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Health care in Spain


Expats in Spain are eligible to the public health care system. But you also have to contribute to the local social security service. Find an overview of the Spanish health care system in this article. 

All foreign nationals living and working in Spain have to contribute to the local social security system, and, as such, are fully entitled to register with the national health fund. EU-EEA citizens can keep their national health coverage up to one year through form E-101, or up to two years through form E-102. After two years in Spain, EU-EEA citizen must register with the Spanish Healthcare System (INGESA). 

Health care

Health care provided in the framework of the INGESA is free of charge, except for eye and dental care. In order to enroll, you must register with the nearest Local Social Security Office (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social) and apply for a Social Security Card. The registration documents' checklist includes: a passport, a birth certificate, proof of residence in Spain and all supporting documents of your dependants (spouse, children etc..). If you are an auto-entrepreneur in Spain, you will have to subscribe to the RETA, which is a special regime. The TA.0521 form has to be filled at the nearest Social Security office. 

The social security card is sent to the requestor by post mail within approximately two months. Once the social security card in your possession, it is necessary to register with a local heath center (Centro de Salud) where you will be assigned a GP. You can change or choose another GP without much difficulty. In case you need to consult a specialist, you must necessarily request an appointment through your GP.

Private health system

You can choose a private health insurance as a complement or substitute of the INGESA coverage. With a private insurance, waiting times to consult a specialist are shorter and you'll be fully covered for all care, including dental or eye. 

If you need a private health insurance for Spain adapted to your needs, get your free and personalized online quote here

Quality health care services

Spanish public and private hospitals provide quality health care services meeting European and international standards. However, the waiting time in public hospitals is quite longer than in private hospitals and clinics.

Pharmacists, for their part, have been trained to provide first aid, dressings and medication, whether on prescription or not. On call pharmacies are listed in local newspapers and display a sign on their showcases.

Emergency numbers

112: European emergency number 
061: Medical emergency 
080: Fire brigade 
091: National Police 
092: Municipal Police

  Useful links: 

Instituto Nacional de Gestión Sanitaria
Seguridad Social - Spanish Social Security

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Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
3 years ago

This is interesting information but my wife and I are not resident and never will be. We are staying in Spain in rented accommodation for 6 months every year from October to March. We are both retired and claim nothing from Spain. On this basis, what are our medical rights. Do we have access to a GP for example and if not, what do we do about minor ailments. John & Joyce

3 years ago

Spanish law now states you can also get free state healthcare in Spain if you were resident prior to 24 April 2013, are under state retirement age, are not working and have an annual income of less than %u20AC100,000. My partner and I have just had our letters from confirming our Social Security numbers and are now waiting for the health cards to arrive.

3 years ago

Actually you need to have been resident prior to 24th April 2012.

3 years ago

Many thanks for your comments but since we only spend around 5 to 6 months a year here in Spain, we are not going to be 'residents'. We have the European Health Card but I am wondering what our situation is when it comes to registering with a local GP for what would be called non emergency treatment. Any information on this matter would be very much appreciated.


See also

Citizens of European Union countries do not require a visa to travel to Spain. A valid identity card or passport is enough. What about other nationalities?
Barcelona, Catalonia's economic center, attracts not only young professionals but also many foreign companies and investors looking for new opportunities.
Madrid's labor market has been facing a shortage of qualified and skilled workforce since some time. Hence, it is open to young foreign professionals.
Malaga has been one of the most affected Spanish cities by the global economic crisis. Hence its high unemployment rate during recent years.

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