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Healthcare cover when moving abroad

If you’re living in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you might be entitled to an S1. An S1 gives you the same healthcare cover as a resident of that country, with the UK remaining responsible for these costs.

Healthcare if you have an exportable benefit

You may be entitled to an S1 if you receive a UK State Pension or some other exportable benefits and either:

  • you live in an EU country or Switzerland
  • you live in Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein and you’re covered under the Withdrawal Agreement

An exportable benefit is a benefit you can claim while living outside the UK.

If you think you might be entitled and you live in Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, you can contact us to find out if you’re covered under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you receive a pension from the country that you live in now as well as your UK State Pension, you may not be able to get an S1. The country you live in may be responsible for your healthcare.

If you receive a UK State Pension and a pension from an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, we’ll check which country you paid contributions to for the longest. For example, if you live in Spain but have a state pension from the UK and France, we need to know how long you paid contributions to both countries. The country you paid contributions to for the longest is responsible for your healthcare.

Read more about claiming benefits if you live, move, or travel abroad on GOV.UK.

How to apply for an S1

You can contact us to apply for an S1.

Telephone: 0191 218 1999
Telephone from outside the UK: +44 191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (GMT)
Find out about call charges


You can apply for an S1 up to 90 days before you start to receive your UK State Pension or before you move to live in an EU country.

You can ask us to send the form to your UK address if you need it for your visa application.

For an S1 to be issued, you need to have an address in the EU country you're moving to. This can be a temporary address. Once you've moved to your permanent address, you'll need to contact us to let us know your new address. You also need to notify the relevant authority in the country you're living in. This prevents important confidential information being sent to the wrong address. 

Applying for an S1 in Switzerland

If you’re applying for an S1 in Switzerland, you'll need to meet extra nationality criteria to be eligible. You'll only be issued with an S1 in Switzerland if you're:

  • a UK national
  • a Swiss national
  • an EU citizen
  • a refugee
  • a stateless person
  • a family member or survivor of someone who has one of these nationalities or statuses

How to use an S1

When your S1 has been issued, you’ll need to register it with the relevant authority in your country of residence. You’ll often need to do this before you can register for healthcare or obtain a medical card.

If you have registered an S1 in an EU country, you'll be able to use your UK-issued UK EHIC or UK GHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EU countries. You'll not be able to use it in Switzerland.

Changes to who can get an S1

The rules have changed around S1 cover for people who claim the following exportable benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Carer's Allowance (CA)
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)

These benefits entitle you to an S1 for as long as you receive that benefit if you moved to an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland and applied for an S1 before 1 January 2021.{C}{C}{C}

If you already have an S1

If you already have an S1, you'll continue to be covered for as long as you're receiving one of the benefits listed.

If you have a time-limited S1, you can apply to renew it if you still receive one of the benefits listed.

More information about accessing NHS services can be found on the visiting or moving to England pages on the NHS website.

If you do not have an S1

You can no longer get an S1 form based on receiving one of the exportable benefits listed.

It may still be possible to receive an S1 if you export your Maternity Allowance or certain bereavement benefits. 

Read more about exporting benefits on GOV.UK.

Posted workers

If you're a worker temporarily posted by a UK company to an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you're posted to.

You'll need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1. S1s show that your state healthcare is paid for by the UK if you live in an EU country or Switzerland.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):