S1 form Spain: How do I get one?

Zorica Lončar
28.05.21
3 minute read

If you’re a UK retiree moving to Spain, one of the most important things to look into is whether you’re eligible for state healthcare services there. If not, then you need to know about the S1 form. This is a certificate of entitlement to healthcare in Spain, paid for by the UK government.

This handy guide will cover everything you need to know about getting and registering the S1 form in Spain.

We’ll also touch on another way to save money on overseas healthcare costs. Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can get an international debit card for low-cost spending in the local currency, at the mid-market exchange rate.

This could come in really handy if you need to pay for medication or other upfront healthcare costs, especially if there’s a delay setting up your new Spanish bank account.

But first, let’s focus on the S1 form in Spain and how it’s useful for UK expats living there.

What is the S1 form?

The S1 form is a document declaring that you are entitled to state healthcare in a qualifying EU country (such as Spain) paid for by the UK government.¹

So, who is eligible to use an S1 form to cover the cost of doctors appointments, hospital treatment and prescriptions in Spain? Here are the requirements

  • You must be eligible to receive the UK state pension and have reached retirement age
  • You must be living in Spain - it must be your main country of residence
  • You can’t use the S1 form if you’re receiving a Spanish state pension (i.e. because you’ve worked in Spain and qualify for it).

The S1 form is useful for UK retirees across many EU countries, but particularly in Spain. This is because you usually need to be employed or self-employed to qualify for free state healthcare on the same basis as a Spanish citizen.

Either that, or you make voluntary contributions to the Spanish public health insurance scheme - ‘Convenio Especial’.

Only once you’ve been living in Spain for 5 years and get permanent resident status will you get entitlement to healthcare.¹

The only other option is to take out private health insurance to cover your medical costs.

How to get an S1 form in Spain - and what to do next

Here’s how to get and register an S1 form in Spain as a British expat¹:

  1. Check whether you’re eligible for the S1 form at the UK government website.
  2. Request an application form from the NHS Overseas Healthcare services - contact details are on the link above.
  3. Complete your S1 application form and register it at your local INSS (social security) office in Spain. You can also register it at the INSS online portal.
  4. You’ll receive a Spanish social security number by post - take this to your local healthcare centre and register.
  5. You should be given a medical card, to use whenever you have a doctor’s appointment or visit a hospital or pharmacy.

Need to cover other healthcare costs in Spain? Save money with Wise

To save money on Spanish or other overseas healthcare expenses, you can use Wise.

Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can get a linked debit card to use in 200+ countries. This automatically converts to EUR or the local currency at the real, mid-market exchange rate, whenever you spend. There aren’t any foreign transaction fees, only a tiny charge to convert the currency.

Join Wise and start saving today


So, that’s pretty much it - everything you need to know about the S1 form in Spain for UK retirees living there.

If you’re eligible, it’s absolutely worth looking into, as it could give you access to free healthcare in Spain throughout your retirement.


Sources used for this article:

  1. Gov.uk - healthcare in Spain

Sources checked on 13th 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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