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NHS services

Healthcare in Spain, including the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands

On this page you will find information on the healthcare you're entitled to and how to get it, whether you're:

  • moving to, or already living in Spain (including students)
  • visiting Spain (for example, on holiday)

Your options for how you access healthcare in Spain may change if there's a no-deal Brexit.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances if you're moving to, visiting or living in Spain.

Living in Spain after Brexit

Spanish legislation guarantees the right to healthcare for all workers registered in the Spanish social security system, even if there's a no-deal Brexit.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances.

Make sure you:

You're currently entitled to a UK-issued European Health Insurance Care (EHIC) when you're travelling outside of Spain if you're an S1 form holder.

This may not be accepted in all EU countries if there's a no-deal Brexit. Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance.

If you're working in Spain, you may have a Spanish-issued EHIC. This will continue to be accepted in other EU countries.

If you're a UK-posted worker, you may need to buy additional healthcare insurance in Spain to receive the healthcare treatment you need.

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it's up to date.

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you're living in Spain and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC.

You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

You may use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge when visiting the UK after Brexit if you're living in Spain before exit day and you:

  • have a UK-issued S1 form
  • have a UK-issued EHIC
  • would have been eligible for the UK to fund your healthcare access, if exit day had not occurred

This will remain the case after exit day.

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you'll be able to access NHS care without charge.

Visiting Spain after Brexit

You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there's a no-deal Brexit and you're a UK national travelling to Spain.

UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU or if your treatment started before exit day.

An EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover so that you can get any treatment you might need.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk to your GP and insurer about how to get the right cover and how this affects your travel.

Arrangement with Spain if there's a no-deal Brexit

The UK government is currently engaging with the Spanish government.

The Spanish government has published a Spanish Royal Decree.

If agreed, this would mean that healthcare access for UK nationals living in or visiting Spain would continue for a transitional period, as long as reciprocal healthcare arrangements are put in place for Spanish nationals in the UK.

You can find more information about the Royal Decree from the Spanish government website.

This guide will be updated when there's more information about healthcare when travelling to and living in Spain after Brexit.

Healthcare in Spain until the UK leaves the EU

Finding help in an emergency

Call 112 if you have a serious, life-threatening emergency. This number is free of charge and valid in all Spanish territories.

The Spanish word for A&E department is "urgencias".

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