Generalitat Valenciana president Ximo Puig made the announcement following the news that in Andalusia in southern Spain regional health authorities said only foreigners with public healthcare would get the inoculation, a decision which they have since backtracked on.
On Thursday March 4th Puig said that “without a doubt” foreign nationals who are living in Valencia would get the vaccine and that his government’s objective is to “vaccinate everyone”.
This will mean that the 70,000 UK nationals, 1,000 Americans and the other 269,000 foreign nationals living in Alicante province alone will get access to the vaccine that’s only in the hands of public hospitals, even if they only have private medical insurance and don’t pay social security contributions to Spain.
The same will apply to foreigners in La Comunidad Valencia’s two other provinces – Valencia and Castellón.
The one prerequisite is to have a Valencian public healthcare card – the SIP – which for those who don’t pay social security contributions will likely be a temporary public health subscription for them to gain access to the vaccine.
This will not entitle them to get free healthcare (they do have to pay an unnamed amount as if it were a private hospital treatment, this could be the convenio especial mentioned below), although it hasn’t been announced yet whether foreigners without public healthcare will have to pay for the Covid vaccine itself.
According to government estimates, up to 20,000 British nationals in Alicante are not registered on public health databases and could therefore go unnoticed by the regional health system if they don’t make their existence known.
This includes second homeowners who spend extended periods of time in Spain but use only private medical insurance, or long-term tourists who are staying in hotel accommodation and aren’t registered at the town hall.
Many have stuck around in Spain as a result of the pandemic.
Whereas EU nationals in this situation can remain in the country (even though they technically should become residents after three months), Brexit has meant non-resident Britons now have to leave Spain and the Schengen Area after 90 days.
What documents will I need to apply for the SIP?
Generally speaking, Valencia’s SIP public health card is given to those who are either working or are pensioners, together with their beneficiaries.
To apply for the card, foreigners are asked for their passport, green certificate or TIE residency document, their padrón register at their local town hall and pension/work forms that prove contributions.
You don’t necessarily have to be a resident in the Valencia region to get a SIP card as long as you pay monthly social security tax.
Although the Valencian government haven’t specified it in this case, they could be talking about the pay-in scheme called convenio especial (special agreement), which as far as we know is only available after one year of residency in Spain
The cost depends on your age – for under 65s it’s a monthly fee of around 60€ whereas for those over that age it’s 157€.
SIP actually stands for Sistema de Información Poblacional (Population Information System). It’s the database of information Valencian health services use and cross-reference with other government records for important campaigns such as the vaccine rollout.
So registering for a SIP in this particular case may not involve those amounts or the year-long wait for the convenio especial, as this could be a temporary scheme and record for the vaccine campaign alone.
What foreigners are likely to be asked for in this case is their padrón, as it’s a record of the applicant’s address in the Valencia region and proof that they are living there. A contract, bills or other proof of address is needed for this otherwise easy and quick process.
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Malaga authorities for example have been urging foreigners in their province to make sure they have the padrón or to make sure it’s updated as this is the best way for a wider census of people to be passed onto their local public health centres.
According to Spanish daily La Información, the Valencian government has said that foreigners should register at their local immigration office (Extranjería) or request the SIP card or they will not receive the vaccine, including those who have private medical insurance.
People who already have a SIP card are also being asked to make sure their details are updated so they can be contacted through this page.
When will foreigners in the Valencia region be vaccinated?
Foreigners in the Valencia region who already have public health access will be included in the same group as Spaniards, which means they have to follow the general priority criteria to know when it’s their turn.
Valencian President Ximo Puig stressed that the order in which ‘unregistered’ foreigners will be vaccinated hasn’t been decided yet, but according to Valencian health authorities “they will be called to get the vaccine but in the last place on the list in their corresponding groups.”
“Everyone will be vaccinated but we need them to apply for the SIP card, or to update the one they have to be able to locate them”.