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Segurança Social

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DAISS - Department of International Agreements on Social Security - Highlights


The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is to be used in every Member State of the European Union, the European Economic Area countries and in Switzerland, is the result of the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council 2002 and allows its holder during a temporary stay in one of these countries:
- Administrative simplification in what concerns the identification of both its holder and the institution financially responsible for the costs of the health care he may need;
- The provision of health care which becomes necessary on medical grounds, taking into account the nature of the benefits to be provided and the expected length of the stay, in order to avoid an anticipated return to the competent State to receive the needed care.

It is to be used only in some countries of Europe that are Member States of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), in the EFTA States that with the UE Member States integrate the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and in Switzerland.

Notice should be taken that the Card does not cover situations where the insured person goes to another Member State for the purpose of receiving medical treatment.

The Card was introduced in Portugal on the 1st of March, 2005. It is personal and nominative, has a defined period of validity (in principle, three years, although different periods of validity are allowed), and the entitled persons are:
- Employed persons, including those of international transports, pensioners and their families covered by a social security scheme;
- Beneficiaries of social protection subsystems responsible for the health care costs provided to the EHIC holder.

If you move within the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, be sure to take your European Health Insurance Card with you.

You may APPLY for it:
- In the Continent, at the Social Security Institute district centre (or the Welfare Fund) of the place of your residence or at the institution that collects your social security contributions and at its local services and “Lojas do Cidadão”;
- In the Autonomous Region of Azores, at the cash benefit centres
- In the Autonomous Region of Madeira, at the Social Security Centre of Madeira
- At your health Subsystem (the competent institution for the protection against sickness (as for example ADSE, SAMS, ...).

The card will be sent by post to the beneficiary’s address.


- For general information, please go to:

. Instituto da Segurança Social, I.P.,
. Direcção-Geral de Saúde,
. Ministério da Saúde,

- For beneficiaries of the general social security scheme, please go to:

. FAQ's ( frequently asked questions), FAQ's CESD (50k)
. Instituto da Segurança Social, I.P.,

- For civil servants (ADSE), please go to:

- For EU information, please go to:

- for beneficiaries of the general social security scheme, FAQ's CESD (50k)
- for civil servants (ADSE),