S1 form: definition and how to obtain one

Zorica Lončar
27.05.21
2 minute read

If you’re planning to move abroad, one of the most important things to look into is whether you can access healthcare services in your new country. This is even more critical if you’re at or approaching retirement age.

This is where the S1 form comes in. This is a certificate of entitlement for state healthcare which could help you cover at least some medical costs if you’re a UK citizen moving to an EU country.

But what actually is the S1 form, who is eligible for it and how do you get one? We’ll cover the answers to these questions and more right here in this guide.

We’ll even throw in a handy tip if you need to cover medical costs in other currencies. Use an international Wise debit card and you can spend like a local in 200+ countries for low fees and the mid-market exchange rate.

But first, let’s focus on the S1 form.

What is the S1 form?

The S1 form is a certificate of entitlement for state healthcare paid for by the UK government. It’s for UK citizens at or approaching retirement age, who move to an EU country.

Here are the key things you need to know about the S1 form for pensioners

  • If you’re eligible for the UK state pension and move to the EU, you should be able to get an S1 form
  • You must be a resident of the country - UK residents can’t apply for the S1 form.
  • You can’t get an S1 form if you receive a pension from your new country (i.e. because you’ve worked there in the past and are eligible for the state pension) - even if you’re eligible for the UK state pension too
  • You may also be able to get an S1 form if you’ve been living in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein before 1st January 2021 (the day after the UK left the EU) and receive Employment Support Allowance.

The S1 can be really handy if you move to a country where you’re not eligible for free state healthcare, or can’t access the system at all without private health insurance.

How to get the S1 form from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services?

If you’re eligible for the S1 form, you can apply for one from the NHS Overseas Healthcare Services.¹ You can find contact details for the NHS OHS here.

Once you’ve completed the form, you’ll need to register it with the relevant healthcare authority in the EU country you now live in. It’s recommended to do this as soon as possible after you arrive, as you may need to register an S1 form before you can get a medical card or access healthcare services.

Need to cover other overseas healthcare costs? Save money with Wise

If you need to pay for other medical services or prescriptions abroad, a cost-effective solution could be to use Wise.

When you open a Wise multi-currency account, you can also get an international debit card covering 200+ countries. This automatically converts to the local currency, at the real, mid-market exchange rate, whenever you spend. And there aren’t any foreign transaction fees like your bank may charge, just a tiny currency conversion fee.

This could be particularly handy in your first few weeks and months abroad. With Wise, you’ll have a low-cost, convenient way to pay for medical expenses in other currencies while you wait for your overseas bank account to be opened.

Join Wise and start saving today


And that’s pretty much all there is to know about the S1 form - including how it works, who can get one and how to apply. It’s well worth checking whether you’re eligible, as it could make medical costs much more affordable (or free in some cases) during your retirement overseas.


Sources used for this article:

  1. NHS - planning your healthcare abroad

Sources checked on 12th May-2021.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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