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The S1 form - Longer term health care and adequate insurance cover while living in Spain

Living in Spain and your health care entitlements – the S1 (Formerly E121)

To be eligible for health care entitlements whilst living in Spain you must first have been issued with the S1 (previously E121) form for you and any members of your family. If you are thinking of moving to Spain, contact the UK Pension Service in Newcastleto ask them about the S1 form.

Once registered with the Spanish authorities, the S1 gives you and your dependants the same medical cover as a Spanish national through Spain's state-run health scheme. The level of cover available to you may not be the same as you received in the UK so it's possible you may end up paying for certain types of treatment or other medical services.

Once you have the S1 in your possession and have filled it in, you must then register the form with the local Spanish authorities.

What you need to register the S1 form

According to the official UK in Spain Government web site, in order to register your S1 you’ll need to get the following (in the order below):

  • Certificate of Residence in Spain
    Certificado de Residencia* / N.I.E - Numero de Identificacion Extranjero – available from local National Police station
  • Local Resident Certificate
    Certificado de Empadronamiento – available from the Adjuntamiento

*Note about the Certificado de Residencia' from

We would be very interested to hear from anyone who has actually achieved 'Residencia' through their local Police station. Our experience in Malaga has been quite different and to us it appears that this is something the local Police office is not involved in nor has any wish to be. How you actually go about securing the Residencia yourself seems to be different according to whom you are talking with I.e.  Police Station, Bank Manager, Adjuntamiento etc. Each will tell you a different story about where to go.

Both the N.I.E and the Empadronomiento are quite easy to obtain. You can find out more about  N.I.E numbers in Spain here. The 'Residencia' in our experience is not (Maybe its different in other parts of Spain. If you are an Ex-Pat in Spain please tell us about your experience)

Interestingly the Government website says: 'Delays can occur with the issue of the 'Certficado de Residencia'(Certificate of Residency)'

Delays are virtually guaranteed and very much an accepted part of life and living in Spain. Its not a good idea to expect it to turn up within a short period of time. Spain is famous for its bureaucracy and the system is already over burdened in ex-pat hotspots like the Costa del Sol or the Costa Blanca.

In Andalucia the generally accepted route to securing the Residencia is to get a Gestoria to do it for you. Costs and fees vary with some claiming it can be done in a day. Be wary of such claims.

Contact us and share your experience of how you acquired your 'Residencia' in Spain.