Spanish EHIC Cards and should you have one? Most probably – yes….


Posted and filed under General Articles of Interest, Medical Care in Spain.

We had an enquiry yesterday:

“Good morning. I would like some assistance in obtaining our Spanish EHIC cards for myself, my husband and son if it applies to him. He is 12 years old. We are residents in Spain and pay social security. Please, could you let me know if this is possible”?

What is an EHIC card?

So, what is an EHIC card? And do you need one? Because many people think if they have travel insurance it is enough.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a card for citizens of the Member states of the European Union, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and they must use it to receive medical assistance while travelling to any of these countries.

You present your SIP health card and European Health Insurance card together when you need treatment in another country if you are a Resident of Spain. And possibly your travel insurance as well. 

Many people assume that because they have a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) they don’t need to pay out for travel insurance as well. But this is not the case. If you are travelling in Europe you should have both or you may have serious problems if something happens.

The EHIC card entitles you to public health care in European countries. Not each country will be the same but you should have the same right to the free or subsidised medical treatment that residents in that country receive. Unfortunately, though some hospitals can be difficult and people´s cards refused or they get sent to private hospitals, who do not take EHIC cards, especially after a personal injury accident. 

All Residents who travel should apply for the cards and if something happens and it is refused alongside their SIP card in another European Country then use their travel insurance for medical care.  It would be silly to only rely on an EHIC card as this doesn’t cover baggage, flights home in an emergency and all those things.

Equally, do not think well it is okay I have travel insurance as some insurers expect you to have taken an EHIC out, if you look at the travel policies carefully some say that holidaymakers must have a valid EHIC card as well as travel insurance. 

Non-Residents of Spain

If you are non-resident you need to apply for the EHIC in your own country. This is the same situation in reverse. You need to find where to apply for one to come and visit Spain, alongside your travel insurance. Then this will cover medical assistance which a cardholder may need in case of sickness or accident during a visit or temporary stay in the Valencian Community. You should also bear in mind that:

– The EHIC covers any medical treatment necessary to be able to continue your temporary stay abroad and includes patients with chronic medical conditions.
– It provides the same rights as Spanish nationals under the same conditions.
– It gives free access to medical assistance for the cardholder.

Residents of Spain

If you are a Resident of Spain it needs to be applied for in Spain. So yes, if you are travelling out of Spain in the EU (currently including Britain) then you definitely need one.

It does surprise us how few Residents who go back and forth to the UK actually apply for one, and really they should. 

We cannot help non- residents apply for the cards as they need to do it in their country of Residence, but we can help Residents of Spain apply for a European Health Insurance card.  We can also renew a Spanish European Health Card online, for the holder and their beneficiaries.

We need the following information:

– social security number (only for the holder, the person who is working or has a pension)
– NIE numbers of all (holder and beneficiaries)
– Date of birth of all
– address

You can send this all online, all very straightforward. 

We request the card on line and the client will receive it to their Spanish address, there is no option to put our address as a postal address.
The card lasts many years and to obtain them is inexpensive. Please contact us if you would like to arrange your EHIC cards if you are Resident in Spain.  We are able to obtain these for Residents in the whole of Spain not just in our area!




  • Idris


    I would like to apply for a EHIC as a Spanish citizen.
    Would you be able to send me the link for applying? I prefer doing it myself.

    Thank you

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Idris,

      We do not have the link, we are sorry, If you contact the Social Security office they will be able to help.

      Kind regards

  • ken green

    May we apply for a Spanish EHIC card?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Ken,

      You can apply for a Spanish EHIC card if you are a Spanish Resident and work here in Spain. If you are a UK pensioner you will can request your EHIC card from the UK by contacting the Overseas Health Team at the HMRC. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards

  • Jon Stein

    Hi. Enjoying your informative website. I’m a Spanish resident but not working and so don’t have a social security number. I do have a private health policy but do not have the equivalent of a GP and am experiencing a worrying lack of continuity of care. Is it possible to get back into the Spanish state system? Can I use my British EHIC card for treatment? Or is the best option to try and find a job?! Thank you…

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon John,

      We understand your concern.

