Healthcare for Foreigners in Portugal

Foreigners living in Portugal are entitled to healthcare under certain circumstances. Find out more...

Public hospital treatment is available for anyone entering Portugal regardless of where they are resident; payment is required. Some GP consultations and basic vaccinations are free. Foreigners (EU and non-EU) with a valid Portuguese residence permit are entitled to access the national health service at a discounted rate.

Foreigners with legal residency who are working and contributing to Social Security (Segurança Social) must obtain a Número Utente and be assigned a physician. Those not holding a residence permit can access the national health service by obtaining a document from their local Junta de Freguesia certifying that they have been resident in Portugal for at least 90 days. This document, along with a passport or allowable photo ID, IRS number, and proof of address should be taken to the local health centre in order to obtain the Número Utente. This entitles the holder to discounted health treatment.

Basic national health coverage includes all care except dentistry.

Once an individual begins working in Portugal and is registered with social security, they are automatically registered for healthcare coverage. Deductions for coverage are automatically taken from their pay and a healthcare card is issued by the local Ministry of Health. This healthcare card is called the card Cartão do Utente (service user card - formerly the Livrete de Assistência Médica). Without a healthcare card, foreigners are only entitled to free emergency treatment from the state healthcare system, with all other services charged at full price (sometimes on the spot).

European healthcare agreements

European Union citizens who have paid regular social security contributions can benefit from public health cover if in possession of a Form S1. The S1 form allows for registration for health care cover to a person living in one EU country and insured in another. It must be obtained from the country where the contributions were made and submitted to the Portuguese services. If state pension age is reached whilst living in Portugal and the pension is to be issued from another EU country, a Form S1 should be requested from the country of origin and submitted to the nearest social security office.

Those not eligible for coverage should expect to pay for any health care services provided, in which case private medical insurance should be obtained. Contact the Social Security Institute (Instituto da Solidariedade e da Segurança Social) for further information.

Private health insurance

Private insurance can be obtained to cover costs for glasses, contact lenses, general dentistry, and orthodontic treatments which are not covered under the Portuguese healthcare system.

Supplementary health insurance is mandatory by law for those applying for a Temporary Visa with no source of income and no coverage eligibility from another EU country.

Healthcare for visitors to Portugal

Visitors to Portugal from another EU country can receive health cover via the Form S1, S2, or the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) depending on the specific circumstances and purpose of the healthcare.

  • Form S2 provides cover for planned medical treatment for an EU resident of one country in another member country
  • EHIC entitles the holder to treatment in public hospitals including emergency dental treatment if temporarily visiting another EU country