Those with the card are able to receive state provided health care under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some cases) as people in that country which includes all of the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The EHC only gives you access to public or agreed services. If you want to use a private health service, you should have health insurance.

When can I use the EHC?

You can use the card for health services such as consultations, emergencies, or even medication, under the same conditions as residents of that country. But be careful, as you can only use it during your stay in that country, whether on vacation or for work. In other words, you cannot simply travel to obtain medical treatment.

Who can apply for the European health card?

People who legally reside in Portugal and who meet one of the following requirements can apply for the European health card:

- Benefit from Social Security (workers, pensioners, unemployed people, and their families).

- Benefit from public health subsystems.

- Benefit from private health subsystems.

- Is a user of the SNS (not linked to Social Security or a health subsystem).

- Be registered with Voluntary Social Security.

- Is a worker posted abroad.

- Is a former worker abroad (current pensioner returned to Portugal).

Children and Young People

Children and young people should also ask for their European health card, as each card is individual and each family member must have their own card.

How to get the card?

You can request your card either online or in person.

On the Social Security page, enter your Social Security number (NISS) and your password or access your profile with the digital mobile key. Then go to the "Sickness" menu and then the "Get European Health Insurance Card" option. Finally, click on "Start order" and follow the instructions.

You can also make the request through the Social Security + Próxima app, select the "European Health Insurance Card" option and follow the instructions.

If you prefer to make the request in person, you can go to a Social Security service desk or a Citizen's Store. If you live in the archipelagos, you can do so at the services of the Social Security Institute of the Azores and the Social Security Institute of Madeira, IP-RAM.

Necessary documents

Applying for a European health card does not require much documentation or bureaucracy. You just need to have your NISS number and fill out the European Health Insurance Card Application Form available on the Social Security website.

How long will I need to wait to receive the card?

After submitting the request, the EHC will be sent to your address, normally within 5 to 7 working days. However, if you need to travel within 10 days and have not yet received it, you can request a Provisional Replacement Certificate (CPS), which, as the name suggests, replaces the card for 3 months and guarantees you the same rights.

If you are travelling and have forgotten your European health card at home, or if you have lost it, and if you need healthcare, you can ask Social Security to send you the CPS to the health unit where you are.

Expiry date and renewal

The European health card is valid for 3 years, although another period may be defined at the convenience of the respective health subsystems.

After this period, and preferably within 30 days before the expiration date, you must renew the card following the procedures defined for your initial application. If you are urgent, you can request renewal before its validity ends, indicating the full card number.