In this article we will describe the steps you need to follow in order to obtain a Spanish Health Card (SIP Card) in Valencia.
What is the SIP card?
A SIP card is a personal and non-transferable card that allows you to access the Spanish Healthcare System. Once you have your SIP card you will be entitled to receive the same health service benefits as Spanish nationals. You will be assigned a Health Center that will correspond to the municipality where you reside.
To obtain the SIP card you must be a resident in Spain as in order to apply for it you will need to provide certain documents that can only be obtained once you live in Spain.
Why do I need a SIP Card?
Access to healthcare is an essential part of life. The Spanish Healthcare system is ranked as the 7th most effective healthcare system in the world. Primary healthcare services are available within a 15-minute radius from where you live, in most of the country. Holders of a SIP card are entitled to free healthcare in the majority of healthcare settings. In the Valencian Community, the SIP health card must be presented whenever you request or receive healthcare services at public health centers and pharmacies.
Health centers and institutions may also request the display of an official identity document, national or foreign, that reliably proves that the cardholder is the cardholder. Being registered with the healthcare system will give you some peace of mind.
Who can get a SIP card?
In order to qualify for healthcare in Spain, you need to be eligible through one of the following ways:
- Pensioners resident in Spain, including those from a country that has a mutual agreement. This includes all countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). They must also have a permanent residence certificate.
- Employees and autónomos (self-employed) workers registered with social security and paying into the system.
- Resident prior to 16th April 2012. If you are EU citizen and obtained your residency card before the 16/04/2012 you are entitled to a SIP card.
If you are one of the cases above mentioned, you don’t need to pay a fee to get the Spanish SIP card.
However, if you are someone who:
- has been Spanish resident more than a year;
- has taken early retirement;
- has never worked in Spain;
- is currently not receiving a State pension; or
- doesn’t have a spouse who meets the SIP card requirements
You will need to pay a monthly fee to apply for the SIP health card. This scheme is known as ‘Convenio Especial.’
How do I apply for a SIP card and what documents do I need?
You can apply in person at a health center that is nearest to you. You can also apply online from the comfort of your home if you have digital certification.
Depending on your circumstances you will need to present the following documents:
- Pensioners and Spanish Residents: Passport, Residency, Padron and S1 Form
- Employed or self-employed: Passport, Residency or NIE Number, Padron and Vida Laboral (working certificate)
- Resident prior to 16 April 2012: Passport, Residency, Padron and certificate stating you are not eligible to receive free healthcare treatment in the UK.
How do I find the nearest Public Health Centre to me?
In order to find the nearest public health center you have a few options:
- You can search for the nearest “Centro de Salud” and use Google maps to locate it.
- You can visit a pharmacy in your area and ask an employee there to point you in the right direction.
- 3) You can e-mail the official website and ask them to help you locate the nearest health centre to you. You can email in English and they will respond.
How do I receive my SIP card after the application?
After applying for the SIP card, the card will be issued to you. This will depend on the autonomous region and health centre in which you applied. It may be sent to your home address, or you may have to collect it at your local health centre. In some cases, you’ll have to visit one of the larger health centres, where the card will be handed to you.
How do I make an appointment to visit a GP?
When you submit your application, you will be assigned a general practitioner (GP). The doctor and the health centre are indicated on the card on a sticker or a chip. You will be able to contact your GP on the website of the health authority. When you receive the card ensure your personal information is correct. If it isn’t you’ll have to re-apply.
Finally, here are some tips for when you receive you SIP card:
- Always carry it with you.
- Don’t fold or scratch it.
- Do not let it come into contact with magnets.
- Remember, you may need to show an additional form of ID when using your SIP card.