Medical Insurance Requirements for Foreigners in Spain


As you may already know, the majority of immigration procedures in Spain require the acquisition of health insurance here we cover medical insurance requirements for foreigners in Spain. However, with numerous options available, a multitude of offers from hundreds of companies at different prices, choosing the right insurance becomes a challenging task. Here we cover the requirements for medical Insurance Requirements for foreigners in Spain

In this article, we will thoroughly examine all the important considerations when selecting medical insurance as a foreigner in Spain. We will explore everything from how the Spanish healthcare system operates to the specifics of various private insurance options.

We will delve into the requirements that your insurance contract must fulfill for it to be valid during the processing of your application. Additionally, we will review the different visas and permits that necessitate medical insurance coverage, and much more. This is a vital aspect of your visa application, so be sure to pay close attention to the following information!

In this post we cover the following:(click any section to see its content)

What is medical insurance?

Medical insurance is essentially a contract in which the insurer covers all the healthcare expenses incurred by the insured over the course of a year. In return, the insured pays a monthly premium.

Spain is widely known for having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, offering its services free of charge. However, unless you are a Spanish citizen or a resident who is either self-employed or employed by a Spanish company, you cannot avail yourself of this free healthcare.

Consequently, many immigration procedures require foreign nationals who start living in the country to obtain private medical insurance. This is where all the questions arise.

Do I need medical insurance to live in Spain?

It depends. The answer hinges on the length of time you plan to spend in the country and your country of origin.

In this regard, the following distinction can be made:
If you will be in Spain for only 3 months, you will only need travel insurance. This is particularly important because the absence of travel insurance may result in the denial of entry into the country.

However, this rule applies only to non-EU citizens, as EU residents are entitled to free healthcare in Spain for the first 3 months of their stay. They only need to obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

On the other hand, if your stay exceeds 90 days, regardless of whether you are from the EU or not, you will need to have a private medical insurance contract. Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, the answer to whether you need medical insurance to live in Spain is yes.

How much does health insurance cost?

The prices are not as high compared to other Western countries. Generally, health insurance that meets residency requirements will cost less than 100 euros per month.

If you purchase a family package that covers multiple individuals, the individual prices will be significantly reduced.

The cost will vary depending on the insurance company and, most importantly, the age of the insured.

However, focusing solely on the price may not be the best approach.

As we will see shortly, there are specific requirements that your insurance contract must meet for your residency application to be valid. Often, the cheapest option does not meet these minimum criteria. Therefore, our advice is to opt for a comprehensive insurance plan.

If you need assistance in finding the best option, our team will analyze your personal situation and provide you with the most suitable solution.

Types of medical insurance:

Essentially, there are three different types of health insurance in Spain:
Firstly, there is travel insurance or tourist insurance, also known as insurance for non-resident foreigners. Secondly, there is health insurance for students in Spain. Lastly, there are private health insurance plans required for foreign residents in the country.

Let’s analyze each of them carefully to understand the main differences.

Travel insurance for tourists:

If you enter Spain as a tourist, staying for less than 90 days in the country, you will be required to have travel insurance.

If your country of origin requires a tourist visa to enter Spanish territory, then you must fully comply with this insurance requirement.

This insurance policy must be valid throughout the European Union and cover hospitalization in case of emergencies or repatriation in the event of medical necessity or death. The coverage must amount to a minimum of 30,000 euros.

On the other hand, tourists who are not required to obtain a tourist visa to enter Spain may wonder if they need travel insurance.

Although the law does not explicitly mandate it, many individuals have been denied entry because they lacked this type of insurance, even if they did not require a visa. Therefore, our advice is to acquire travel insurance to legally protect yourself against a possible entry ban.

Medical insurance for students:

As you may already know, to obtain a student visa, you need to have a specific medical insurance contract.

Whether public or private, the coverage must be equivalent to that provided by the Spanish national health system and valid nationwide. The insurance company you choose must be certified to operate in Spanish territory.

What happens if you want to renew your student visa to extend your stay in Spain? Your medical insurance must remain valid throughout the duration of the extension.

Medical insurance for immigration procedures:

Throughout our blog articles, we have covered the application process for various visas and permits in Spain. In each case, we have encountered specific requirements that non-EU citizens must meet to obtain residency, and medical insurance has always been a crucial element.

Not only do you need to purchase insurance, but you also need to ensure that it meets certain criteria. This will depend largely on the type of residency permit you are trying to obtain.

What conditions must your health insurance meet to obtain a residency permit?

Keep in mind that many visa rejections occur solely because the medical insurance was not valid. Therefore, what should you consider when selecting insurance?

First and foremost, your medical insurance should be private and comparable to what the Spanish public healthcare system offers. You can find the complete list of requirements in an official bulletin of the Spanish state.

Obviously, if you already benefit from public healthcare in Spain, there is no need to purchase private insurance for your immigration procedure. However, if you do need it, you will find various options available.

Many companies offer different plans, but not all of them will be valid to match the characteristics of public healthcare. Tourist or travel insurance is not valid for obtaining your residency permit.

So what are the basic characteristics required by the immigration office?

No co-payments: This means you do not have to pay each time you visit a doctor or a hospital. Your medical insurance should cover all types of visits, regardless of their nature.

No waiting periods: This implies that there should be no period during which you are not covered for certain services.

Comprehensive coverage: You should opt for a complete package that covers hospitalizations and any necessary medical transfers.

Maximum coverage: It should be valid throughout Spanish territory, covering all types of illnesses or ailments.

Valid for the entire duration of your stay in the country: It is crucial to understand that your health insurance is linked to your residence card. Therefore, the contract with the insurance company must be valid for the entire duration of your permit.

If you need to renew your card, you will also need to renew your health insurance subscription for the extended period. For example, when renewing your investor visa, the Large Companies Unit will verify that the insurance contract was valid during the past year and will continue to be valid for the next year.

Which residency permits or visas require private health insurance during the application process?

The vast majority of them. However, here is a general list that will give you an idea:
Non-lucrative residence visa, Investor visa or golden visa, Self-Employed residence visa, Long-term residency in the EU Registration certificate for EU citizens staying in Spain for more than 90.

Please see-here our video-blog with options and legal-advice to obtain residency in Spain.

Do you need assistance to obtain residency in Spain?

We will prepare with you the required documentation, complete the application forms, arrange the required appointments and legally advise.

Permanent residency is obtained after 5 years of Spanish Residency through Self-Employed Residency, Digital-Nomad, Non-Lucrative Residency or Golden-Visa. This followed by 5 years as a permanent resident in Spain and means you can then obtain Spanish Citizenship with a Spanish Passport.

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