EHIC card - The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a personalised card that gives the holder the right to receive medical assistance during a temporary stay in any of the countries of the European Union, the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland.

26th December Important Updates - British holidaymakers can still access free healthcare abroad after Brexit transition ends

European Health Insurance Cards will remain valid after transition period ends - Those issued with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before the end of 2020 can use it before its expiry date, the deal states. 

All cards issued before the end of this year will be valid until their date of expiry.  UK-issued EHICs will be valid until their expiry date. They last five years, so the expiry will vary between next month and five years from now. But this new provision is valid indefinitely, so the UK government is putting in place two things for people whose card expires -  A temporary fix: call NHS Overseas Healthcare Services on +44 191 218 1999 during working hours and ask for a provisional replacement certificate (PRC) and A more permanent solution: There will be a new "Global Health Insurance Card" which will initially be valid in EU27 countries, and presumably may expand to others as the UK makes agreements with them.

Next year Britain will start issuing different the UK Global Health Insurance Card. covering treatment in the EU. It will cover chronic or existing illnesses, routine maternity care and emergencies. Specialised treatment, such as dialysis, will require ‘a prior agreement’ to make sure it is available.

Unlike the EHIC, this deal does not cover the EEA/EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Switzerland. Only the 27 full member states of the EU are included, at least for now. And also unlike the EHIC, it seems that there is no E111 backup to claim back the money afterwards if you forgot the card at home; you will need to have the physical document with you.
This deal also means that EU-issued EHICs will continue be valid for emergency NHS treatment when visiting the UK. (People with an S1 from the UK will still be covered by the NHS as before.)

As stated in the Government's UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement Summary - healthcare, where the UK or an EU Member State is responsible for the healthcare of an individual, they will be entitled to reciprocal healthcare cover. This includes certain categories of cross-border workers and state pensioners who retire to the UK or to the EU.

In addition, the Protocol will ensure necessary healthcare provisions – akin to those provided by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme – continue. This means individuals who are temporarily staying in another country, for example a UK national who is in an EU Member State for a holiday, will have their necessary healthcare needs met for the period of their stay.


If you apply for a card now, you'll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC. APPLY FOR YOUR GHIC CARD NOW

More news to follow.

EHIC card Important updates 10th November 2020

Are you a UK S1 holder living in Spain? You’ll continue to access healthcare from 1 January 2021, but you need to apply for a new EHIC here: https://www.nhs.uk/.../apply-for-a-free-ehic-european.../

Apply for your new EHIC Card today.

apply for a new EHIC card NOW

EHIC card Coronavirus Updates

Will an EHIC cover me for medical costs?

If you catch coronavirus while you are away, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) means you can gain access to state-provided healthcare at the same cost paid by a national of that country. Depending on the country and the treatment needed, this means it should be provided free or at a reduced cost. The card covers all the countries in the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and can be used by Britons until the end of 2020, while we are still in the Brexit transition period. The card is free; you can apply via the NHS website.

Your medical treatment should also be covered up to a certain limit by your travel insurance. You may have to pay an excess, and the cost of treatment depends on where you are. You should be covered if you need to be transported to another country for treatment.

While the number of those who are dying from the coronavirus is still small, repatriation of your body should be included under your policy.

EHIC card Healthcare during the transition period

 There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals visiting or living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before 31 December 2020.

You can continue to use your EHIC during this time, as you did before.

An EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. Make sure you have both before you travel.

You can continue to use your EHIC in the country you were visiting on 31 December 2020 for the duration of your visit to that country.

Apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

On this page you can find out:

if you're eligible to apply for a new UK EHIC valid from 1 January 2021

how to apply for an EHIC for travel until 31 December 2020

what EHIC covers

what to do if you're abroad and do not have your EHIC

For most people, EHIC may not be valid from 1 January 2021.

Make sure you take out travel insurance with medical cover for your trip.

You may not have access to free emergency medical treatment and could be charged for your healthcare if you do not get health cover with your travel insurance

How to apply for or renew your EHIC

You can apply for or renew an EHIC using the official EHIC online application form. This is free of charge.

Beware of unofficial websites, which may charge if you apply through them. An EHIC is free of charge.

Apply for your EHIC now

Visits to the EU that start in 2020 and end in 2021

If you're visiting an EU country over the Christmas and New Year period, your UK EHIC entitlements will continue until you leave that country to either:

  • return to the UK
  • visit another EU country

Using a new UK EHIC from 1 January 2021

Some people will be able to get a new UK-issued EHIC which will remain valid from 1 January 2021.

We're currently accepting applications for a new UK EHIC if you:

  • have a registered S1 form or E121 because you receive a qualifying pension or benefit
  • have a registered S1 form or E121 because you're a family member of someone with a qualifying pension or benefit
  • have a registered S1 form or E106 because you're a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another) by 31 December 2020, for as long as you continue to be a frontier worker in the host state
  • have a registered S1 form or E109 because you're a family member of someone considered to be a frontier worker
  • are a UK student studying in the EU by 31 December 2020
  • Apply now for your new EHIC

EU nationals living in the UK

If you’re living in the UK before 31 December 2020, you’ll be able to apply for a new UK EHIC in due course. Your current EHIC will remain valid until 31 December 2020.