      You can apply for “Convenio Especial” after being resident in Spain for more than 1 year. Please see a link below, to our blog, discussing this in more detail:

      Should you need any assistance in setting this up, please do not hesitate to contact us, we would be delighted to help.
      Kind regards

  • Lyndsay Cheesman

    I am a Uk pensioner living in Spain and want to renew my Spanish ethic card. Some people tell me I don’t need my UK card will cover any medical expenses in UK. I was recently admitted as an emergency in to a UK hospital and have received a bill for over 4000£. Let me know if you need any furthery documents

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Lyndsay,

      As you are a UK pensioner, the UK will provide you with a new EHIC card.

      We would also recommend appealing your hospital bill. As far as we know, all UK pensioners will be covered for medical attention in the UK, if they have a copy of their S1. If you contact the Overseas Team at the HMRC, they should be able to help with both.

      We hope this helps
      Kind regards

  • Alan Parker

    I am a UK pensioner ,resident in Tenerife and my EHIC card (issued from UK)has now expired. Can I still apply for a new card from HMRC or has Brexit stopped this?

    • Ian C.

      Hello alan,

      none of the Brexit rules applies yet so there is no change to your EHIC application that we know of- you need to apply back in the UK.
      Let me know if we can be of any more assistance,

  • Noreen

    I own my own apt in Spain. Pay Spanish taxes etc but am not a resident. Can I apply for an ENIC card there now as there is going to be no such thing in uk anymore. I was under the impression you could only have an Etnic card in one country

    • Jane

      Hi Noreen

      Until the end of the year you can use your EHIC card here in Spain. After this time as you are not a resident you will have to see what the UK agree, please keep an eye on our website.

      Kind Regards


  • VK Dinsdale

    hi we have residency (TIE) in Spain but are not pensionable age i.e. we do not receive a state pension from UK as yet. We have private health insurance. Can we apply for an EHIC from Spain ?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Mr/Ms Dinsdale,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      If you work or pay your taxes in Spain, you can apply for the EHIC from Spain, if you need any assistance with this, please do not hesitate to contact us.

      Kind regards

  • Janice Jones

    My son (aged 42) lives with me here in Spain and has residency but is not working so does not have a social security number. He has private medical insurance. I gather that to receive the vaccine he needs a temporary SIP card and an EHIC. He has had a valid EHIC in the past, but does not actually have the card. What do we need to do.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Janice,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Your son would get his EHIC card from the country where he pays his taxes. If he has private medical cover, would they not provide the vaccine for him, it may be best to check with the insurer. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards

  • Rufus Hound

    Hi, I am a UK resident and looking into emigrating with my wife to spain.
    I am hoping to get an Irish passport (parents Irish) and obtain residency as an EU citizen, Is there any way of getting an EHIC card from Ireland as I have never lived there.
    Also would being an EU citizen, allow me free healthcare in spain or do I still have to get private health insurance.
    We will be 55, so not pensionable age (although I will be drawing my pension from 55 )

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Rufus,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      The EHIC card would be provided by the country where you pay your taxes, best to check with the authorities in this country as the EHIC may not be available if you move to Spain.

      When you are a Spanish resident, you are not automatically entitled to free health cover, in your case you would need private health cover. After being resident for a year, you do have the opportunity to pay into the Spanish health system via “convenio especial”.

      Please see below, a link discussing this in more detail:

      We hope this helps
      Kind regards

  • Richard

    My wife and I have the TIE and are long term resident. I work but my wife, who was working, currently is not. However, she does pay tax on investments and files the renta. Her request for a EHIC was only granted for 14 days in a year due to her not working. As she has access to the state health system, being my wife, and I am working, and she is paying tax, should she not receive the EHIC permananently?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Richard,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      If your wife is registered as your dependent, under your social security number, she should be able to obtain the full EHIC card. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards

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