European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

What is the European Health Insurance Card or EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card is a free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.

Be Aware!

The European Health Insurance Card:

  • is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property,
  • does not cover your costs if you are traveling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment,
  • does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country.

EHIC CardsApplying For A Card

•   How Do You Obtain A Card?

You obtain a card by contacting the health insurance institution where you are insured and which is, therefore, responsible for assuming your healthcare costs.

•    Who Can Benefit from a Card?

To be eligible for a card, you must be insured by or covered by a state social security system in any Member State of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Each separate member of a family traveling should have their own card.

Travelers and persons from non-EU countries who are legally residing in the EU and are covered by a state social security scheme are also eligible for a card. However, nationals from non-EU countries cannot use their EHIC for medical treatment in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

•    How Long is the Card Valid?

This varies from one country to another and is best to check when you contact your local health authority to obtain the card.

•    What action can you take if your local authority refuses to give you a European Health Insurance Card?

If you ask for the European Health Insurance Card, your local authority is obliged to provide you with one or, failing that, with a provisional replacement certificate if the card is not immediately available. If they do not, you should be able to appeal.

If you are unsure about your rights or need information on how to ensure that your right to an EHIC is respected by your national authorities, you can contact Your Europe Advice.

•    What action can you take if your European Health Insurance Card is not recognized abroad while on your trip or during work?

If your EHIC is not recognized by the authorities of any EU country – or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – you can request your home insurer to contact the doctor or hospital abroad.