Healthcare for British nationals living in Portugal

If you are a British national resident in Portugal, or you are planning to move here, this information will explain how to access healthcare.

Portuguese healthcare system

Portugal has a residence-based healthcare system. This means that if you are legally resident in Portugal, you are entitled to state healthcare on the same basis as a Portuguese citizen.

Register for Healthcare

If you are resident in Portugal (ie have a residence permit), you have the right to register for state-healthcare.

  1. Go to your local healthcare center (health center) to register.

  2. Take your valid passport and residence permit.

  3. You will be issued a health number. This will be your ID number to access any state healthcare services in Portugal.

  4. You don’t need a social security number to register for healthcare.

  5. Do not register for or try to access healthcare using your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).


If you receive a UK state pension, or an exportable benefit from the UK, or are a posted worker, the UK is responsible for your healthcare.

You have the same access to healthcare as any other resident in Portugal, but you should register for healthcare using the S1 form.

  • contact the NHS Overseas Healthcare Services to apply for an S1 form

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 218 1999

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Saturday, 9am to 3pm

  • register your S1 form at a Portuguese Social Security District Center. Make sure you keep a copy of the S1 to show the health center when you register

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

When you travel from Portugal to visit another EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country.

During a short stay, your EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return home.

The EHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance. If you are traveling, follow travel advice on GOV.UK and advice from the country’s authorities.

You should apply for a Portuguese-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for visits outside Portugal if you are:

  • registered with the Portuguese Social Security office and have a NISS (número de segurança social)
  • resident in Portugal, with a healthcare user’s number (número de utente de saúde) and do not have healthcare cover from the UK or another Member State (for example if you are not entitled to an S1)

Your Portuguese EHIC is valid in the EU, UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

If you are a UK S1 holder, you are entitled to a new UK-issued EHIC or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

The card you are entitled to will depend on when you moved to Portugal. You can use your EHIC or GHIC when traveling in the EU and Switzerland. If you moved to Portugal before 1 January 2021 and apply for a new EHIC, you can also use it in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Do not use your EHIC or GHIC to access healthcare in Portugal if you are a resident here.

Using the NHS when visiting the UK

If you are a UK S1 holder who became resident in Portugal before 1 January 2021, you are entitled to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK.

S1 holders who became resident in Portugal from 1 January 2021 onwards can no longer use the NHS free of charge when visiting the UK, and should travel with insurance which will cover any necessary medical treatment.

If you are entitled to a Portuguese issued EHIC you can use this for necessary care when visiting the UK.

For more information:

If you have further questions about accessing healthcare in Portugal you can contact the British Embassy’s dedicated healthcare team:

[email protected]

In a medical emergency call 112

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