Health care in Portugal


Foreigners moving to Portugal must have necessary information on its health care system beforehand. Here is an overview.

Portugal's health care system has undergone a vast reform program in 2002. However, the world economic crisis has somewhat slowed down developments. But the country is gradually recovering from its effects, hence modernizing the health care system via the National Health Service.

Health care, as well as medication, are free of charge in Portugal. In fact, any Portuguese national or resident requiring health care may visit any hospital of health care center and be treated by the officiating doctor. You can as well pay a visit to a private doctor but this can be expensive.

Health care system

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Portugal is ranked 12th in the World Health Report. Hence, it suggests that Portugal's health care system can still be ameliorated.

Note that Portuguese residents, that is foreigners having settled in the country, have to register with the closest “centro de saúde” to their place of residence. Visits generally cost some 5 euros. You can also register at the Posto de Atendimento ao Cidadão, that is at the Ministry of Health's help desks, or at the Loja do Cidadão in order to be eligible to health care services.

Documents to be produced are:

  • your passport or identity card
  • your tax number
  • proof of residence
  • your social security number.

EU citizens

European Union citizens, as well as those coming from Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway have to produce their European Health Insurance Card in addition to the above mentioned documents.


In case of emergency, you are required to visit the nearest public hospital to the place where you are. But you can also go to a private hospital or clinic if you have registered to a health insurance with your employer. Note that many hospitals have English-speaking staff.

 Useful links:

Segurança Social
Ministero de Saude
Posto de Atendimento ao Cidadão

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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