Healthcare

Information for Spanish citizens

Information for the citizens of the United Kingdom

Access to the Spanish public health system for people entitled to health care by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union is guaranteed until 31 December 2020 by the Withdrawal Agreement formalized in November 2019 between the European Union and the United Kingdom, and as of 1 January 2021, by the Protocol on Social Security Coordination of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part.

  1. National tourists from the United Kingdom in Spain

    I am a citizen of the United Kingdom and want to travel as a tourist to Spain at a later date than the date of the United Kingdom's withdrawal. Will I be entitled to health care in Spain? What document will I have to provide?

    Yes, the Protocol on Social Security Coordination of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, provides for such coverage. Contact the pertinent British institution to find out what documentation you need to obtain to accredit your rights.

  2. British students in Spain

    I am a citizen of the United Kingdom and I am studying a phD / masters / ERASMUS scholarship in Spain. Will I have the right to healthcare?

    In principle, yes, you are entitled to healthcare; but insofar as this matter relates to coverage payable for by the United Kingdom, we are not able to provide you with precise information.

  3. UK national workers resident in Spain

    • 3.1. I am a citizen of the United Kingdom and work permanently in Spain. Am I entitled to free health care? How can I prove this if I am asked to do so?

      Yes, Spanish legislation guarantees health care to all workers registered with the Spanish Social Security. In this case the recognition of the right is automatic, you will not have to carry out any procedure.

      You will be treated in the health centres of the National Health System by presenting the health card issued to you by the Autonomous Communities of your place of residence.

      Health cards issued prior to the date of withdrawal will remain valid and will be fully effective for receiving health care in Spain.

    • 3.2. I work in Spain; is my family entitled to health care?

      Yes, a relative of a national of the United Kingdom who works legally in Spain, as long as he or she is authorised to reside and actually resides in Spain, is entitled to health care.

      It applies to the worker’s descendants who are under 26 years of age or disabled if they are dependent on and live with the worker, as well as to their spouse or unmarried partner.

    • 3.3. Which services of the Spanish National Health System are free?

      Persons who hold a Spanish health card or who can prove that they are entitled to health care in the United Kingdom or Gibraltar do not have to pay for care in the Spanish public health system, as the cost of their care will be borne by Spain or the United Kingdom, which will reimburse the costs to the Spanish State.

    • 3.4. If I am not considered a habitual resident in Spain, can I be asked to pay for health care?

      Foreign visitors who do not have a health card from the Spanish National Health System or do not provide a document accrediting the health coverage provided by British entities may be charged by the Spanish National Health System for the services provided.

    • 3.5. How will planned treatments be affected by the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU?

      They will not be affected.

  4. UK national workers posted by their employers to work in Spain

    I am a national of the United Kingdom, my company is based in the UK but it is going to temporarily post me to Spain. Am I entitled to health care?

    Yes, both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol on Social Security Coordination guarantee the application of coordination rules that are similar to EU Regulations. A worker seconded by their employer to another country can continue to pay into the Social Security system of their country of origin.

    As a seconded worker you can work temporarily in an EU country and continue to be covered by the British Social Security system for a two-year period during which your Social Security entitlements, including health coverage shall remain unaffected.

  5. UK pensioners covered by British Social Security resident in Spain

    In the case of UK pensioners resident in Spain, will their access to health care in their place of residence be affected after Brexit?

    Your healthcare rights shall not be affected; EU regulations shall continue to apply.