The Risks if you don’t have Spanish Residence Permit or Medical Card

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Posted and filed under General Articles of Interest, Legal Paperwork (NIE, Residencia, Padron), Medical Care in Spain, Spanish Residency.

VALENCIA COMMUNITY SIP CARD

Over the past few days, we have been trying to help a ill Irish client who has lived here many years. She never obtained her Spanish Residence Permit or her SIP (Spanish Medical Card). She preferred to rely on paying for health care when needed and on the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).

She never doubted that if needed the medical assistance would be there.

However in the past few days she has discovered that she needs urgent treatment and was quoted 16,000€. As the initial cost by the private hospital, plus costs for the follow up continuing problem, which is impossible.

Her doctor contacted us and asked us to obtain a SIP card within a couple of days to allow her to obtain treatment. operations and follow up treatment at the public hospital in Torreveija.

How to get a SIP card

However to get a SIP card, firstly you need a E121 form or S1 form from Ireland (or UK). If you are an old age pensioner, and that is not easy to get from Spain. You usually get it before leaving a country, although it is possible afterwards) nor is it possible super urgently.

We have to urge clients to never, to rely on paying for medical cover or a EHIC. When they are Residents and over pension age so entitled to state medical cover. As to access state medical cover you must have Residencia. And even for Residents and OAPS it seems it is not a given right to be able to get medical help, except for an emergency. And the seriousness can be argued and other things follow the initial care.

Contact us to apply for the Spanish SIP Card.

How to get the Spanish Residence Permit?

The Spanish Residency Permit is grants one permission to stay in the territory of Spain for a period of 90 days to 5 years without any employment obligations. You have to be able to demonstrate that you can support your self financially to live in Spain.

Irish Embassy recomendation

We contacted the Irish Embassy and they wrote to us saying the following:

As discussed, on the following link there is information on the Cross Border Directive, the Treatment Abroad Scheme and the EHIC:

https://www2.hse.ie/costs-schemes-allowances/. The contact details for the HSE are: https://www.hse.ie/eng/contact-us.

On the specific issue of healthcare, access to state healthcare in Spain is different to Ireland. And can at times be quite complex. As you may know, in April 2012, Spain introduced a healthcare reform law. The law affects who is entitled to free treatment under the social security system. Restrictions apply to both residents and non-residents.

We recommend citizens who wish to enquire as to whether they will be eligible for Spanish state healthcare to speak to their local health centre (“centro de salud”). As well as the local Information Office for Social Security, to explain their specific situation.

Irish citizens, including pensioners, can apply to have their Irish Social Security entitlements recognised in Spain, which then may make them eligible to apply for state healthcare in Spain.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is the pertinent authority whom you can contact to enquire about Irish Social Security entitlements, http://www.welfare.ie.

Finally, to receive state healthcare, a person is required to have the Spanish Residency card and in their local area. Further information on these two processes can be found on the Embassy’s website,

What can Spanish Solutions do for you?

We are helping our client now all we can to obtain a S1 form, Residency and a SIP urgently. So they are not faced with a huge bill for their treatment in a public hospital in the country where they have lived many years. However, it is very important please for people living in Spain to obtain Residencia or pay for Private Medical Insurance. And not to rely on being able to travel back to their home country, or paying a medical bill or on their European Health Card to cover medical emergencies.

58 Comments

  • simon

    how to transfer (EU) resident card to permanent community resident in Spain before Brexit Jan 31 2020

    • Ian C.

      Hello Simon,
      We can take care of all of this for you.
      Applying for residency is important, but the transition period looks like it will run to Dec 31st 2020 rather than jan 31 2020. Our advice is do it now- Please get in touch and we´ll start the process for you.
      Kind wishes,
      ian

  • David

    This is so confusing!! I am uk resident age 63 still working and paying UK taxes but have an NHS pension and intend to buy a property in Spain in the next 6 months with a view to living there for over 6 months a year. How do I best protect myself now from medical bills in the future? I’m in Spain now for 3 weeks and could rent somewhere for 3 or 6 months and could apply for Residentia?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening David,

      Thank you for your enquiry. Exciting times ahead for you, what part of Spain are looking to buy in.

