New card for UK tourists to access emergency healthcare in Spain – the GHIC

GHIC card_residency in spain_EHIC

Sunny Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with the British making up the largest proportion of visitors, reaching a peak of over 18 million sunseekers in 2019.

Up to the end of 2020, the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) granted UK passport holders access to emergency health care during their holiday. However, now that the UK has left the EU, the EHIC has been replaced by the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), issued by the UK Government.

If you already have a valid EHIC, then you’ll still be able to use it on holiday until the expiry date. However, if you need a replacement or a brand new card, then the GHIC is the way forward.

Check if you are eligible and apply for a GHIC
Visit this page on the NHS website which has all the information you need, including links to the GHIC application form.

Find out how to use the new GHIC
The UK government has published some clear guidelines on how to use your GHIC card when you are in Spain and also advises on the discounts you will receive if getting a prescription.

The GHIC is only available to UK residents
It’s worth noting that the GHIC is NOT generally available to UK nationals resident in Spain. The exception to this is S1 holders covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, who can apply for the new UK EHIC via the NHS link above.

How can Spanish residents get emergency health cover outside Spain?
If you are a Spanish resident and eligible for public healthcare, including the Convenio Especial, you can apply for the Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (TSE – Spanish EHIC) via the Social Security website here. If you have solely private health insurance, then check with your provider regarding the coverage they provide outside Spain.

The GHIC, EHIC and TSE are NOT replacements for travel insurance when travelling abroad. You should always make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance in place as well.

The information in this article was correct on the date published.
Article last updated 10.08.2022

Share this page on social media