The European Health Insurance Card
What is the European Health Insurance Card?
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to access public healthcare in another EU/EEA state for free or at a reduced rate. You can use it when you are travelling abroad or when you are staying temporarily in another EU State.
Essential points about the card
- Each family member needs their own card.
- It lasts for up to 4 years.
- You will need to apply to renew your card and you can renew online.
- When abroad, always carry your EHIC with you.
- It will not cover you for healthcare outside of the EU, other than Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein (EEA) and Switzerland.
- It does not cover private healthcare.
- It used to be called the E111 form.
You can apply:
- In person: at any local health office except, Dublin North West, Dublin South, Kildare and West Wicklow.
- By post: Print out an application form and post it to your local health office along with any documents required.
- Online: Apply through the HSE website if you have a medical card or drug payment scheme card and you live in Ireland.
Can I get a European Health Insurance Card?
You can only apply for an European Health Insurance Card:
- If you live in Ireland
- If you live in another European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) member state, or Switzerland
If you live in Ireland but you are linked to another EU/EEA State's Social Security System, contact the health authorities in that country for more information.
If you live in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland
If you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you are entitled to an Irish-issued EHIC if you any of the following apply.
- You receive a state pension from Ireland and have an Irish-issued E Form/S1 form (certificate of entitlement) registered in your country of residence.
- You work for an Irish employer and are posted to work in another EEA country or Switzerland.
- You are a frontier worker (cross-border worker) living in the EEA and working in Ireland.
- You are a family member of a posted worker or of someone working in Ireland and you are not covered in your own right by the EEA country you live in.
If you are not eligible for an Irish-issued EHIC, you should see if you are eligible for an EHIC in the country you are currently living in.
Where can I use it?
EU and Europe
You can use your European Health Insurance Card in any European Union or European Economic Area (EEA) country and in Switzerland. Currently, the EEA comprises of the 27 member states of the European Union together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
As Andorra and Monaco are not part of the EU or EEA, your EHIC is not accepted there. You should get private health insurance instead.
If you are an Irish citizen, you have access to healthcare under the Common Travel Area while visiting the UK. However, other EU citizens should continue to use the EHIC, which is still accepted in the UK.
Outside the EU
If you are travelling outside the EU/EEA, you should get private health insurance instead.
What does it cover?
|What it covers||What it does not cover|
|Free or reduced cost public healthcare in any of the EU and EEA countries||Private healthcare|
|A temporary stay up to 3 months||The cost to fly you back to Ireland|
|Pre-existing medical conditions||Ongoing or permanent healthcare|
|Routine maternity care – as long as you’re not going there to give birth||Medical expenses, if your reason for going abroad is to have treatment|
|If you’re a student studying abroad, you’ll be covered for up to an academic year.|
Will I have to pay anything for healthcare with my EHIC?
In some EU member states you may have to make some payment towards the cost of the services you receive, just as people in that state do. You will not receive a re-fund for this or for private healthcare.
How can I get a refund from the HSE if I paid for healthcare while abroad?
You may be able to get a refund if you had to pay because you did not have your EHIC card with you or the healthcare providers charged you by mistake.
Apply for a refund to your HSE Local Health Office. Bring any receipts you have.
The HSE will send an E126 form to the health authorities in the other state to find out:
- If you used a public health service
- How much of a refund is due
When the HSE receive the completed E126 form from the other state, the HSE can see if a refund is due or not. Further information is available on the HSE website.
What if I don't have my EHIC before I travel?
If you don't have your European Health Insurance Card for any reason, you can get a Temporary Replacement Certificate. This Certificate gives you the same entitlement as the Card, but for a shorter period.
You can apply online for this Certificate, in-person or by post to your Local Health Office. You can only receive a Temporary Replacement Certificate for yourself.
Should I get private travel insurance too?
You should consider it. Your EHIC just covers medical costs. Travel insurance can cover you for cancellation and lost or stolen luggage and extras like winter sports cover.
How much does a European Health Insurance Card cost?
There is no fee for the European Health Insurance Card or for a Temporary Replacement Certificate. Renewing a European Health Insurance Card is also free.
How to apply
Before you travel, apply for an EHIC well in advance of your trip.
If you are living in Ireland
- If you are an Irish citizen, Irish pensioner or an EU citizen living in Ireland you can apply for an EHIC:
- In person at your local health office
- By post
- Online - if you have a medical card or drug payment scheme card and you live in Ireland
Your card will be posted out to you within approximately 10 working days.
Apply by post
There are two steps:
- Download and complete the European Health Insurance Card application form (pdf).
- Send the completed form to your Local Health Office. If you can’t download the form, you can get an application from your Local Health Office. You should send your application well in advance of your trip.
How do I renew my card?You must apply to renew your Card as they are not reissued automatically when they expire. You will need your old EHIC number and your PPS number.
If you have changed address or your name, you will need to contact your Local Health Office. You should apply well in advance of the date you plan to travel.
Apply to renew your European Health Insurance Card online.
- Select Renew Current Card at the top of the screen.
- Enter the 10-digit ID number on your expired Card. This number on the front of the card at the bottom left.
- Confirm the address to which the Card will be sent. It should confirm that your application is successful and that a card is being sent out to you.
If you are visiting Ireland and need healthcareIf you have an EHIC and are visiting Ireland, you can:
- Receive necessary family doctor (GP) services
- Receive emergency dental treatment for the relief of pain and urgent dental repairs
You can call the emergency services on 999 or 112 free of charge.
Go to the HSE website for more information.