The rules for getting state healthcare in Spain are different from those in the UK. The NHS is a residence-based system, which means that all you need to access healthcare in Great Britain is to be ‘ordinarily resident’.
In Spain however, the system is contribution-based, which means that normally you must have paid into the social security system in order for you and your dependants to get state healthcare. These social security contributions can be paid by your employer or by yourself as a self-employed worker. You may also be eligible to register to pay voluntary contributions if you have paid contributions at any point in Spain and have paid contributions for 3 out the last 12 years in any European Union Member State – apply at your local Tesoreria.
If you are not paying into the Spanish social security system you may also get state healthcare if:
- You are in receipt of a UK state pension, long-term contribution-based Incapacity benefit or Bereavement benefit (apply for an S1 form);
- You are an early retiree to Spain and have been resident here less than two years (apply for an S1 form);
- You are a posted worker for a UK company;
- You are a dependant of someone who falls into one of the categories above;
- You are a temporary visitor to Spain and have a valid UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC);
- You will be receiving planned treatment abroad or are in receipt of UK sickness or maternity benefit – apply for an S2 form (previously E112). For more information, please visit the NHS website.
- You are a child under the age of 18 and have no access to healthcare through your own or your parents means. This is called ‘La Ley de Minor’ and you apply through the social worker at your local health centre.
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