Skip to main content

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 means no longer than 3 months.

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.

How to apply for an EHIC

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 apply in person at your local health office or by post.

To apply by post:

To apply, you’ll need to give your:

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

You will need to show your passport or driving licence at the office when you submit your application form.

You might be asked to show evidence of your PPSN (for example, on a P60 or social services card). You might also need to show proof that you’re an Irish resident, like a rent agreement or employment contract.

The card takes about 10 working days to arrive.

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

Families

Every family member requires an EHIC.

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

If you already have an EHIC, 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 Europe

If you live in another EEA country 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

You may apply online for the EHIC using the EHIC application form for Irish pensioners / insured persons resident in other EU/EEA member states.

To fill in the form you need your:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • Personal Public Services Number (PPSN)

You will also need all the above details of any dependents you’re applying for.

To apply by post:

Print out and fill in the application form for Irish pensioners / insured persons resident in other EU/EEA member states

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 PPSN

If you don’t have these numbers, 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 online or 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.

Page last reviewed: 23/10/2018
Next review due: 23/10/2021