18 Feb Applying for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) card is very easy
If you have discovered you need to apply for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), or at least you believe you may have to, you are probably wondering how complicated is the application process and how long will it generally take.
In actual fact, applying for an EHIC is actually quite easy, and takes hardly any time at all.
When do you need an EHIC? — Occasionally, there are misunderstandings when people believe they need an EHIC for medical care in their own EU or EEA country, or in Switzerland if they live there. In fact, the only time you need an EHIC is if you plan on leaving your country of residence to travel or on a business trip, as the EHIC is the card allowing you to get free healthcare while you are there.
You may also not even need a separate EHIC at all. Not if your EHIC information is already printed on the back of your medical E-card. If that is the case, all you need to do when leaving your country of residence is make sure you take your E-card with you. Then, if you do need medical care while you are away, along with your passport the E-card will be the only thing you need.
How to apply for an EHIC — There are several ways of applying for an EHIC in any country.
The first, and generally the most popular, is that people just go to their local health center and apply for an EHIC there. This can usually be done as a walk-in, the paperwork takes just a few minutes to complete and then your new E-card with your EHIC attached will be mailed to you.
If you are computer savvy, you can also apply for an EHIC online in most countries. This will either be in the form of an online application or an email. Both of these options usually only take a few minutes and, again, your EHIC will be mailed to you quickly.
Using an online EHIC service — In general, using an EHIC service is not usually recommended. This is because they charge a fee for an EHIC that is actually free, and some even promise they can get your EHIC processed more quickly when this is not true.
Having said that, though, these online services can be useful if you do not speak the language of the country you are currently living in, so would find navigating an online form difficult.
The fee most charge is also quite low, often under 25 euros, so you would not be expected to part with a large sum of money for their services.
The best thing to do is to consider all of the options for applying for an EHIC, and then decide which seems to be the easiest, the fastest and the most convenient. Whichever of the three you choose, you should receive your EHIC card in the mail a week to 10 days after applying for it.