      In regards to the residencia process, at the moment, we do not know what changes the brexit will bring on 31st January 2020. There is talk of a grace period for people who have been staying in Spain prior to the brexit, this will allow these people to obtain their residencias but again this has not been confirmed by the Spanish Foreign Office as yet. If this is the case, we feel they will ask for Spanish bank statements, a padron and possibly historic padrons. Our advice would be to get these items in place as soon as possible.

      Please note that if you are a Spanish resident and are in Spain for more than 183 days of the year, you will be liable to pay your taxes here. If you state you are in Spain less than 183 days, the Spanish tax authorities have been know to ask for evidence of this and if this cannot be provided, a tax bill is issued. We would suggest that you have a consultation with a Fiscal advisor, here in Spain. A Fiscal Advisor will provide tax advice based on your current situation, giving you the facts to allow you to make an educated decision.

      You will also need to change your driving licence to a Spanish licence, being a Spanish resident doesnt come itself. But the positive fact is if you are paying your taxes here, you will receive free medical cover.

      We would encourage you to follow your dreams and not let the brexit get in the way, there are many Brits who have Spanish holiday homes here.

      Should you need any assistance with your NIE, residencia, securing your dream property or paying your taxes, please do not hesitate to contact us. we would be delighted to help you.

      We wish you the best of luck, kind regards
      Nicola

  • Craig Northam

    What a confusing world I find myself in!
    I moved from Australia to Spain 8 months ago and after a long process, now have Spanish residency (yay!) through my wife, who is an Italian passport holder.

    As a local employee, she has full medical cover; but I can’t quite fathom if I’m entitled to cover through my relationship to her or will have to pay in for the “convenio especial” on a monthly basis once I’ve lived here one year? I cycle daily, so am nervous of what happens should I have an accident…

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Craig,

      As your wife works, here in Spain, you will receive full medical cover as her dependant. To ensure this is in place you would need to visit your local Social Security office, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • james ross

    Hi

    i have had a property in Spain for 13 years but just holidayed here. I am now 56 years old and retired taking my private pension. Recently purchased another property while letting out our old property via AirBnB but have declared and paid that tax to the Spanish Authorities to avoid double taxation.

    I intend to live in Spain between 3 and 6 months a year, my question is what do i needto provide to gain my Residence Certificate but remain a UK Tax payer. Will a 90 day max travel insurance policy suffice

    Thanks

    Jim

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening Jamie,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      If you do not intend to live in Spain for more than 6 months of the year, we would not recommend applying for residencia. When you apply for residencia you state Spain is your fixed abode, it is your home. You will also be liable to pay taxes in Spain and change your UK licence to a Spanish licence. If you become resident and live in Spain for less than 183 days of the year, the tax office can ask you for evidence of this and if they are not satisfied, you would be left with a hefty tax bill.

      We hope this helps.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Pauline Mooney

    Hi I am living in Lanzarote for 13 years and want to apply for free medical here as I am a resident.
    I am from Ireland so what do I need from Dublin to do this .?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening Pauline,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      You can apply for Convenio Especial, after being resident for one year. Please see a link to our blog, detailing this below:

      https://www.spanishsolutions.net/blog/newsletters/healthcare-prescriptions-here-in-spain/

      Please if your application is successful you will have to attend an appointment in person at the Ter­rit­orial De­part­ment of the De­part­ment of Health. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Christopher James

    Hi Nicola/all, this is an interesting (but overwhelming thread :)!). We bought a house in the Malaga province in July and intend to come out during each school holiday (We have two sons 6 and 3). We were told to go for residency, but the Health Insurance needed for this is nearly €2k! We are very worried about Brexit (what a stupid thing the UK is doing!!!), but 2K whilst we are not living there (at the moment) seems extortionate. Is there any other way? Do you recommend applying for resedencia?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Christopher,

      We understand your concern.

      It may be best to have a consultation with a fiscal advisor to see where you stand tax wise before making any decisions regarding residencia.

      When you apply for residencia you state the Spain is your home, fixed abode. You also need to change your driving licence to a Spanish Licence and if you are in the country more than 183 days you will be liable to pay taxes here. The tax office can ask you for evidence of this and if they are not satisfied, you would be left with a hefty tax bill.

