Retiring to Spain as a pensioner – S1 form and how to register for healthcare in Spain

S1 Form, formally known as the E121

How to get your S1 form and confirmation of pension amount

Why do I need an S1?
The S1 form (previously the E121) gives UK nationals access to state healthcare on the same basis as a Spanish citizen. You’re entitled to an S1 if you receive a UK State Pension or certain other benefits and you can use your S1 entitlement as “proof of healthcare” for your residency application. 

UK-funded healthcare using an S1 obtained before 1 January 2021
If you’re living in Spain before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare will stay the same from 1 January 2021 if you’re either:

  • receiving a UK State Pension
  • receiving another ‘exportable benefit’
  • a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another)

This means that you’ll be eligible for:

  • continued access to healthcare in Spain using your UK-issued S1 form
  • a UK-issued EHIC for travel
  • access to the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales when you’re visiting the UK
  • the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension

Are dependents covered by the S1?
You can apply for an S1 for yourself and any dependents (spouse, civil partner, children under 18) if you fall into one of the following groups:

  • You are in receipt of a UK exportable benefit (e.g. a UK State Pension)
  • You are a posted worker/frontier worker paying compulsory NI contributions in the UK
  • You are flight/cabin crew or are working on a vessel at sea in specific circumstances

Your beneficiary must apply for their S1 and be included on Page 2 of your S1 form under “dependants”. You may need a marriage/civil partnership/birth certificate as proof of relationship.

How to register your S1 in Spain

In person – You will need to book an appointment with the social security office, which you can make here  Click on the tile for “Seguridad Social” and fill in the online form.

Online – If you cannot visit an INSS office in person, you can register your S1 form online instead. This article on the UK.Gov website has full instructions on how to register online.

The documents you will need
If visiting in person you will need originals and copies, if registering online you will need digital copies, saved as PDF files : 

  • Passport  
  • Residency /TIE card or resguardo document received after applying for the TIE card
  • Padron certificate (recently dated) 
  • Original S1 forms (x2)
  • Completed application form which you can download here (in Spanish)

How to get an S1 form
If you don’t already have your S1, you need to get in touch with the NHS Overseas Healthcare Service, and request one – contact details are:

Overseas Healthcare Services of the NHS Business Services Authority,
Bridge House
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
NE 1 6SN
Tel:  +44 191 218 1999
email: nhsbsa.ohsregistrations@nhs.net

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm: Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm

The form can take up to 28 days to arrive at your Spanish address so apply for it in plenty of time and if you don’t yet have an address in Spain, we can receive the form on your behalf.

Confirmation of pension amount letter from UK Government
While we’re on the subject of pensions, as part of the ‘proof of income” process for your residency application, you’ll need to have a letter from the UK Government confirming your pension amount, translated into Spanish.

We can provide you with a template letter to request this information and organise the translation for you.

There’s lots of information on this UK Government web site about healthcare in Spain and here on the NHS website.

The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article lasted reviewed/updated 17.6.2022

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