Medical care in hospitals and health centres for European citizens in Portugal
As a European Union citizen, you have the right to receive the necessary medical care in healthcare facilities in Portugal.
Medical care is ensured where:
- you fall ill or have to be admitted to hospital in an emergency (unplanned treatment)
- a person suffering from an illness who already requires regular monitoring in their country of residence needs to receive care in a healthcare facility (planned treatment)
- someone travels to Portugal to receive specialised hospital treatment, e.g. to consult a specialist and/or have an operation (planned treatment).
This page provides information on the following:
In the event of a temporary stay – holidays, student travel or a stay which is not permanent residence – someone who needs unplanned treatment (if they fall ill or have to be taken to hospital in an emergency, for example) must present a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
You may go to any health centre or hospital in Portugal even if you do not have a European Health Insurance Card. In these circumstances you must apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) from the relevant body in your country of residence and present it to the healthcare facility before leaving Portugal. The Provisional Replacement Certificate is a document serving as and guaranteeing the same rights as the European Health Insurance Card, and it can be sent by email or fax.
If you do not receive the Provisional Replacement Certificate before leaving Portugal, you may have to pay for the medical care received in the healthcare facility and apply for reimbursement of the expense when you return to your country of residence.
For further information on unplanned medical care for European citizens in Portugal, consult the National Health Service website.
If you suffer from a disease that requires regular monitoring (oncology or respiratory illnesses, for example) and you are in Portugal on a temporary basis, you can receive the following medical care:
- renal dialysis
- oxygen therapy
- special asthma treatment
- echocardiography in the case of chronic autoimmune diseases
To receive this type of medical care you need a valid European Health Insurance Card to present to a healthcare facility when you receive the necessary medical care.
To receive this type of medical care you may have to pay user charges, with some exceptions where the charge is exempted. Check the information on the Directorate-General for Health website, on the ‘What services do I have to pay for?’ tab.
If you do not have the European Health Insurance Card, you must apply for the Provisional Replacement Certificate in your country of residence and hand it in to the healthcare facility before leaving Portugal. The Provisional Replacement Certificate is a document serving as and guaranteeing the same rights as the European Health Insurance Card, and it can be sent by email or fax.
For further information on planned treatment for European citizens in Portugal, consult the National Health Service website.
European Union citizens resident in Portugal – old-age pensioners, workers and their families – who need planned or unplanned treatment must apply for the certificate of entitlement to healthcare (document S1).
The certificate can be requested from the relevant institution of the Member State of origin and must be presented at the Centro Distrital de Segurança Social [District Social Security Centre] (CDSS) of the respective area of residence in Portugal.
After presenting the certificate in the District Social Security Centre, you will be given a National Health Service user number to be able to obtain care in healthcare facilities belonging to the National Health Service (hospitals or health centres).
European Union citizens can take advantage of hospital and specialised medical care in Portugal to consult a specialist and/or have an operation, in situations in which the necessary medical care may or may not be provided in their country of residence.
To receive this type of assistance in Portugal, authorisation granted by the responsible body in your country of residence (document S2) is required, in accordance with the procedures to be implemented between the Member States.
In the event of an emergency, please contact:
- Medical emergency – 112
Available 24 hours a day, every day.
112 is the single European emergency telephone number available throughout the European Union. Calls are free of charge.
- Health Line 24 - 808 24 24 24
For health queries, available 24 hours a day, every day. For administrative contact (non-clinical), available from 8am to 10pm, every day.
The 24 Hour Health Line provides prioritisation, advice and referral in case of illness. The cost of the call is the same as for a call to a landline.