If you are currently in the Spanish health system and have a valid SIP (Sistema de Informacion) card, you are entitled to hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The process of applying for the EHIC is far simpler than that of applying for an SIP card, and entitles you to reciprocal emergency care in member states. (If you are a resident in Spain, you should apply for the SIP card, as an EHIC issued in the UK is only good in Spain for medical emergencies, and cannot be relied on for general medical care).
The EHIC covers any treatment you need while abroad until you leave the country. Treatment is provided on the same terms as though you were resident of the country where you seek treatment, which may be at a reduced rate or free. Some countries operate a co-payment system, so if you receive treatment in a co-payment country you will be expected to partially pay for the medical care, but no more than if you were a patient from that country.
With an EHIC you are also covered for pre-existing conditions and maternity care, provided you are not a “health tourist” who visits a country with the sole intention of taking advantage of the medical facilities.
For more information about what you are covered for in each country, see the NHS county guide.
You can apply online for the EHIC at:
This will bring up a form to fill in. The form is in Spanish, so you may need help if you are not confident with the language.
The address you enter needs to be exactly the same as that given on your SIP medical card, as this is where your European Health Insurance Card will be sent. If you have not updated your details recently you can do this at the desk at your local centro de salud.