EHIC stands for “European Health Insurance Card”. It provides health coverage to people across the European Union who are not in their home country but need medical attention. This prevents us from having to travel home if a medical emergency arises. 

Your typical EHIC user is a citizen of a country within the EU. However, even if you’re not an EU citizen, you may qualify for an EHIC. Here’s some key information related to eligibility and restrictions. 

How Non-EU Citizens Can Use the EHIC

So, if you’re not an EU citizen, how can the EHIC benefit you? It can be tricky, but there are some provisions in place.

Ultimately, it comes down to inquiring specifically about the country you’re in. In some EU countries, legal residents who qualify for social security can indeed get the EHIC, regardless of citizenship. That is how many people studying abroad or working in a country they are not native to obtain health services. 

That said, non-citizens won’t be able to use their EHIC absolutely everywhere. Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and Denmark can deny you coverage for services if you travel there. Furthermore, Croatian citizens are barred from using their EHIC in Switzerland. 

UK citizens following the Brexit debacle are wondering how it may pan out for them as well. For the current basics of your card, check out But know that the EHIC also covers the EEA (European Economic Area), not just the EU

EHIC Quick Facts

If you’re the new recipient of an EHIC, or non-citizen learning about the EHIC for the first time, here are few facts to bear in mind.

EHIC is not a comprehensive substitute for a private traveller’s insurance policy.  There are many costs, such as medical transportation, theft, and more that EHIC won’t cover.

While the EEA is included as a coverage area, there are still some places within the EEA where your EHIC isn’t valid. These include Monaco, Vatican City, and San Marino.

Your card will be good for five years but do not wait until the expiration date to begin the re-application process. It can take longer than the time period you have left.

If you lose your card while travelling throughout the EU/EEA, you can call and have a provisional certificate issued.

One EHIC card is good for one individual. No one else can use your card, so be sure to apply for a card for each member of your household.

Remember that what is covered by EHIC will vary from country to country. There is no universal list of services and treatments all EHIC holders have access to.

EHIC DOES cover pre-existing conditions. People with chronic or known health conditions are not denied coverage based on their medical history.

Are you working a hop, skip, and a jump away from your home country? Have you emigrated to the EU from another region, and are still in the process of procuring citizenship? None of this necessarily means you should be without health coverage. Determine your eligibility today, and let the EHIC help keep you in good shape.