Healthcare in Spain – what is the Convenio Especial?

Convenio especial

One of the key requisites for legal residency in Spain is access to healthcare, either registration on the excellent public healthcare system (via a work contract, self-employment or reciprocal agreement using the S1) or with private health insurance. 

However, some people may be in a situation where they’ll struggle to meet the criteria for these healthcare provisions,whether that’s  pre-existing conditions, below retirement age etc. Fortunately, there is another option available for ths group that is accepted as proof of healthcare for residency purposes, and that is registration on the Convenio Especial.

What is the Convenio Especial for healthcare?

The Convenio Especial is a pay-in scheme for public health care services delivered by the Spanish regional health authorities. For a monthly fee (€60 under 65, €157 over 65) you’ll be covered by the Spanish public healthcare system, including pre-existing conditions, although you will have to pay for prescriptions and some extras like prosthetics.

Who is eligible to apply for the Convenio Especial

If you are unable to get healthcare by any other means and you have been legally resident in Spain for at least 12 months, you can apply to register on the Convenio Especial for your area.

What documents are required?

You’ll need the following documents (with copies)

  • Passport (at least 6 months validity)
  • NIE Certificate, Residency certificate (green A4 paper, green credit-card sized certificate) or TIE
  • Padron Certificate (not more than 3 months old)
  • Certificate of non-entitlement to healthcare in the UK, translated into Spanish (see below for how to get this)
  • Application form downloaded and completed

What is a Certificate of non-entitlement and what are the implications?

To be accepted on the Convenio Especial, you’ll need to have a letter stating that you are not covered by the UK for healthcare in Spain (documento de no exportación). You can request this by contacting the NHS Overseas Healthcare Services.

NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA)
Overseas Healthcare Services
Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 6SN
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Email: nhsbsa.ohsregistrations@nhs.net
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm; Saturday, 9am to 3pm

When you receive this letter, you’ll need to get it translated by a “Sworn Translator” ready to submit with the other documents listed above. Remember, when you order the letter its always a good idea to check with the NHS how this will affect your healthcare in the UK. 

How and where to submit your application for the Convenio Especial

Once you have all the documentation you need, you can choose from several ways to actually send in your application:

In person by making an appointment at an authorised “Public Authority”, for example

  • nearest large Health Centre
  • Andalucian Health Service main office in Malaga or other provincial capital
  • Go to a main Correos office, where they will check and send off the documents

Online using your Digital Certificate
You’ll need to visit Seguridad Social web portal and use your Digital Certificate to make an appointment and/or submit documents here 

What happens next?

Personal or postal application

The Health Service will process your application and if accepted, will send you two copies of the Agreement, which you’ll need to sign and send back (take copies of the signed documents) along with proof of payment of the first instalment of the monthly Standing Order from your Bank.

Online Application

This will also be processed and you can check progress within the system. They will probably still send paperwork out for signing and returning plus proof of payment of first instalment.

Useful Links

List of Health offices in Andalucia

Information from Junta de Andalucia about the Convenio Especial

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