Health Insurance for Foreigners in Spain

health insurance in Spain

As you already know, the vast majority of immigration procedures in Spain require contracting health insurance. But there are tens of options out there. Many offerings, tons of companies, different prices. Which one should you choose?

In this article we will analyze all the important considerations when choosing health insurance as a foreigner in Spain. From how the Spanish health care system works to the specifics of all the private options.

We will explore all the requirements your contract must have in order to be valid, go over the different visas and permits that require one, and much more.

Your health insurance is a really important part of your residence permit application, so make sure to pay attention to what comes next!

Health insurance is nothing more than a contract in which the insurer pays all the medical and health expenses the insured may have during one year. And it does so in exchange of a monthly fee.

It is widely spread that Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. And it offers those services for free.

Nevertheless, unless you are a Spanish national or self-employed or employed resident, you won’t be able to benefit from it.

That is why many immigration procedures require expats who will start living in the country to contract private health insurance.

And here is where all the questions arise.

Do I need medical insurance to live in Spain?

It depends. The answer depends on the amount of time you are going to spend in the country and your country of origin.

In that sense, we find the following distinction:

If you are going to spend just 3 months in the country, then you just need travel insurance. And this is really important, as it can be one of the reasons that can deny your entry to the country.

Nevertheless, this is only true for non-EU nationals, as EU residents are entitled to free health care in Spain for the first 3 months of their stay. They just need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

On the other hand, if you are staying for the long-run (over 90 days), then you’ll need to hire a private health insurance contract, no matter if you are from the EU or not.

So, with the aim to answer this question, in the vast majority of the cases yes, you’ll need medical insurance to live in Spain.

How much does expat health insurance cost?

Prices are not that high in comparison to other western countries. As a general rule, those that are valid for your residency will cost less than 100 € per month.

If you a purchased a bundled one together with your family, individual prices will be reduced drastically.

Prices will vary according to the company and specially to the age of the insured individual.

But focusing on price may not be the best alternative.

As we will see in a second, there are specific requirements your contract must meet for your residence permit application to be valid.

And, many times, the cheapest option does not do that. Hence, our advice is that you contract a complete one.

If you need help finding the best option, our team will analyze your personal situation and offer the best solution:

Types of health insurance contracts

There are, basically, three different types of medical insurances in the Spanish territory:

  • First of all we find the travel or tourist health insurance, also called health insurance for non-resident foreigners.
  • Then we find health insurance for students in Spain.
  • Finally, all the private health insurance contracts that are required for foreign residents in the country.

We will now analyze each of them carefully so you can understand the main differences.

Tourist health insurance

In those cases in which you enter Spain as a tourist, staying less than 90 days, you may be required to get a travel insurance contract.

If your country of origin requires you to get a tourist visa to enter Spain, then you 100% need to contract this type of insurance.

This insurance must be valid throughout the whole European Union.

Furthermore, it must to cover hospitalization in case of emergency or repatriation in case of medical need or decease.

This sums up to a minimum of 30.000€ of coverage.

On the other hand we find those tourists who are not required to possess a tourist visa to enter Spain. Should they hire a tourist insurance contract?

The law doesn’t explicitly require you to do so. Nevertheless, on many occasions foreigners are not enabled to enter because they lack this type of insurance.

So our advice would be to get one and legally protect yourself against a possible entry rejection.

Health insurance for students

As you may already know, obtaining your student visa requires having a specific health insurance contract.

Public or private, it must provide the same health coverage the national Spanish healthcare system provides; and be valid throughout the whole country.

That insurance company must be certified to operate in the Spanish territory.

And what happens if you wish to renew your student visa to extend your stay in Spain?

That your health insurance must still be valid for the time the extension lasts.

Health insurance for your residence permit

Throughout all the articles in this website we’ve covered the application procedure for the main visas and permits in Spain.

And whenever we encountered the specific requirements a non-EU citizen must meet in order to get the residency we stumbled upon health insurance contracts.

Indeed, that is a crucial requirement when it comes to getting your application accepted.

Not only will you need to hire one, but also you must make sure that it meets certain criteria.

And that will vastly depend on the type of residence permit you are trying to obtain.

Which conditions should my medical insurance contract meet in order to get residency Spain?

Bear in mind that many application rejections do happen because the health insurance was not appropriate.

So, what should you take into consideration when choosing one?

The first thing to consider is that your health insurance must be private and can be equated to the offerings of the Spanish public healthcare system. You can find those here.

Then, of course, if you already benefit from public healthcare in Spain, there’s no need to contract a private insurance for your immigration procedure.

Nevertheless, in case you actually need one, you will find different options.

Many companies and many offerings. But not all of them will be valid to match the features of the public one.

Tourist or travel insurances won’t work for your residency application.

Which are, then, the basic features the immigration office will require?

Lack of copayments

This basically means that you don’t have to pay every time you go to the doctor or hospital. Your health insurance must cover all those types of visits, no matter their nature.

No vesting periods

Meaning that it can’t have any period in which it lacks any of its features.

It must be complete

You need a complete package, covering hospitalizations or any kind of medical transportation.

With maximum coverage

It must be valid throughout the whole Spanish territory, covering any type of disease or illness.

Valid during your whole stay in the country

It is crucial to understand that your health insurance contract is tied to your residency card. In that sense, the contract with the insuring company must be valid throughout the whole validity of your permit.

In case you want to renew, you also need to renew your health insurance subscription for the amount of time your residency is extended.

For example, when it comes to renewing your investor visa, at the moment of accepting your rental application, the UGE will check that your insurance contract has been valid for the past year and will also be for the upcoming one.

health insurance in Spain

Which residence permits and visas require health insurance for its application?

The vast majority of them. Nevertheless, here’s a quick list that will give you a general idea.

If you are willing to apply for any of the following, start looking for a valid health insurance company:

Take into consideration that both the main applicant and its relatives, if included in a joint application, need to have this contract.

When do you NOT need private health insurance in Spain?

We have explored those situations in which it is required to get your contract, but when it is not required?

Basically when you are registered on the Spanish Social Security, something that happens when you are employed in any company or working as a freelancer os self-employed individual.

In those cases you will be already contributing on a monthly basis to the Social Security, hence can benefit from the Public Healthcare System in Spain.

Do illegal migrants have the right to benefit from basic healthcare help in Spain?

Yes. It is possible for illegal individuals without papers who are in Spain to have  basic healthcare in the Spanish territory.

They have this right for a period of 90 days. And without the need to show their healthcare neither their “padrón” (municipal registry), two of the documents that were asked before.

After the Sanitary Reform in 2012, undocumented migrants could only benefit from healthcare in case of emergency, like important illness or giving birth.

But now they have access for a 90 days to full services.

Get legal assistance with your insurance contract

We’ve covered so far everything you need to know when it comes to insurance contracts for immigration procedures in Spain

But if you still have doubts or need personalized assistance from our immigration lawyers, do not hesitate to contact us. 

Get in touch with our lawyers and let us guide you step by step:

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health insurance in Spain

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