Your Guide to European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

What is the EHIC?
The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC was introduced in 2004 across the European Union. It allows Irish residents to access health services in any EU country and in Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, if they become ill or injured while on a temporary stay in that country.

Can anyone get a European Health Insurance Card?
You can get a EHIC in Ireland if you are ordinarily resident in Ireland. This means you have been living here for a minimum of one year or that you intend to live here for a minimum of one year.

Is the EHIC free of charge?
Yes. There is no charge to apply for or renew an EHIC. The HSE accepts renewals and applications for EHIC cards at all HSE Local Health Offices, and on the HSE managed site -

What do I do if I become ill or injured in another member state?
To obtain healthcare with the card, go to the nearest public system doctor, public hospital, or other public treatment centre and present your card. Treatment in a private setting is not covered by the card. See the website for details of
services available in each EU State, or ask at your Local Health Office.

Do I need private insurance in addition to the Card?
Public healthcare systems vary from country to country. The Card does not cover the cost of repatriation and in addition, illness or an accident abroad may mean extra travel and accommodation costs. You may therefore wish to take out private insurance for your trip. You will find more about your entitlements in particular countries at your Local Health Office or on

How long will it take to get a Card?
You will receive your Card within 10 working days of receipt of your application.

What if I don't have time to get a Card before I travel?
You can get a Temporary Replacement Certificate, which gives you the same entitlement as the card, but for a shorter period, and can be issued by your local Health Office. One Temporary Replacement Certificate is issued per person.

Will I need to apply for a new Card each time I go abroad?
No. Your card will be valid for 4 to 5 years. Check that you and your family's cards are valid before you travel,
and if they have expired, it's easy to renew them online at or at your Local Health Office.

Do I need a card to get healthcare while on a visit to the UK?
No. You can get healthcare if needed during a temporary stay in the UK by giving proof of residency in Ireland. There is no need for a Card, although your Card will of course be sufficient to access such treatment.

How do I apply?
Applying for the card is very easy. Application forms are available from your Local Health Office or from our website, You can also call the HSE infoline: 1850 24 1850.