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Healthcare in Spain: the steps to apply for the S1 form for UK state pensioners

The Local Spain
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Healthcare in Spain: the steps to apply for the S1 form for UK state pensioners
Image: pasja1000/Pixabay

The S1 form allows UK state pensioners resident in Spain to get access to public health care. Read on to find out all about it and how to apply.

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There are different ways to make sure you’re covered for healthcare in Spain, but the main ways are by paying social security, either if you’re working or you’re self-employed. 

But what if you are retired, earning a UK state pension are are not paying into the Spanish social security system? 

If you fall into this category, you can apply for the S1 form, in order for your health care to be covered, without having to get private insurance. 

READ ALSO - TSE card: How to get a Spanish European Health Insurance card

What is the S1 form?

The S1 form is essentially proof of entitlement to health cover in Spain, which is funded by the UK government.

The healthcare certificate entitles you and any dependents to healthcare in another EU country, on the same basis as Spanish citizens. It’s only available to those who are non-UK residents.

The S1 system is still valid even though the UK has left the EU, however, it is only available to those who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and were resident in Spain before January 1st 2021. 

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Who is eligible?

If you’re a Spanish resident, but a UK state pensioner and have already started receiving your pension, you will be eligible for the S1. This is the main group of people who qualify, however, there are a few others, read on to find out more. 

Another way that you could be entitled to cover with the S1 form is if you’re a frontier worker, where you work in one country but live in another. You should contact the HMRC to find out if you’re eligible this way.

You may also be entitled to the S1 form if you’re a flight attendant or work on a ship at sea, under certain circumstances.

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If you are eligible, you can also fill out a separate S1 form for any of your dependants, if they are not eligible for public health cover in Spain any other way.   

How to apply for the S1 form?

If you have a UK state pension, you can get an S1 application form by calling the Overseas Healthcare Services, which is part of the NHS Business Services Authority.

The number to call is +44 (0)191 218 1999 and you can call anytime Monday to Friday 8am-6pm or Saturday from 9am-3pm (UK time).

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What to do once you have your S1 form?

When you have your S1 form from the NHS, you must register it at your local INSS social security office in Spain. You can also register via the online INSS website here

The INSS will then give you a social security number and certificate, which you can take to your local health centre and apply for a health card.

You will also need other documents to get your health card, including ID cards, residency certificates, and padrón certificate. Read more on how to apply for your public health care card in Spain, which explains all the details.

Ensure that you still keep your S1 form, however, as you can also use it to access health care back in the UK when you go and visit, if need be.

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Alan L 2024/02/15 19:48
‘The S1 system is still valid even though the UK has left the EU, however, it is only available to those who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and were resident in Spain before January 1st 2021.’ Is that correct ? I understood that UK pensioners who became resident after 1/1/21 are still eligible.

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