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Apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) lets you get healthcare in another EU or European Economic Area (EEA) state for free, or at a reduced cost.

It covers you if you are on holiday, or on a short-term stay. 

Short-term stay is not defined in the legislation but it is generally accepted as for a period of less than 3 months. The exception to this is a student who may be considered a visitor on a short term stay up to a full academic year.

EHIC replaces the old E111 form. You need one for each member of your family. It's free and there's no charge to apply.

There are different ways to apply depending on:

  • if you live in Ireland
  • if you live in another European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) member state, or Switzerland

If you are living in Ireland

If you are an Irish citizen or an EU citizen living in Ireland you can apply for an EHIC:

  • in person at your local health office
  • by post
  • online - but only if you already have a medical card or drug payment scheme card

You must be living in Ireland and have an address here. You will need to show proof of this.

The card takes about 10 working days and will be posted to you.

Apply in person

You can apply for an EHIC in person at any local health office, except Dublin North West. The Dublin North West office only accepts applications by post.

Find your local health office here.

To apply, you’ll need to give your:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • Personal Public Service (PPS) number


You will need to show your passport or driving licence at the office.

You might be asked to show evidence of your PPS Number. This could be on a P60 or social services card.

You might also need to show proof that you live in Ireland, like a rent agreement or employment contract.

Apply by post

To apply by post you need to:

You’ll need to give your:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)

You might be asked to show evidence of your PPS number, such as on a P60 or social services card. Send photocopies of these, not the originals. 

You might also need to show proof that you’re an Irish resident, like a rent agreement or employment contract. Send photocopies of these, not the originals. 

If you have a medical card or a drug payment scheme card

If you have a medical or drug payment scheme card, you can apply for an EHIC online.

If you don't have a medical or drug payment scheme card, you can only apply in person at your local health office or by post.

If you lose your EHIC, you can’t apply for a replacement online. Apply at your local EHIC office instead. 

If you are applying as a family

Every family member needs an individual EHIC.

You can make an application for yourself, your partner and any dependent children under the age of 16.

You can do this in person or by post. If you have a medical or drug payment scheme card you can do it online.

If you already have an EHIC, you can do this online. You must enter your own details first and apply for any additional cards when prompted.

If you are under the age of 16, a parent or guardian will need to apply for you.

If you live in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland (not Ireland)

This applies to anyone who does not live in Ireland but lives in the:

If you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will be entitled to an Irish-issued EHIC if one of the following applies to you:

  • you receive a state pension from Ireland and have an Irish-issued E Form/S1 form (certificate of entitlement) registered in your country of residence
  • you are a worker posted to work in another EEA country or Switzerland by your Irish employer, or a frontier worker living in the EEA and working in Ireland
  • you are a family member of a posted worker or of someone working in Ireland and you are not covered in your own right by the EEA country you reside in

If you are not eligible for a Irish-issued EHIC, you should see if you are eligible for an EHIC in the country you are currently living in.

Apply by post if you live in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland (not Ireland)

To apply by post you must:

  • have an address in Europe (not Ireland) and be living there permanently
  • print out and fill in this application form

Post it to:

EU Regulations Office,
HSE,
North West Wing,
St. Joseph's Health Campus,
Mulgrave Street,
Limerick,
Ireland

If you are not eligible for a Irish-issued EHIC, you should see if you are eligible for an EHIC in the country you are currently living in.

How to use your EHIC abroad

The European Commission website explains how to use your EHIC abroad in each eligible country.

You don't need an EHIC if you're visiting the UK. Showing proof that you're an Irish resident (for example, your passport or driving licence) is enough.

EHIC does not replace travel insurance. It only covers necessary healthcare.

Patient co-payment

In some European countries you will have to make some payment towards the cost of the health care services you receive. This is known as a patient co-payment or patient share. Residents in these countries also have to make this payment when receiving care.

Refund of payment

You can't get a refund of any patient co-payment you make. But you may be entitled to a refund if you were charged because you did not present a valid EHIC or you were charged in error by the health service provider in that country.

You can apply for a refund to your HSE local health office. You should bring any receipts you have.

We will send an E126 form to the health authorities in the country where you had treatment. This is to establish:

  • if you availed of a public health service
  • the level of refund that is due to you

On return of the completed E126 form from the other country, we will be able to determine if a refund is due or not.

If you have had private health care while abroad, you won’t be due any refund.

How to renew your EHIC

You can renew your EHIC online if:

  • your address hasn’t changed
  • you have your old EHIC number and your PPS number

You must be living in Ireland to renew your EHIC. This also applies to EU citizens living in Ireland

If you don’t have your old EHIC or PPS number, or you’ve changed your address, contact your local EHIC office to renew.

Urgent cases

Before you travel

If you need an EHIC urgently, you can request a temporary replacement certificate in person at your local health office.

Temporary EHIC certificates are only valid if they are authorised by your local HSE office.

While you're away

If your card expires while you're abroad, your treating hospital will request a temporary EHIC on your behalf.

However, they may charge you if a temporary EHIC certificate cannot be arranged. This may be refunded when you return. You can apply for this through your local health office.

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Page last reviewed: 22/10/2018
Next review due: 22/10/2021