If you are living permanently in Spain and you receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare in Spain paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 form. If so, you may also get healthcare cover from the UK not only for yourself but also for any members of your family who depend on you and who live with you.
However, if, in addition to your UK pension, you also receive a pension from the country in which you now live, that country will be responsible for your healthcare and an S1 will not be applicable. If you receive your UK pension as well as a pension from an EU member state, but are now living in a different EU state, the country to which you paid contributions toward your pension for the longest period becomes responsible for your healthcare.
For exportable UK pensions and contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you can apply for your form via the Overseas Healthcare Team in the Department for Work and Pensions on 0191 218 1999 or talk to
- The International Pension Centre
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1BA +44 (0)191 218 7777 (Monday to Friday 8am-5pm)
You may need to liaise with different teams, depending on the exportable benefit. GOV.UK has more information on Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad. You may also wish to speak to the Exportability Team. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.
Apply as soon as possible before you leave the UK if you know your new address in Spain or as soon as you can after you arrive here. Once issued, register the S1 form with the Social Security in Spain . You need to do this before you can register for healthcare or obtain a medical card.
Once you have registered your S1 here, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries.
You cannot apply online for a UK-issued EHIC. Instead, you’ll need to request an EHIC-E application form with the Overseas Healthcare Team. Simply call 0191 218 1999 from the UK or 0044 (0)191 218 1999 from abroad, (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm).
If your UK benefit stops for any reason, you will no longer get healthcare cover from the UK.
Once you have processed your entitlement at the Seguridad Social by way of the S1, you then have to register with a local GP to get access to non-emergency type treatment and care. You will need to be registered with your local town hall in order to prove which cachement area your place of residence falls into and therefore which GPs you may apply to register with.