medical Card, can be used to cover any medical treatment provided by the state that you may require due to accident or illness during your time in Spain.

But this only applies when the holder is a resident of the UK.

Once you have become a resident of Spain you must either register for state healthcare or take out private medical insurance.

However if, like many expats living in Spain, you make occasional trips back to the UK – or take holidays to other EU countries – you can only benefit from a similar scheme if you register with the country where you are resident.

In other words if you are legally resident in Spain, planning a trip to the UK and wish to have your healthcare covered in the event of emergencies, then this will be provided by means of the Spanish version of the EHIC and not by an existing or old UK one which you may still have.

The Spanish version of the EHIC is called a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (TSE) and allows Spanish residents to benefit from emergency medical treatment and care when travelling within the EU.

Anyone covered by the Spanish social security system is entitled to apply for the card.

Applications should be made at your local Social Security Office (Note: Different offices perform different functions – you should look for ‘centro de atencion y informacion de la seguridad social’ - otherwise known as CAISS.)

Or, you can make you application online (In Spanish), by using the link > HERE <

However, one exception is those who are resident in Spain, but not paying social security subscriptions, and claiming a pension from another EU Country. Under these circumstances applications must be submitted to the UK by post.

You can request an application form sending out for you and your dependants by calling the International Pension Centre (IPC) on +44 191 218 7777.

** 10.10.2014 : An informative Youtube guide on the subject issued jointly by the Dept of Health in the UK and the British Embassy in Madrid can be seen by Clicking the link HERE

