Ask Afpop – European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

UK state pensioners who qualify for the S1 and have registered it with the Social Security in Portugal will have to apply for the EHIC at the Pension Service in the UK (it is not issued by Portugal but by the country that pays your state pension). This should be done only after arrival in Portugal and the EHIC cannot be applied for before the S1 is registered in Portugal.

For people in that situation, it is important to know that they can still access the NHS when they visit the UK. If they require long-term treatment, that will be possible in the UK as well, but they must ensure that they do not breach the Residency requirements for Portugal, which is to remain in Portugal for at least six months a year. The EHIC is valid for emergency treatment when travelling in other EU countries which are part of the EHIC agreement.

For those UK citizens who are early retired, i.e. not receiving the UK state pension and who are not working in Portugal, it is Portugal that issues the EHIC and it is applied for at the Social Security office.

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