Healthcare for UK students in the EU

If you're in an EU country on 31 December 2020 because you're studying there, or on a placement as part of a recognised UK university course, and your course continues beyond 2020, you need to apply for a new EHIC.

This covers you for medically necessary healthcare until the end of your study period abroad.

From 1 January 2021, your new UK EHIC will only be valid in the EU country you're studying in. Make sure you also have travel insurance to cover the duration of your course.

Your current EHIC will remain valid until 31 December 2020.

EHIC until 31 December 2020

If you are not eligible for a new UK EHIC from 1 January 2021, you can still apply for or renew an EHIC for travel until 31 December 2020. This is free of charge.

Beware of unofficial websites, which may charge if you apply through them.

Apply now for the current EHIC

What the EHIC covers

The EHIC covers medically necessary state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or, in many cases, free of charge, until your planned return home.

This includes treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition that becomes necessary during your visit.

It also includes routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth.

But if the birth happens unexpectedly, the EHIC will cover the cost of all medical treatment linked to the birth for mother and baby.

The EHIC covers the provision of oxygen and kidney dialysis, although you'll have to arrange and pre-book these treatments before you go on holiday. You can ask a GP or hospital for advice.

Check that you're not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC.

The EHIC also covers routine medical care for people with pre-existing conditions that need monitoring

EHIC card What's not covered

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you might expect to get free of charge from the NHS.

This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Find out more in the GOV.UK country healthcare guides

In some countries, patients are expected to directly contribute a percentage towards the cost of their state-provided treatment. This is known as a patient co-payment.

If you receive treatment under this type of healthcare system, you're expected to pay the same co-payment charge as a patient from that country.

The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts or being flown back to the UK.

The EHIC is not valid on cruises.

It's important to have both an EHIC and a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes healthcare in place before you travel.

Some insurers now insist you hold an EHIC, and many will waive the excess if you have one.

The EHIC will not cover your medical treatment if you're travelling abroad specifically to have medical treatment, including giving birth.

Find out about going abroad for medical treatment

You may not be able to use the card in some parts of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, as state-provided healthcare may not be available in certain areas.

Be cautious if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. They can sometimes reassure visitors that they can claim back whatever is paid out.

This may be the case if your individual travel insurance provides for this.

But costs may not necessarily be recoverable under the EHIC scheme, particularly if treatment is not from a state provider.

Who can apply for a UK-issued EHIC? - Residents of the United Kingdom

Claiming a refund

Your EHIC provides you with the right to access state-provided healthcare that becomes necessary during your trip.

You'll be treated on the same basis as a resident of the country you're visiting.

In some countries you may be expected to pay your bill upfront and then claim a refund afterwards.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary). You or your insurance company may need them if you're applying for a refund.

Some countries ask patients to pay a contribution towards the cost of their care, such as for prescription costs. This is known as a co-payment or patient share.

You can claim back the difference between the total bill and the patient share, but the actual patient share is non-refundable.

It's the responsibility of the authority of the country of treatment to decide the amount of the patient share and therefore how much is refundable from the total bill.

For further advice, contact the Overseas Healthcare Service on 0191 218 1999, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Page last reviewed: 9 November 2020

My name has changed

You can only renew online if you have a PIN.

If you do not have a PIN, contact the application line on 0300 330 1350 to renew your card.

My address has changed

If none of your other details have changed or you previously informed the EHIC team of your change of address, you can renew your card online.

Enter your new address in the address field. Your renewed card(s) will be sent to this address.

If you're not sure whether you have informed the EHIC team of any changes or there have been any other changes to your details, contact the enquiry line on 0300 330 1350.

Or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to:

EHIC Enquiries
PO Box 1114
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE99 2TL

You'll have to provide your full name, UK address, date of birth and your PIN, if you know it.



What does this mean for me?

If you visit another EEA country where that country requires its own citizens to pay a patient contribution, (SPAIN) you will also need to pay for this.

You will no longer be able to claim reimbursement for this payment when you return to the UK for treatment received after July 1 2014.

You may still be able to claim reimbursements for any co-payments you made for treatment received abroad before July 1 2014, however.

Your EHIC still entitles you to receive medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, and you will be treated on the same basis as a resident of the country you are visiting.

State-provided healthcare is generally free of charge. However, in some parts of the country, particularly the outlying islands, you may have to travel some distance to find a state healthcare provider. If you need to call out a doctor in an emergency, make sure you have a valid EHIC and ask for state-funded healthcare.

Some hospitals and health centres (centro de salud) offer both private (privado) and state-provided healthcare (asistencia sanitaria pública) and it is up to you to inform them which service you require. They may also often have separate surgery times for private patients and those treated under the state system.

Generally, if you are asked to pay upfront, you are not being treated under the Spanish health service and your EHIC will not be accepted.

Important: your EHIC does not cover private treatment. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. They might reassure visitors that they can claim back whatever is paid out, but they are referring to private insurance and not the treatment given under the EHIC.

