Healthcare in Portugal > Portugal Healthcare & Health Insurance FAQ
FAQ about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Portugal
Frequently Asked Questions
Call the national emergency response for an ambulance at 112 for life-threatening emergencies.
Servico Nacional de Saude
is the National Health Service in Portugal. "Yes, to access the Portuguese Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS), Portugal's public health system, you must obtain a Numero do Utente from an sns clinic to use the system. If you are not a citizen of PT (or the EU) you will never have full, free or low-cost access to the sns. You will always need supplemental, private coverage. This has NOTHING to do with the Social Security System in Portugal (Segurança Social or caixa), which does cover health benefits but is a system exclusive to persons who legally work in Portugal," explained one expat in Portugal
Portugal has a mix of public and private health services. Additionally, certain trades and occupations have plans that they will contribute to automatically through their payroll.
Yes. When you meet with SEF, Portugal's agency in charge of immigration, one of the requirements is to prove that you have private health insurance.
In How to Get Your First Residence Permit in Portugal, Susan Stults Korthase notes: "A Document proving that the applicant is registered with the Social Security. NOTE: The phrase 'social security' refers to the national health plan. As a Type 1/D Visa holder, you must have private health insurance. You need to provide your proof of private health insurance and proof of payment. This is usually a one-page document with your name, dates the policy is effective and policy coverage amounts."
You must be a resident of Portugal in order to access the public health care system. Expats report that you will only have limited access to the public system as a temporary or permanent resident. Only Portuguese citizens gain full access to the public health care system in Portugal.
If you are a citizen of a European Union nation and you want to reside in Portugal long-term, you'll need to get residency and National Health Service User Card for foreign citizens.
If you are only staying temporarily, you can use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
All citizens of Portugal and legally recognized foreign residents are eligible to access the National Health Service (SNS). Access to public health care is residency based and requires social security payments unless you are retired. Citizens have access to greater levels of care than foreign residents.
The Cartao de Utente do Servico Nacional de Saude para cidadao estrangeir is the National Health Service User Card for foreign citizens.
Read our article with 6 Important Tips about Health Insurance for Expats in Portugal
Here is U.S. State Department Portugal Country Information for U.S. Citizens and NHS Portugal Information for U.K. Citizens
Healthcare in Portugal
Expats in Portugal with a residency visa can participate in the national health care system. Here's what you need to know about the SNS and the combination of public and private services you'll need to manage your health in Portugal.
6 Important Tips about Health Insurance for Expats in Portugal
Expats living in Portugal discuss health insurance options for expats in Portugal, the health letter needed for a residency application, pre-existing conditions, the cost of health insurance in Portugal and more.
Expats living in Portugal discuss health insurance options for expats in Portugal, the health letter needed for a residency application, pre-existing conditions, the cost of health insurance in Portug...
Portugal Healthcare FAQ
Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about healthcare and health insurance for expats in Portugal.
Answer Questions about Healthcare in Portugal
Help others moving to Portugal by answering a set of questions about health insurance, public healthcare in Portugal, prescription medicine, quality of medical care and emergency services.
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