Comment on this Article

I need to renew my tarjeta sanitaria europea. It expired back in 2015. How do I do this? Please advise asap. I can?t seem to see anywhere on the website how to do this.
Jane Stammers - Tue 31st Oct 2017
I have to inform everyone that this information in mine and my Husbands case is totally wrong. Our NHIC cards issued by England are perfectly valid until the year 2020 we are Fiscally Resident in Spain and have been since day one here. I have made three phone calls to England this morning and have it confirmed that these cards work just the same for me as a British citizen in England when I go on Holiday and my Husband. We have reciprical National Health from Spain and England. Also paid full national Insurance both of us during our working lives in England.
Gwendoline Jackaman - Mon 7th Aug 2017
There seems to be a little confusion between the Spanish Health Card for treatment in Spain and the EHIC card. As I understand it today, if you want Spanish healthcare cover as a pensioner, you must apply for the document issued by the DWP in Sunderland for the EU country you live in. Call the ex-pat number in the UK to get it AND also ask for an EHIC card if you don't have a UK issued one. EU countries no longer issue their EHIC card to non citizens, the UK does even if living in say Spain. Once you have the reciprocal document for Spanish healthcare, you need to go to the Medical centre with proof of residence, local town hall padron (probably), the DWP document and passport of course. I should point out that the EHIC card issued by the DWP is for emergency treatment ONLY in all EU countries including the UK as procedures like hip replacement will only be covered in Spain not the UK or anywhere else once you've changed. After Brexit is finished, its anyones guess but hopefully noth
Mike - Fri 4th Aug 2017
This is not the answer you gave me only a few weeks ago when I telephoned you, have the boundaries been changed yet again. I am a British subject. Yes I am resident for Tax purposes in Spain & have been since day one of arriving here from the consulate in London. But we are being left not knowing how this Brexit thing is going to affect us at our ages when we both paid a full contribution to the English health service all our working lives.?
Mrs. Gwendoline Jackaman - Fri 4th Aug 2017
I need a Spanish e111 as I live in Spain ,and wish to visit the uk
Doreen Campbell - Thu 3rd Aug 2017
I have a tarjeta sanitaria europea which expired back in March 2015. How do I renew this card? Please advise asap as I am taking a trip back to the UK soon.
Jane Stammers - Wed 7th Jun 2017
Not sure whether this has been answered yet but any UK citizen (OAP) resident in a EU country like Spain has to apply to the DWP in Newcastle/Sunderland for the EHIC card for emergency treatment anywhere outside of Spain but within the EU/UK.
Mike - Thu 23rd Mar 2017
How do I apply for a Spanish EHIC card, please.
Lynn - Thu 23rd Mar 2017
I am a Spanish resident with an expired health insurance card, can you advise how to renew it for visits to the UK. Thank you.
Marilyn Renolds - Wed 15th Mar 2017
I have an european Health Insurance Card which has expired, how do I go about renewing it. I am resident in Spain and am making a visit to the UK in May. Thank youl.
Michele Fowler - Mon 20th Feb 2017
Thank you. I have made the call and cards, for my wife and I, are on their way - from the UK. Frank
Frank - Tue 11th Oct 2016
Frank - ring Newcastle they will sort it out. Look at your pension paperwork for the relevant numbers.
Karen - Tue 11th Oct 2016
It would appear that your information is incorrect. I am a pensioner with permanent residence in Spain and registered with Spanish Social Services but the Spanish health authority tell me that, as my pension comes from the UK, my EHIC must also be issued by the UK. How do I do that?
Frank - Mon 10th Oct 2016
The link can be found here:
Waine - Tue 16th Aug 2016
I have always tried to de the legalities of living in Spain correctly, but to try to keep up with their ever changing Laws is difficult. I have been reading about the Green A4 issued Residencia Doc.which replaced our Plasticised Photograph Residencia card, which the Police cut up gleefully in front of us. My wife & I, they had no right to do that we paid for them and were our record. Now they are making New rules about EHIC cards. How can I clarify the Position for us.?
David Jackaman - Thu 2th Jun 2016
if applying for this in uk where do you go? thanks was recommended but sounds like a great idear !! hopefully brexit wont interfere with it if it happens ??
Lee - Fri 27th May 2016
I would like to apply for a Spanish EHIC card what is the prossess
A S Roberts - Fri 25th Mar 2016
The link you provide to apply for a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (TSE) - does not work
David Hubbocks - Tue 23rd Jun 2015
the link is broken.
Neil - Fri 13th Mar 2015
Rebecca : The EHIC is a reciprocal agreement between EU countries where you can get EMERGENCY healthcare when visiting another EU country where you are not resident. So, in your case the EHIC is NOT the appropriate scheme for you to get healthcare. You might want to read through some of our other benefits / healthcare guides. Also : Are you legally resident in Spain ? Is your Partner working legally in Spain ? Do either of you have a SIP card ? - These are all things which could help you move forward here.
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 18th Sep 2014
Hi, I'm English living in Spain and am pregnant, we am not married nor do I work in Spain, I do not have an EHIC. What can I do? Please help
Rebecca Claire Hodgson - Thu 18th Sep 2014
A further issue that is yet to be addressed is how Spain / Catalonia will react to each offering reciprocal Healthcare in the event that Catalonia becomes Independent from the rest of Spain (and therefore outside the EU ?) - On a similar level, How would Spain and Scotland view each other's position if Scotland was to become Independent of the EU ?.... And don't even get me started on how A Catalan Resident would be treated by Scotland if they needed Hospital treatment in the event of both countries gaining Independence !
Robster - Fri 12th Jul 2013
Steve, that really sucks as the UK has effectively washed their hands of you. It looks as though I was not covered for 3 years under EHIC by Spain or the UK. I suppose it depends on what proof the Spanish Health System requires to prove you're not on the UK system. Perhaps either/both the local or national Spanish residency forms will suffice to join their health system at a cost rather than the UK DWP forms and then you could 'forget' to tell the UK.
Mike - Fri 12th Jul 2013
If you are an early retiree and buy into the valencian health care system after affirming you are no longer entitled to use the NHS you will not be entitled to a UK EHIC. You are also not entitled to a Spanish EHIC as you are not in receipt of a state pension. One area that the EU could sort out, they must be to busy to reply to my email on this subject?
Steve Wager - Fri 12th Jul 2013
Mike - nothing you say in the latter post is incorrect. However health tourism would not be part of the equation. The scheme covers people who have health cover in one EEA member state who are on a temporary visit to another EEA member state,and is only for unforeseen, medically necessary treatment that arises during that visit - not for preplanned treatment. The only exception to that rule is for people who need ongoing treatment, for instance oxygen or blood tests. The NI number, as you say, does not prove you have cover in itself, but it does enable you to get a cover note sent out for you.
Flashcard - Mon 10th Dec 2012
OK Flashcard, the competent country for most people is their country of citizenship but it then gets a bit complicated if you have two equal or dissimilar pensions from two EU countries. On your second point, the DWP did say I should carry my NI number because they were took over 4 months to issue me with an EHIC but on your last point, I beg to differ as far as I was concerned. I'm not au fait what a UK S1 is but I was in receipt of a UK pension having claimed it a few years previously. Then my wife and I had to specifically fill out to forms to request the EHIC from the UK and hers came in 2 months and mine not at all until I kicked some ass's and then 3 came in the post within a week. I suggest that people pro-actively get hold of a EHIC rather than relying on a NI number as that in itself does not prove you have EHIC cover from any country. I'd be rather concerned if some hospital decided to clamp down on health tourists and tried to get the DWP to verify my status.
Mike - Wed 5th Dec 2012
And the information above is incorrect. The International Pension Centre does not send out the application form for the EHIC. It is posted out to you when the S1 is returned registered by the foreign authority. Prior to getting the EHIC you are still covered by the regulations. See previous post.
Flashcard - Wed 5th Dec 2012
Not quite true Mike. The 'competent' country provides your EHIC. If you were say, French by nationality but had worked and earned a UK state pension, you would have a UK S1. Therefore the UK would provide your EHIC. Important note for everyone - you are covered by the EHIC whether you have an actual card or not. If you were abroad and needed cover, an emergency Provisional Replacement Certificate is issued by the competent country if necessary. Always carry your National Insurance number or equivalent.
Flashcard - Wed 5th Dec 2012
Just a small point but around 2 years ago the country that issued you an EHIC card changed. It used to be the country of residence but now its the country of nationality. If you are British and resident in Spain you have to apply for it from the DWP. best of luck !
Mike - Wed 5th Dec 2012
Obviously by the time I figure all this out I´ll be dead in a ditch (possibly lion fodder too if I ever go to Essex).
Mo - Mon 27th Aug 2012
May be worth quoting this link when making EHIC reference to UK Nationals/Citizens who are resident in Spain and receive healthcare under the S1 (Pensioner)(or Family Member) (ex E121) scheme
Mike Elliott - Mon 27th Aug 2012