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Guidance: Healthcare for UK nationals living in Portugal

Department Of Health

October 14
16:18 2021

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This guidance will be updated if anything changes to how you get state healthcare in Portugal.

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This information is about living in Portugal. Theres different guidance about visiting Portugal.

You need to be registered as a resident in Portugal to access state healthcare.

State healthcare in Portugal is not completely free. Healthcare costs are covered by the state, and patients pay standard user fees, known as taxas moderadoras.

UK nationals usually access the Portuguese healthcare system in one of these ways:

  • registering to use the Portuguese national health service as a resident
  • using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for temporary stays when studying, or as a posted (detached) worker
  • registering a UK-issued S1 form (see UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Portugal below)

Healthcare if you live and work in Portugal

If you are planning on moving to Portugal, see the guidance on Living in Portugal for more information about visa and residency requirements.

You must show proof of healthcare cover:

  • before you can register as a resident
  • when you apply for a visa

For details about the healthcare cover required for residency applications, contact local authorities in Portugal or the appropriate Portugal embassy or consulate in the UK.

Everyone whos registered as a resident can also register to access the Portuguese national health service (SNS) on the same basis as a Portuguese citizen.

This is the same if youre employed, self-employed or not working.

You may be entitled to a Portuguese EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK.

You may also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension (see UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Portugal below).

How to register for healthcare

Before registering for healthcare you need to register as a resident.

If youre employed, youll also need your social security number (NISS). Get this from your employer, or request it from the tax office if youre self-employed.

To register for healthcare, go to your local health centre (centro de sade). Youll need your:

  • residence certificate
  • passport
  • tax identification number (NIF) from your local tax office (finanas)
  • social security number (NISS) if youre employed or self-employed

Once youve registered youll get a health number (nmero de utente de sade). Show this when you visit a doctor in the state healthcare system.

How to access healthcare services

Find your nearest hospital or clinic on the Portuguese Nation Health Service website (in Portuguese).

How much youll pay

You pay standard user fees (taxas moderadoras) for state healthcare services in Portugal.

This means that youll pay a fixed amount depending on the service. Your GP in Portugal will be able to tell you what youll pay for any treatment.

How much you pay will depend on what youre being treated for and how youve accessed the healthcare system. The Portuguese ministry of health publishes details on user fees (in Portuguese).

Examples of what youll pay are:

  • 5 euros for a GP appointment
  • 15 euros to go to A&E

Youll need to pay something towards the cost of any prescribed medicine.

You may be exempt from paying fees for some services, prescriptions and treatments, for example if youre:

  • pregnant
  • a child under 12
  • unemployed

Find out more about paying user fees on the SNS website (in Portuguese) or speak to your GP in Portugal.

Dental care is not usually covered by the Portuguese national health service.

If your UK employer has sent you to Portugal temporarily (posted workers)

A posted worker, also known as a detached worker, is someone who is employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to a European Economic Area (EEA) country.

UK posted workers can access healthcare in Portugal using an EHIC, GHIC or S1 form.

HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.

UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Portugal

Theres different guidance if you have an S1 as a posted worker (see If your UK employer has sent you to Portugal temporarily (posted workers) above).

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if youre a resident in Portugal and receive a UK State Pension or an exportable benefit. See Planning your healthcare abroad on the NHS website for more information about eligibility.

You may also be entitled to an S1 form if youre a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if youre eligible.

Not all UK benefits that can be claimed while abroad entitle you to UK-funded healthcare. Read more about claiming benefits if you move abroad or contact Jobcentre Plus to ask about a benefit.

Once you have an S1 form, you must register it on the Portuguese social security system.

This means you and your dependants will be entitled to state healthcare in Portugal on the same basis as a Portuguese citizen.

Youll also get:

Dependants and family members may be classified differently in Portugal than the UK.

Check with the local authorities when you register your S1 form.

If youre entitled to an S1 form as a dependant of a State Pensioner, your health cover will be cancelled once you begin claiming your UK state pension.

You will be sent a new S1 form to your registered address from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services. You must register this form to ensure continuation of healthcare cover.

You are responsible for informing NHS Overseas Healthcare Services if you change your address or your circumstances change.

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm

How to get an S1 form

If you have a UK State Pension or another qualifying exportable benefit, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services (see contact details above).

How to use an S1 form in Portugal

Register your S1 form at any social security office (segurana social). Find your nearest office (website in Portuguese).

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