It's always advisable to have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Repatriation for medical treatment is not covered by the EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.


Dental treatment is not covered by the public healthcare system unless it's an emergency. Most emergency departments or health centres have a dentist attached that can deal with dental emergencies.


Just like in the UK, you'll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Make sure you are referred to a public hospital as only these provide treatment free of charge. Again, even in a public hospital ensure you have a valid EHIC and double-check you are not treated as a private patient. In public healthcare facilities, you have the right to insist your EHIC is accepted. You do not have to provide travel insurance details unless you choose to do so.


You can take your prescription to any pharmacy (farmacia) in Spain. They can be identified by a green cross.There are prescription charges in Spain. When using your EHIC, people of working age are charged 50% and pensioners are charged about 10%. Pensioners will have to declare they are in receipt of a State Pension in order to pay the lower rate.

Prescription charges are non-refundable.

If you are told by a hospital that you require medicine following your discharge, you must take the hospital medical report to a doctor, who will give you a prescription. This is because doctors in public hospitals will prescribe medicines on the appropriate medical report but do not issue official prescriptions.

Bringing your own medicines to Spain

If you have a condition that requires you to bring your own medicines to Spain, you should have a letter from you GP stating what the medicines are and why you need them. If possible, have the letter translated into Spanish, as this will also be useful in case you need to see a health professional during your stay.

If any of your medicines fall into the controlled drugs category, you need to comply with regulations on drugs exports in the UK. In addition, you'll need to apply for the Spanish import license at your nearest Spanish consulate with the   following documentation:

  • license for exportation of controlled drugs
  • full name, current  address and contact telephone number of applicant or drug unit
  • flight details, dates and destination address in Spain
  • fax number or address details to send the Spanish Import License once received from Spain

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

Although your EHIC covers the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care, you'll have to arrange and pre-book medical treatment before you go. You should always consult your GP or hospital before travelling. Also ensure you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC.

Oxygen therapy

Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. You will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to.If you need to receive oxygen therapy during a temporary visit to Spain, you must request it in advance inwriting from the Spanish authorities. You should send this request at least one month before you are due to travel.

Oxygen therapy needs to be arranged directly with the Spanish authorities. Visit the oxygen page on www.healthcareinspain.eu,where a list of contacts and a template letter in Spanish is provided to help

you make the arrangements.

Once you have sent the oxygen request directly to the Spanish authorities, it is your responsibility to then

follow up with the relevant oxygen provider to confirm your request has been processed.

The British Lung Foundation BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling

to. Their website offers general advice about how to make travel arrangements, including advice on:

  • travelling abroad with a lung condition
  • airline oxygen policies

Ensure you allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.


You should speak to the co-ordinator in your UK dialysis unit before you travel. They will contact the dialysis unit in Spain nearest to where you will be staying. The provision of dialysis will be subject to availability in Spain. The Renal Association website has a list of renal units in the UK.

Ensure you make your arrangements according to your UK schedule. Also, there may be different guidance depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. In addition, visit the National Kidney Federation website, which offers general  advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients and guidelines for transplant patients.

Any other specialist treatment

If you need to receive any other specialist treatment, such as chemotherapy or other prescriptions,

again it may be advisable to make arrangements for this in advance of your trip. Certain areas of Spain receive a large number of long-term visitors per year, which can mean high demand for certain services. Although you are not obliged to make arrangements for treatment in advance of your trip, not doing somay result in delays when you need to access treatment.

And incidentally the current daily rate for 24 hours in the intensive care departmet at Villajoiosa hospital…..  was just under 1500€, (and we’ve never heard of anybody getting away with just a one day stay in intensive care!)

If you are already in Spain without an EHIC and you need a doctor, you can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) from the 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following information:

  • Full name;
  • Date of Birth;
  • 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).

or call 00441912181999 option 1 and they will be given an emergency EHIC number!


If you find yourself in a serious, life-threatening emergency, you should call 112. This number is free of charge and valid in all Spanish territories. The Spanish word for A&E department is "urgencias". Other important phone numbers to note down: •112 or 061 – ambulance (ambulancia) •091 – national police (policía nacional) •092 – local police (policía municipal) •062 – civil guard (guardia civil) •080 – fire brigade (bomberos) •900 202 202 – sea rescue (salvamento y seguridad marítima)

If you feel you need medical treatment the best place to go is and the main clinic in Benidorm, The Centro de Salud  which is opposite the Gallowgate Bar, next to the Eurochange Tabacos).... You must have with you your EHIC card and your passport and any travel insurance documents you have, you will not be seen without these, I have seen people in the ambulance ready to be taken to the relevant hospital but the drivers will not go anywhere unless they have seen this paperwork. Once you have been seen by the duty doctor they will decide on your treatment, your insurance or lack of will determin which hospital you go to, if you only have your EHIC card you will be taken to the general hospital which is closer to Villa Joyosa, if you have full travel insurance you will be taken to Levante Hospital (in Benidorm) There are lots of other private clinics in Benidorm some of these will treat you themselves or you will be directed to either Clinica Benidorm or Levante hospital you need insurance because you will be charged.

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