European Health Insurance Card

As an EU resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there.

Until recently, you needed an E form – such as the E111 or the E128 – to get such treatment. Now, these paper forms are being replaced by the European Health Insurance Card.  One Card is needed for each individual or member of the family.

The Card was introduced on 1 June 2004.  It means that you can get necessary healthcare in the public system of any EU / EEA country or Switzerland, if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay in that country.

Apply for the European Health Insurance Card if you:

  • Plan to go on holiday to another EU / EEA country or Switzerland
  • Regularly visit any of these countries, for example, on business, as a transport worker or for leisure
  • Plan to go to any of these countries to seek work
  • Are being sent by your employer to work in any of these countries temporarily but will continue to pay tax in the country in which you reside
  • Intend to undertake a course of study in any of these countries but still consider yourself as ordinarily resident in the country in which you reside
  • Intend to visit any of these countries for any other type of temporary stay where healthcare in itself is not the aim of the visit

To apply please visit the following websites:

Cross-border issues

Travelling in Ireland,  North and South

Under EEA arrangements persons visiting one country and requiring immediately, necessary treatment under the terms of the EHIC are able to obtain this for free.

Southern residents do not have to show an EHIC card but can instead show proof of their residency in the South eg: licence/proof of address etc. This same policy applies to any Northern resident requiring immediate treatment in the South when on a visit.

Immediately, necessary treatment is ultimately a clinical decision however, it is generally understood to mean treatment in case of sudden illness or accident or treatment for a pre-existing condition that has worsened on the visit. Generally, patients will be treated to the stage were they are able to return to their own home country. Any follow-up treatment such as out-patient appointments etc should be obtained by the patient in their own home country.

See also: