How to use your Global Health Insurance Card in Spain


If you’re a student looking to study in Spain, getting hold of a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is essential. In this article, we take a look at what this must-have health card is, what it does and the exact steps you need to take to obtain one. 

What is a GHIC?

The GHIC is a new health insurance card that is designed to give medical cover to UK citizens while they’re abroad. It’s completely free and has replaced the previous health insurance card, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

What's the difference between GHIC and EHIC?

They are essentially the same thing, with a few minor differences. The GHIC was introduced after Brexit, replacing the original EHIC and, as such, covers UK citizens for healthcare in EU countries. However, unlike the EHIC, the GHIC doesn’t cover you in non-EU European countries including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

For those looking to live and study in Spain, it does the same thing. 

What does the GHIC cover in Spain?

The GHIC covers state healthcare, meaning you’ll be provided free or reduced-cost healthcare as if you were a Spanish citizen. However, the GHIC doesn’t cover private treatment.

Do you have to pay to see a doctor in Spain with the GHIC?

No. It basically acts as a temporary healthcare card. While you’re studying in Spain and have your GHIC, you have the same rights to free healthcare as a Spanish citizen. 

How do I use the GHIC?

All you need to do is show your GHIC when visiting any public hospital, clinic or pharmacy. You’ll receive medical care free of charge.

Again, remember that the GHIC only covers public healthcare, not private.

Do I need a GHIC to study in Spain?

Yes. If you’re a UK citizen and you’re planning to study in Spain for more than 90 days, having a GHIC is a requirement. This is because you must show proof of healthcare cover when you apply for a student visa.

How do I apply for a GHIC?

When you apply for a student GHIC, your card will be time limited to the length of your course. You can either apply online or download and fill in the application form. Aside from the application itself, you’ll also need to supply a letter from your place of study stating the following: 

You’ll also need a letter from your university or college confirming:

  • the address of where you're studying in the EU
  • details of the qualification you're studying for
  • course start and finish dates

If you’re applying to study at TEFL Iberia we’ll supply this for you directly, as well as helping through the rest of the application process. Once you have this letter, you'll need to send it to:

Overseas Healthcare Services

NHS Business Services Authority

Bridge House

152 Pilgrim Street

Newcastle upon Tyne


For more information on the application process and how the GHIC works, visit the official NHS GHIC webpage.

Check out all available TEFL Iberia courses and take your first steps towards studying, working and living in Spain!

Ready To Start Your Overseas Adventure?

Let's Go