EMERGENCY TREATMENT using public (state) healthcare
If you need to see a doctor and are NOT registered for Spanish healthcare, as a British national your blue European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is only valid as follows:
Who is entitled to the UK EHIC/GHICs?
People on holiday or on a temporary visit to Spain who ordinarily reside in the UK.
If you are on a holiday or a temporary stay in Spain, e.g. you have a second home for a few months of the year, but still consider that you live mainly in the UK, you can use the UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or the newer Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) in Spain.
If your EHIC has expired, make sure to renew it before leaving the UK if you are going on holiday or a temporary visit to Spain. When renewed you will now be given the new format GHIC instead of the EHIC.
See the UK government’s information on getting a GHIC by clicking here.
Remember to show your EHIC/GHIC with your passport when using it.
If you are already in Spain without an EHIC or GHIC and you need a doctor, you can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) from the UK government’s Overseas Healthcare Team. You (or the billing department at the local health centre or state-run hospital) can request this by sending an email to OVERSEAS.HEALTHCARE@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK with the following information:
Full name, date of birth, UK National Insurance number, dates of hospital treatment (including admission and discharge), email address of the hospital billing department (“facturación” – if you are requesting the PRC yourself).
Registered residents in Spain before 31 December 2020
If you are living in Spain since before the end of 2020 and are protected by the EU Withdrawal Agreement, and you are a UK state pensioner / insured person with a registered S1 / E121 in Spain, the UK EHIC you can still get is only for use outside of Spain when on holiday within the European Union/EEA. As these expire, if you are in this situation, you will still get an EHIC from the UK government, (not a GHIC), as you are protected by pre-Brexit rights. You can see more information and the link to apply for an EHIC here.
If you live in Spain full time you cannot normally use an EHIC or a GHIC in order to access Spanish public healthcare. See the UK government’s healthcare in Spain link for more information on this subject and exceptions, for example if you are a cross-border worker.
NON EMERGENCY TREATMENT using public (state) healthcare
You will not normally be entitled to non emergency treatment in Spain with an EHIC or a GHIC. Instead you should become officially resident in Spain and then register with your local health centre. For details on this process, please click here.
Remember to take your tarjeta sanitaria (health card) with you when visiting the doctor or the pharmacy for prescriptions.
Note: If you use Spanish public healthcare and you are not entitled to an EHIC/GHIC issued by the UK (for temporary stays) or you are not entitled to register to receive public healthcare (if you live here as a resident), you may be charged for the care provided in public hospitals or health centres.
If you are not entitled to register, you may be able to pay for access to the Spanish public healthcare system by paying a quota on a monthly basis under a scheme called the Convenio Especial . For more details on all public healthcare provision in Spain see the Healthcare section of the UK government’s Living in Spain webpage.
TREATMENT WITH PRIVATE DOCTORS
For your long-term peace of mind, if you are not entitled to an EHIC/GHIC and are not entitled to register as a resident to receive Spanish public healthcare, there are many providers of private health insurance and private healthcare listed on local websites, directories or through some voluntary organisations.
This website does not provide details of nor recommend individual private companies.
Think ahead for what you may do in an emergency situation and plan today for what might happen in the future.
For more support and general information on healthcare for UK nationals living in Spain, please see the British government’s Living in Spain guide: www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain