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Healthcare in Portugal > Portugal Healthcare & Health Insurance FAQ

FAQ about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Portugal

Tomar, Portugal

Frequently Asked Questions

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What Should I do in a Medical Emergency in Portugal?

Call the national emergency response for an ambulance at 112 for life-threatening emergencies.

What is the SNS in Portugal?

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.

What Type of Healthcare Does Portugal Have?

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.

Do I Have to Have Health Insurance to Reside in Portugal?

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."

How do I Access the Public Health Care System in Portugal?

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.

What if I am a citizen of a European Union country?

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).

Does Portugal Have Universal Health Care?

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.

What is the Cartao de Utente do Servico Nacional de Saude?

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

Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Portugal from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
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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.

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 t...

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.

Expats Report about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Portugal

Read recent healthcare reports submitted for: Cascais, Algarve and Lisbon.

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.

Having a Baby AbroadHaving a Baby Abroad Report

Being pregnant and giving birth abroad can be a bit unnerving. If you've had a baby abroad, please take a few minutes to answer a few questions about your experiences. Your insight will help to prepare other expat parents-to-be -- and hopefully calm their nerves.

Read Reports from Other Parents about their Childbirth experiences abroad.

Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Portugal from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

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.

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 t...

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.

Expats Report about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Portugal

Read recent healthcare reports submitted for: Cascais, Algarve and Lisbon.

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.

Having a Baby AbroadHaving a Baby Abroad Report

Being pregnant and giving birth abroad can be a bit unnerving. If you've had a baby abroad, please take a few minutes to answer a few questions about your experiences. Your insight will help to prepare other expat parents-to-be -- and hopefully calm their nerves.

Read Reports from Other Parents about their Childbirth experiences abroad.

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