Case Study – How to get a SIP card (Medical care in Spain)


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We recently received a similar enquiry to this:-

“Hi, I have lived in Spain for just over 2 years. I have an EHIC card from England which will expire on June 2020. Am I able to get medical assistance just using this card and my passport in medical centres? I have ongoing health problems and am retired. I will be 68 soon. At the moment, I live in Villamartin, Orihuela Costa. Thank you.”

We responded this gentleman in the following manner:-

Thank you for your enquiry,

An EHIC card gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay (6 months max) in another Europan Economic Country or Switzerland. The EHIC card will only cover medical treatment that is necessary to get you home to the UK, it will not cover ongoing treatment. If you stay in Spain for more than 6 months and 1 day you should become a resident by applying for your Residencia. Can I ask if you receive your state pension please, this will allow me to give you the correct advice and information?

The response was that the gentleman does receive a state pension. So our colleague Nicola responded again with the following:-

Perfect, in that case applying for your Residencia is much easier.

When you apply for your Residencia you have to request an “S1” from the DWP. This certificate will transfer the NHS healthcare benefits to Spain allowing you to access full healthcare as you would in the UK. After obtaining Residencia you can apply for your SIP card which will provide access to the healthcare system in Spain. You have to be Resident in Spain to obtain your SIP card. We can help you obtain both your SIP and Residencia. For Residencia we would require the following documents:



-Padron (no more than 6 months old)

-S1 certificate from HMRC, (this can take many weeks to arrive, would be best to request this first )

-Most recent bank statement from your Spanish or UK bank showing your pension contributions from the DWP being deposited, the statement must have your full name on.

-Recent awards letter from the DWP confirming your pension contributions

Should you have any problems when requesting your Padron at the Padron office, please advise them you need the Padron as part of you Residencia application.

For your SIP card, we would require the following documents



-Padron (no more than 6 months old)


Our fee for Residencia is 130€, this includes preparation of paperwork, taxes, translation on the day of the appointment and collection of your Residencia, SIP card is 40€

Should you have any queries in regards to this please do not hesitate to contact us


  • John Southern

    My wife and I live in spain we both have our Spanish padron and social security numbers I am 67 and have my state pension, my wife is 58 and works legally in Spain, can we both obtain our resedencia without having to have a large ammount in our bank account. thank you

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning John,

      We will need further information to provide the correct advice, we will be in contact with you via email to discuss this matter further.

      Kind regards

  • Wendy

    Can I get a full sip card on the back of my husband who has one and is paying into the system

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Wendy, We need more information. Are you both retired? Or working in Spain and paying directly to the social security? Are you resident, from when? Please email this information and your original question to Yannelsis on Thanks

  • Jada

    I am 19 years old, i moved to spain last may 2018. I am in a contracted job with social security, nie but i haven’t got residencia and when looking at applying for a sip card it says that i need to provide a resident certificate? Any way to go about getting a sip card without this? Some of my family who are retired live out here and have done for years but have still found it impossible to gain residencia as they needed a lot of stuff to provide. will it be the same for me, i just want to be protected if worse comes to worse or needed a doctors appointment in the future while i’m living and working out here.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Jada,

      If you are working here in Spain it will be very easy for you to get your residencia, you would need:
      Padron up to date (no more than 3 months old)
      Original Passport
      3 months bank statements from Spanish bank to show you live in Spain (the statement must have your name ,bank name ect)
      Working history (vida Laboral) original

      When you get your Residencia you can then apply for your SIP card. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards

  • Lynne rawson

    Hi i work in spain with 4 hour contract but work 23 hrs a week i have money in the bank can i still apply for residencia and can my husband many thanks

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Lynne,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      To apply for residencia as “working” you have to work a minimum of 25 hours per week, it may be worth while speaking to your employer to see if they can increase your hours to 25 hours per week. If you can do this and are married, your husband can apply for his residencia as your dependent, the foreign office will request your marriage certificate. Please see a link below discussing the documentation required for the residencia application. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards

  • Peter tarditi

    my son is british,is 50years of age. has no income wants to stay in spain with his parents. can he get an S1 form stating beneficary would this allow him to get also residency.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Peter,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      In regard to your son being a dependent on your S1, it would be best to contact the HMRC overseas team to check, our opinion is they will not allow it because of your sons age.

