European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Find out how to use the European health card, or EHIC, to access medical resources when travelling outside of your EU country of residence…

European citizens and legal residents travelling within the European Economic Area, (the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland, for private or professional reasons are entitled to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which simplifies the procedure when receiving medical assistance during their stay in a member state.

The EHIC entitles the holder to the same treatment at the same cost as a national of that country. For example, if medical care is provided free of charge in the member state where treatment is required, the claimant will be entitled to free medical care on presentation of the card or an equivalent document.

Presentation of the EHIC guarantees reimbursement of the medical costs on the spot, or soon after returning home.

In the event of treatment being required present the card at the earliest opportunity. The card is only valid for state provided services, not private hospitals or treatments.

The card is available free of charge through the local health authority of the country of residence.

  • The EU have comprehensive, general information in English
  • The British NHS provides helpful information in English on what a visitor can expect in each of the EEA member countries. This is helpful for an English-speaking resident of France visiting another European country
  • For more information about EHIC from NHS

Note: Third-country nationals (from outside the EU/EEA) resident in the EU and holding an EHIC cannot use their EHIC in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Holders of an EHIC in Denmark will only be eligible for free treatment in a public hospital in the event of:

  • a sudden illness
  • an unexpected aggravation of a chronic condition
  • an accident
  • childbirth

The Card

The card is available free of charge through the local health authority of the country of residence.

  • Comprehensive, general information from the EU in English
  • The British NHS provides helpful information in English on what a visitor can expect in each of the EEA member countries. This is helpful for an English-speaking resident of Belgium visiting another European country

The only personal information on the EHIC is the card holder's full name, a personal identification number and date of birth. The EHIC does not contain medical data. The card contains the same information in all countries where it is issued.

The duration of validity varies from country to country - find out about this when making an application.

The EHIC in Belgium

The European Health Insurance Card (La carte européenne d'assurance maladie (CEAM)/ Europese ziekteverzekeringskaart) allows all legal residents of Belgium to benefit from emergency medical treatment and care when temporarily abroad.

Note: this is not independent travel insurance.

EU citizens receiving pensions from their home country

The responsibility of issuing the EHIC is with the state where a person is paying to or benefiting from the Social Security System. This affects people receiving pensions from their EU home country rather than their country of residency. A resident of Belgium, receiving pension in for example the UK, should apply for the EHIC card in UK.

Applying for an EHIC in Belgium

Application can be made at the local Sickness Funds Office (Mutualité/Ziekenfonds).

Belgian residents using an EHIC card when out of the country must make sure that their card is valid. It is valid for two years and each member of a family, including children under 16, must have their own card. Further information is available from the local social security office.

  • The ECC brochure "Healthcare in Europe" has more information (PDF)

Claiming in Belgium with a card issued elsewhere

A card cannot be used within Belgium unless it has been issued elsewhere in the EU. Reimbursements are handled by the Sickness Funds Offices (Mutualité/Ziekenfonds).

Doctors and dentists: To benefit from treatment it will be necessary to pay a fee. It is then possible to claim back 75 percent of the costs. To claim money back a receipt on the official form is necessary (attestation de soins donnés/Getuigschrift voor verstrekte hulp).

Prescriptions: Medication is paid for by the patient and is reimbursed at 75 percent, the prescription must be stamped and a receipt must be provided.

Hospital treatment: Patients will have to pay part of the costs.

EHIC Smartphone Application

The European Commission (Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) has developed a useful multi-language smartphone application which gives details of how to use the EHIC card in different countries within the EU. It summarises the treatments, costs, procedure for reimbursement and emergency numbers.

Further Information