      We have no updates in regards to the changes after Brexit, as yet, as soon as we have any news we will notify all clients via a newsletter or blog, we hope this helps.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Stuart

    Hi.
    I’m a resident and I have a Spanish medical
    Card do I need to apply for a S1 form

    • Ian C.

      Hello Stuart,
      with the Spanish residencia document and S1, you can request the SIP card. If you have it already, perfect!
      Gema.

  • Sandra white

    Please I am English born but have a house in Conil de la frontera Spain. Which I have had for 16 years, I have now retired and wish to stay longer in Spain, I have a NIE no do I need residency and how do I get it.

    • Jane

      Hi Sandra

      Yes you will need to apply for residency if planning to stay more than 90 days in every 180. You should contact a local solicitor or gestoria for the process in your area.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • jessica van rooijen

    Hi I’m a Dutch citizen planning to live in the area of Malaga. I’m a pensioner and I will obtain a S1 form in Holland, which by the way I’m obligated to do as a pensioner ehen moving withing the EU countries. The S1 form covers mainly for basic health care in Spain. Will the S1 form for Public Health care be sufficiency to apply for Spanish residency or do I need to get an additional private health insurance in order to get my Spanish Residency. In other words do I need a all cover health insurance in order to obtain Spanish Residency. many thanks in advance.

    • Jane

      Hi Jessica

      Proof of the S1 will be adequate to apply for residency.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Camille Ribeiro

    Hi, my mother is an Irish national with a UK pension who lives in Spain. She wants to get Spanish residency so she can get her healthcare in Spain. As an Irish national with a UK pension, what process should she follow? For healthcare does she need to fill in a UK S1 form before the end of 2020? For residency does she need to apply as a UK person for the new TIE card before the end of 2020, even though she is an Irish national, with a Irish passport but a UK pension? Or should she be following a different process?

    • Jane

      Hi Camille

      Your mother can follow the process to apply as an Irish citizen, which is unchanged after Brexit. Please contact us if you wish us to assist.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Peter and dee

    We are Retired couple and over 5 years residents and with medical cards, tax on pensions paid in spain. Do we actually NEED a TIE card. €150 each seems a lot just to confirm paperwork we already have.

    • Jane

      Hi Peter

      Currently there is no mandatory reason to change to TIE if you have residency, this may change in future but for now you can remain as is.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Peter

    Am retired and resident. Have attempted to change UK drive licence to spanish, but because awaiting an eye operation I failed sight test, and doctor ‘revoked’ my licence via Spanish computer system so I don’t / can’t drive now. He said to re- apply after op but that unlikely now (before Dec) due covid. What is the legal situation re licence change.. I am 75

    • Jane

      Hi Peter

      To enable you to change your licence you will require to pass the medical.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Ailish Power

    Hello, my parents are Irish nationals living in spain with both an Irish and English pensions. They were spanish residents for many years untill a solicitor suggested to go non national in 2014. We were unaware of this untill 2016 when our parents were no longer able to look after their own affairs. We had to obtain a spanish POA to help them. They are paying over €300 for medication alone. We had to get them private insurance in case they needed a operation as we had though our mum may need a hip replacement which would of cost €30,000. A friend has just told me her dad is English and non resident of Spain but as was living there he had the S1 form and Padron which allowed him full health care in spain.
    Are my parents entitled to this also?

    • Jane

      Hi Ailish

      If your parents receive a state pension and residents of Spain they should apply for an S1 to apply for medical card. This is not the case if you are non resident.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Philip

    Hi Philip here from Ireland.my wife and I are moving to Spain soon. Iam my wife’s full time carer can we get medical card for both of us if we buy property in spain my wife’s on invidlity pension

    • Jane

      Hi Philip

      If your wife has a full invalidity pension she should request an S1 or E121, once you have this we can assist with requesting your medical cards.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Janice Gilfillan

    Hi, I am a pensioner with an S1 . I have temporary residency in Cyprus and am entitled to make use of the Cypriot medical system. My daughter has temporary residency in Spain and I would like to spend as much time in Spain with her as I can. My question is “will I be able to access the Spanish medical system while in Spain should I need to”

