April 29, 2021 | Health,

How Can I Renew My European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

If you travel in the EU, you probably have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in your wallet. The good news is that, as an Irish resident, you can continue to use your card for travel in any of the 27 EU countries plus Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.

An EHIC card won’t replace your comprehensive travel and health insurance policy, but it’s useful to have if you find yourself needing medical help in an emergency. Read on to find out more about the EHIC card and how to renew yours.


What is an EHIC card?

The EHIC card is 100% free and gives you access to healthcare across Europe. You’ll be covered for medically necessary treatment, including existing or chronic illness or pregnancy and childbirth.


How does the EHIC work?

As members of the EU, Ireland has a reciprocal health agreement that gives you access to healthcare across Europe.

Suppose you become ill or have an accident while on holiday. In that case, you’re entitled to healthcare just like the residents of the country you’re visiting. And you’ll pay what they pay, which could mean your treatment is entirely free. In other countries, you might have to pay for your care up front and then claim the money back.

Remember, your EHIC card doesn’t guarantee a free service. What costs you nothing in Ireland, might not be free in another country.


What’s covered by my EHIC card?

Your EHIC card will cover you in the following situations:

  • Emergency treatment
  • Medical treatment if you’re in an accident
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Chronic and pre-existing conditions

But the EHIC won’t cover your costs:

  • If you’re travelling so that you can receive healthcare (health tourism)
  • If you need services like an air ambulance or a flight home to Ireland
  • If you need permanent and ongoing healthcare


emergency sign

Where can I use my EHIC?

The good news about your EHIC card is that you can use it in all 27 countries that make up the EU, plus the EEA countries and Switzerland.

Ireland and the UK have a separate agreement under the Common Travel Area to cover healthcare costs.

If you’re travelling to Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your EHIC won’t work. It could be worth thinking about getting health insurance so you’re fully covered if anything does happen.


Do I need an EHIC card?

Over 40% of health insurance payers in the EU have an EHIC card. If you already have Irish health insurance, you should usually apply for a card if:

You’re going on holiday in the EU, EEA or Switzerland
You’ll be spending a short stay of up to three months in one or more of those countries
You’ll be studying in a country covered by the EHIC


Who can apply for an EHIC card?

There are different ways of getting your card depending on whether:

  • You’re an Irish citizen living in Ireland
  • You’re an Irish pensioner
  • You’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland and living in Ireland

You can apply for the EHIC for yourself, your partner and any dependent children under 16. Every family member has their own card so you’ll need to make each application separately.

If you’re Irish but you’re living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you could still be eligible for an Irish EHIC card if:

  • You receive an Irish state pension and you’ve registered in your host country with an S1 health certificate
  • You’re working abroad for a company based in Ireland
  • You’re a family member of someone working abroad for a company base in Ireland

If you can’t get an Irish EHIC, you might be eligible for a card through your country of residence.


How to apply for an EHIC card

It’s easy to apply for your EHIC in Ireland, so put it top of your to-do list next time you’re travelling to Europe. You should get your card in 10 working days after applying. That means you’ll have time to compare travel and health insurance options before you go to make sure you’re fully covered.

You can apply in person, by post and online, whichever method is more convenient for you. Don’t forget to have your medical card or Drug payment Scheme (DPS) card with you, plus proof of your address in Ireland.


If you want to apply in person:

You can visit your local health office in person. There are a few exceptions:
West Wicklow, Kildare and Dublin South will only accept applications by post or online
Dublin North West only accepts applications by post

Make sure you have the following information with you when you apply:


  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Personal Public Service (PPS) number on a P60 or social services card
  • Proof of identity, e.g. your passport or driving licence
  • Proof of address, e.g. employment contract or rent agreement

If you want to apply by post:

To apply by post, you’ll need to download the EHIC form larratais as Gaeilge or the EHIC application form in English.

Just print the form out, fill it in, then post it to your local health office.

If you need to show proof of address and your PPS number, send photocopies of your documents, not the originals.


If you want to apply online:

You’ll need a medical or DPS card to apply for your EHIC online. If you don’t have a card, you’ll need to apply in person or by post.


If you want to apply as a family

Although every family member needs their own EHIC card, you can apply online, by post or in person for your partner and any dependent children under 16. If you’re applying online, enter your own details, then apply for another card when prompted.


If you need to apply from the EU, EEA or Switzerland

You can choose to apply online or print out the application form and apply by post to the following address:

EU Regulations Office,
North West Wing,
St. Joseph’s Health Campus,
Mulgrave Street,

Is it free to renew my EHIC card?

It’s free to apply for your EHIC card, and it’s also free to renew. That’s what makes the card so popular for European travellers. Don’t get fooled by websites that try to charge you to apply for a card or a renewal.


When do I need to renew my EHIC card?

Your card won’t renew automatically, so make sure you check the date before you travel.

If you need a new EHIC urgently, you’ll need to apply in person at your local HSE office. They’ll supply you with a temporary certificate until you can get a new card issued.

If you get caught out and need emergency treatment while you’re away, the doctor or hospital will arrange a temporary replacement for you.


How do I renew my EHIC card?

  • If you need to renew your EHIC card and your details haven’t changed, renew online by entering your PSS number and existing EHIC number
  • If you need to renew your EHIC card renew and your details have changed, or you don’t have your PSS or old EHIC card: visit your local EHIC office to renew

Get health insurance quotes with Campion

An EHIC should be an essential part of your travel kit, but it’s still important that you take out your own travel and health insurance for complete peace of mind. At Campion, we’ll help you find the best insurance for you and your family, so take advantage of our fast price comparisons and book a callback today.


Request a callback 

Get in Touch

  • First Name*

  • Email *

  • Phone Number *

  • County

  • Your message

Important Assumptions

For the purpose of determining the term over which pension contributions are made, we have assumed your birthday was exactly six months ago.

If your target retirement age is lower than the age at which the Social Welfare pension commences (age 68 if you are born on/after 01/01/1961, age 67 if born before this date but on/after 01/01/1955 and age 66 if born before 01/01/1955) the calculations allow for funding for this gap, in addition to the cost of the annuity.

You are entitled to a full Social Welfare pension of €248.30 per week as at March 2019 which is assumed to increase by 2.5% per year.

You are saving for the difference between the Social Welfare pension and your target monthly income in retirement.

We have allowed for inflation of your target monthly income of 2.5% per annum between now and your retirement date.

Any other private pension provision you may have in place has not been taken into account.

Your monthly pension contribution increases by 2.5% each year up until your retirement age and is invested in a pension plan with an annual management charge of 1% and a 5% charge on each contribution, in line with the Standard PRSA fees and charges maximum limit.

A Gross Investment Return of 4.2% per annum on your savings. This is not a forecast because the value of your investment may grow at a faster or slower rate than assumed and the value of your investment may be expected to fall from time to time as well as rise.

On retirement you purchase an annuity which escalates at 1.5% each year, has a 5-year guarantee and is payable monthly in advance. The annuity rate assumes a post retirement interest rate of 2% per annum and no spouse’s pension. The actual annuity rate will depend on the selection of dependant’s pension, guaranteed period and the escalation rate, as well as interest rates prevailing when the annuity is purchased.


Leave your number here and we will give you a call back.

  • My Insurance Query relates to

    Farm dwelling / ContentsPublic LiabilityEmployers LiabilityPersonal AccidentLivestockOutbuildingsTractors & MachineryPrivate Car/Jeep