      If your son were to work in Spain for a minimum of 25 hours per week, he would be able to apply for residencia and also access full medical treatment. He may also be eligible for a Spanish pension in the future. The residenca process for someone who works in Spain is much is easier and requires less paperwork.

      Should you need any assistance with your sons residencia, please do not hesitate to contact us, we deal with residencias on a daily basis and would be happy to help.

      Kind regards / Saludos cordiales

      Nicola Ryan

  • Dawn

    Can i get my husband to piggy back on my sip as i work here in spain, he is resident since 2008 but has never had a sip card.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Dawn,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      At the Social Security office, you should be able to add your husband as your dependent. This will then allow him to have full health cover. You would need to take a wage slip showing your social security number, residencia, passports and also your marriage certificate.

      Should you need any assistance with this, please do not hesitate to contact us.
      Kind regards

  • Elizabeth

    Please can you explain the difference between a “SIP” card and a “TSE” card? They both seem to be Spanish healthcare cards?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Elizabeth,

      The SIP card, you would obtain from the Centro de Salud (medical centre), it will give you full or temporary medical cover in Spain.

      Your TSE is the Spanish version of the EHIC card. You would apply for this via the Social Security in Spain if you work here. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards

  • Tamara

    I have residencia in Spain but my husband does not. What do we need to do to get residencia for him? Also, do you need residencia to change from a UK driving licence to a Spanish one or would a certificate of empadronamiente do? I am 69 and my husband is 73.

  • Baz Calvert

    Hi if you live in one region of Spain and obtain a SIP card then move to a different region is the card still authorized, or is it issued on a regional basis.

    • Ian C.

      Hello Baz,

      Your health card changes from one region to another but the process of changing is quite simple.
      Let me know if Spanish Solutions can help.

      Best wishes,


  • Tony Prentice

    I have got my residencia in April 2019..
    I got a private pension in which I pay tax on in the uk. My solicitor in Spain is asking me to do a tax return and pay my taxis in Spain not the uk.
    I am only 57 and if I pay tax in Spain can I get a sip card

    • Ian C.

      Hola Tony,

      Getting a SIP card will not be a problem.

      If the residencia is dated Apr 2019 and if you live more than 6 months in Spain you pay the tax here. Your solicitor is correct,

      Best wishes,


  • Hazel Clark

    Hi, my family have all got residencia. My husband is self employed. How do we apply for an SIP?

  • Louisa

    Hi just moved here in February sorting out new tie .we are ages 61 and 63 not personable age yet for UK except my husband has got a private pension he gets now .we have enough money in our Spanish account for the .my issue is can we get Spanish healthcare cover we both are on medication.I am being told I need to get private healthcare for the but they will not cover our conditions.I have blood pressure and under active thyroid all controlled by medication no comp! husband has atrial fibrillation controlled by medication never been hospilitized .Please help desperate for info.I just want to know he can get his condition dealt with if any thing should progress or a problem arises with his health.

    • Jane

      Hi Louisa

      You will need a years private healthcare I suggest you look at different providers that will cover pre existing conditions.

      Kind Regards


  • jas

    Both my wife and I, holiday in Le Zenia 3/4 times a year, totaling 10 weeks, in Spain we are living in Ireland, and both of us are in possession of an EHIC card, we heard recently that as pensioners we are entitled to apply for a SIP health card, are there any extra benefits available with the SIP cards
    Kind regards,


    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Jas,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Anyone with an EHIC card can obtain a temporary SIP card. This will entitle you to your first consultation, at the Centro Salud or hospital, but will not cover you for any ongoing treatment should you need it.

      If you are retired, living in Spain and applying for residencia or have residencia, the country which pays your state pension will provide full health cover in the form of an S1, E121 or E106 form, but please note you must be resident before converting this certificate.

      Should you wish to apply for residencia, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      We hope this clarifies your situation.
      Kind regards

  • Question

    Someone told me I can give birth for free in a public hospital if I have a temporary SIP card. Is this true? Who will pay the bill? Won’t they charge my health insurance in my home country?

    • Tracie Miles

      The doctors will help you, but the hospital will issue an invoice for you to pay. With a temporary sip card you get the basic cover, only emergencies and family doctor is included not specialists. Hope this helps.

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