Healthcare Coverage When Traveling in the EU (For European Residents)

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Bureaucratic Roller Coasters

So you’ve made the leap and settled down in a new country, congratulations! Whether you’ve been settled for a few weeks, months, or years chances are you’re still finding out new things all the time. Usually, they are interesting or funny, sometimes frustrating or simply bureaucratic; there’s nothing like hearing,“what do you mean you’ve lived here for a year and never registered for that!?” Sometimes this is followed up by a fine, other times, a really nice perk that you were missing out on!

What is the European Health Insurance Card?

Often as newcomers, we don’t fully realise all the benefits available to us once we have made our way through the paperwork, and are officially registered in the country. One really important benefit is healthcare, European countries have world-renowned healthcare systems. Normally, once you’re a legal resident of a European country, you’re entitled to access them as though you’re a native. Additionally, you can apply for a card which grants you healthcare coverage when you’re travelling in the EU (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom). To have this coverage, you’ll need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - if you don’t have one yet, no worries the application process is straightforward and we can walk you through it!

The EHIC was officially rolled out in 2006 in order to streamline a very complex system. If you received medical care outside of your home country in the EU before EHIC existed the process varied a lot, and overall led to lots of confusion over healthcare entitlement.

If you’re living in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, or England check out our quick overview👇


European Health Insurance Card

What’s the benefit of having an EHIC?

The benefit of having an EHIC, is that if you are travelling in the EU, outside of your country of residence, you are entitled to the same healthcare as citizens of the EU country you’re in. It is meant to be used should you unexpectedly need medical attention while abroad; so if you sprain your ankle while wine tasting on holiday in Italy, you will receive the same care (and costs) that an Italian would. In some cases it does cover routine treatment for pre-existing conditions, if this applies to you, it’s always good to research the specifics of your treatment in the country you will visit before travelling. It’s not meant for people to go ‘healthcare system shopping’ for planned or elective procedures - if you’re caught doing that, you could be denied treatment or be stuck with a bill.

Each country has its own healthcare system coverages, but if there are any costs associated with treatments, they should be significantly reduced if you have an EHIC. This means that the unfortunate situation of needing medical attention on a holiday will be a bit less stressful. Of course, there are private travel insurances available which you should look into if you have specific coverage needs that may extend beyond the normal coverage of the country you’re visiting. This is especially important if you’re going to be partaking in high-risk activities or spending time in remote areas - helicopter rescues from mountains would probably not be covered by EHIC.

If you don’t have the EHIC yet, it is definitely worth your time to apply! Once you have it simply tuck it away and bring it with you when you travel. It's really important to have, though ideally, you won’t ever need to use it! It is always free of cost to apply for an EHIC - beware of applying through sites that say otherwise, as it is a known scam.

If you’re living in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, or England check out our quick overview👇. Additionally, if you're moving to one of those countries, we have some great housing options for you too - check out our website!


If you’re living in another European country take a look here to find out how to get your EHIC 🇪🇺



Austria🇦🇹


Who can get it:
Anyone who is a legal resident of Austria, who has registered with the national healthcare system.

How to get it:
If you’re currently working in Austria, chances are you probably already have the EHIC as it is on the back of your e-card! Your e-card is your healthcare card.

If you’re new to Austria, or planning your move, once you become registered with the social security system in Austria (usually through your employer) you will be sent a social security number. Then you will need to submit a photo through your local registration office and your e-card will be mailed to you - read more about that here.

More information


Denmark🇩🇰

Who can get it:
Anyone who is a legal resident of Denmark, who has registered with the national healthcare system and at least one of the following:

  • An EU citizen (including Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland)
  • A live-in partner/ family member of an EU citizen. 
  • A refugee (with certain status)

If you do not fall into one of these categories and are registered and living in Denmark, you may not be eligible for the EHIC. It is worth reaching out to Udbetaling Danmark or filling out the quick application online to find out if you’re eligible for the EHIC.

How to get it:
Apply online here

If you’re new to Denmark, or planning your move, once you become registered and have your yellow CPR card (which is your health card) you can apply online for the EHIC.

More information




France 🇫🇷

Who can get it:
Anyone who is a legal resident of France, who has registered with the national healthcare system. Please note, in France the EHIC is called CEAM (La Carte Européenne d'Assurance Maladie).

How to get it:
Once you’re registered with the healthcare system, you can request the card on your personal Ameli account, here or through the other methods listed here.

If you’re new to France, or planning your move, you will need to sign up for the French healthcare system - please note that there is a 3 month waiting period after becoming accepted in the healthcare system before you can utilize your coverage. You can sign up to the healthcare system here using this form.

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England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Who can get it:
Anyone who is a legal resident of the UK, who is registered with the national healthcare system.

How to get it:
If you’re an EU citizen you can apply online here

If you’re a citizen from outside the EU you can apply by completing and mailing in an application form available here

If you’re new to England, or planning your move, once you become registered with the NHS you can apply online for the EHIC.

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Germany 🇩🇪

Who can get it:
Anyone who is a legal resident of Germany, who has registered with the national healthcare system through their German health insurance.

How to get it:
If you’re currently working in Germany, chances are you probably already have the EHIC as it is on the back of your German Health Insurance Card.

If you’re new to Germany, or planning your move, you will need to sign up for a German Health Insurance - you can see the various providers here. Once you have signed up for a health insurance, they will send you a health card which will have your EHIC printed on the back.


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