    • Jane

      Hi Janice

      You should be able to get the EU version of the EHIC from Cyprus to give you cover in Spain. If you are a UK citizen you will after this year only be able to spend 90 days in 180 in Spain.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Richard Gilliland

    I am 69 years old and been a resident of Spain since January 2014. I am taxed in UK on my Teacher´s pension but taxed in Spain on my State Old age Pension. My son lives with my wife and I as a dependant. We are all resident,and all have SIP cards after receiving S1 certificates from Uk. However, I am both a British citizen and and Irish citizen. I am registered as British citizen in Spain. Should I change my registration to Irish and if I do so will my S1 form, and my son´s still be valid? My son also is both a UK and an Irish citizen, my wife is only Uk citizen. As we have to get new TIE certificates is this the time?

    • Jane

      Hi Richard

      It may help after Brexit for you to be registered as Irish citizen, although if you have residency it should not be too important. Your S1s will still be valid. At the present time there is no rush for swoping to TIE but keep an eye on our website as this may change. If you require any help please contact us.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Yasmin

    Hello,

    I’m a UK citizen trying to move to Spain before 31 Dec and get residency. I’m applying for residency under the reason I can support myself. Do I need private health insurance or will the European healthcard suffice when I provide all my paper evidence to the policia? I’m moving to Lugo, Galicia.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    • Jane

      Hi Yasmin

      Unless you receive a pension or are employed in Spain you will require private healthcare to apply.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Sarah

    Hi
    My husband, 55 myself, 57 and two daughters aged 16 and 18 have thought seriously about moving to the Alicante area of Spain. We both took early retirement due to me having terminal cancer. My cancer has been stable for the past two years and I don’t receive treatment at the moment. However at some point in the future I will need further treatment. If we do take the plunge how will we go about getting medical treatment? Will we be able to access free healthcare or pay into a national funded system? We are both from the UK but as both our parents were born in Ireland we are Irish nationals too.
    Thanks

    • Jane

      Hi Sarah

      Great news on you being stable for two years. If you have an Irish passport you can still apply for residency as a EU citizen. You will require for the first year private healthcare unless you are employed in Spain. If we can be of any help please contact us.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Robert Peters

    Hi All,
    I am a UK citizen and I hope to retire to Spain in a couple of years post Brexit. My deceased Mother is Irish so I believe I am automatically an Irish citizen so can live in Spain no problem. My question : As I have paid into UK National Insurance my whole life can I still receive free health care in Spain. Also my wife of 30 years is a UK citizen, no Irish citizenship, will there be a problem for her retiring to Spain.
    Thank you
    Robert

    • Jane

      Hi Robert

      The only way you will get free healthcare is if you are in receipt of a UK state pension and can get an S1. We cannot comment on what the EU residencia criteria will be next year.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • WOLF

    Hi, I am a German citizen, my wife American. We currently live in Germany and my wife has German residency and work permit as well. We are planning to move to Spain and bring her mom, which is an US citizen with us. She is 77 years old and cannot take care of herself anymore. She is currently visiting in Germany since a few months already (extended due to Covid) and is here on a tourist visa at the moment. Can we get my wife’s mom residency in Spain and access to the national health service in Spain, even though she is not a EU-citizen but dependable parent of my wife (US citizen, but married to an EU citizen)?

    There is plenty of contradicting information out there concerning this issue. Also, I am not looking for some supplementary insurance, which, in a case of emergency would not cover the basics. We’d appreciate if you could clarify that for us.
    Thank You!
    WOLF

    • Jane

      Hi Wolf

      This is not a field that we are expert in so would suggest you contact the Spanish Embassy in Germany. They will confirm what visa is required, health care and the requirements for a non EU citizens residencia before you travel.

      We are not an insurance broker but please call us when you are coming to Spain and let us know if it is private health care or travel insurance and we will assist with recommendations.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Dorothy Turnbull

    We have a holiday home in Spain and are here less than 90 days at a time,if we get Residencia will we still be entitled to healthcare in uk

    • Jane

      Hi Dorothy

      If you are here less than 90 days twice a year you do not require residencia. If you wish to be a resident you will require a years private healthcare or if a UK State pensioner proof of S1.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Jeremy sandle

    We have a home in Spain and have been on the padron for 15 years but only staying for holidays.
    We are both UK tax residents. I am a dual national with a uk and Irish passport. We are married.
    At present we don’t expect to stay in Spain for more than 90 days twice a year but this may change.
    To enable a longer stay Should I be applying for residencia before end Dec or as I’m an Irish citizen will I be able to apply for residencia at a later date for me any my uk spouse?

    • Jane

      Hi Jeremy

      If you are not intending to live in Spain then you should not request residency. As an Irish citizen and still part of EU you will still be able to travel freely, however without residency your wife will need to abide to Schengen rules. Should you apply for residency then yes your wife should be able to apply as a family member.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Cathy

    Hello my husband was born in Dublin but had a uk pension I have dual nationality we have been staying six months over the winter will we still be slowed to do this after the end of the year.

    • Jane

      Hi Cathy

      If you have an Irish passport then nothing will change after Brexit.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • David Gill

    Happy New Year. My wife and I have lived in Spain for 11 years. I obtained Residentia straight away and when I was 65 I received my SIP card. My wife never got residentia as she was very dependant on a couple of consultants in the NHS to look after her medical needs. She also had private medical insurance for whatever might happen here. My question is this. As she has now passed her 65th birthday, can I add her to my SIP card if the need arises for her to have medial treatment. (we are in the process of Residentia etc for her)

    • Jane

      Hi David

      You could have added her before the end of year but with Brexit changes you will need to contact your local INSS/Social Security office to enquire how to proceed.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Faith Coates

    Husband and I are early retirees with Irish passports and on Irish medical cards for long term illness (diabetic). We have a Canadian pension (we are 61) and don’t plan to work in Spain. What do we need for healthcare as new residents?

    • Jane

      Hi Faith

      You will need proof of payment of a full years private healthcare with no exclusions. If we can be of any help please contact us.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Mariza Cooray

    Hello, I am hoping to move to Spain in September if things get under control with the pandemic. My university requires I get a NIE..I am on biologic drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis. I wonder if I can access these same drugs through the public system or if I have to get private insurance once I have the NIE

    • Nicola Ryan

      Morning Mariza,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      You can buy some medication over the counter, in Spain, but we are unsure if this would be one of them. If you have a Health Insurance Card from your country of origin, you should be able to obtain a temporary SIP card at your local Spanish medical centre where a Doctor would provide a prescription for your medication. There will most possibly be a charge for the prescription. We would also recommend bringing a copy of your medical records to make matters easier for you. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Aran

    Hallo,
    My husband and I are both retired Irish state pensioners, both with Irish medical cards and private healthcare. Can we go to Spain for 6-12 months? And keep our medical cards? The weather in Spain helps us health wise due to Fibromyalgia and arthritis. Any advice really appreciated thank you

    • Jane

      Hi Aran

      If you are on holiday and not resident the yes you can use your EHIC, you should also check if your private cover is for Spain as it is advisable to take out travel insurance in addition to the European Health Insurance Card. Few countries pay the total cost of medical treatment even under reciprocal health service arrangements. Illness or accident abroad may mean extra travel, accommodation and repatriation costs for which you should be insured. Certain travel insurers will only honour a travel insurance claim for medical costs if the policy holder can produce evidence of the European Health Insurance Card.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Stephen Walsh

    As an Irish citizen I am looking to stay in Spain for approx 6 months in 2022 (179 days) and bring my non EU partner with me. We don’t intend to work in Spain just bring our dog and spend a long summer there. What is the situation for an Irish person that wants to stay for 179 continuous days and his non EU partner that wants to do the same?

  • WILLIAM HOEY

    Moving to Alicante in September to live. My Wife and I are in our 70s and have Medical Cards. my wife needs Medicines from Chemist Monthly and may need to see Doctor now and again. What should we know in order to be covered

    • Tracie Miles

      Hi William, thanks for your enquiry. We received two from you so I have replied via email.
      Kind regards

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