There are two main healthcare requirements for the Non-Lucrative Visa. Firstly you must be free from any of the diseases listed under the International Health Regulations 2005, and secondly you need to have unrestricted access to healthcare in Spain.
Doctors Letter or Medical Certificate for a Non-Lucrative Visa Application
The first requirement is satisfied by obtaining a Doctors letter or medical certificate. The Doctors letter or medical certificate can be provided by your own GP, or a private Doctor either in the UK or Spain. The letter or certificate has to be signed by the issuing doctor, have their medical practice stamp, and their registration number. In the UK this is known as a GMC (General Medical Council) number.
The Convenio Especial is Social Security scheme which allows individuals who don’t otherwise qualify Spanish state healthcare, to make voluntary social security payments to access the system.
You can apply to register in the Convenio Especial scheme in your region, if you have been resident in Spain for 12 months.
The Convenio Especial social security payment is €60 per month if you are under 65, and €157 for those over 65, and gives you full access to the Spanish state healthcare system. Pre-existing conditions are covered, however, general pharmaceutical prescriptions, ortho-prosthetics, dietary prescriptions and non-urgent medical transport are not.
What’s required to apply for Healthcare under the Convenio Especial?
You’ll need the following:
- Application form*
- NIE, residency certificate or TIE (some places will not accept NIE – only green residency certificate or TIE)
- Padron Certificate
- Proof of non-entitlement to healthcare provided by another country
*Note – each autonomous region has its’s own application form and process. Below is is a link to the form for the region of Andalucia:
Around 10% of GDP is spent on healthcare in Spain, and the country is ranked 6th in the EU for its doctor/patient ratio, with approximately 4 doctors per 1,000 people.
The public healthcare service, despite severe cuts as a consequence of the economic crisis of the last few years, still rated among the world’s best.
If you are a non-Spanish national living in Spain, you are entitled to state healthcare, if you are:
- Employed or self-employed and paying social security.
- In receipt of certain state benefits.
- Recently divorced or separated from a partner who pays social security.
- A child or pregnant.
- Under 26 and studying.
- In receipt of a UK or other EU state pension
In some regions like Andalucia, you can register for healthcare through the convenio especial, which allows you to pay a monthly contribution to access state system. An alternative to state healthcare in Spain, is to take out health insurance to get access to Private Healthcare.
The welfare system in Spain, provides protection to those people who fall within its scope.
¨The public authorities shall maintain a public social security system for all citizens, guaranteeing sufficient support and social benefits in situations of need, especially in the event of unemployment, and that the support and additional benefits shall be free – Article 41 Spanish Constitution of 1978¨
Those who fall within the range of the act include Spanish nationals who reside in Spain and non-Spanish citizens who are residing or are staying legally in Spain, provided that in both cases they are carrying out their activities on Spanish national territory. The welfare system covers employees, self-employed or sole proprietor businesses, members of associated work co-operatives, students and civil servants.
What does the Welfare System in Spain provide?
Social Security in Spain, as in the UK, is the means for gaining access to health care, unemployment payments, state pension and other benefits. In the UK your National Insurance Number is used to identify you for both tax and social security. In Spain however you have to get a separate Social Security number, and once you have this you can start paying into the system and accessing state health and welfare benefits.
Who has to pay Social Security in Spain?
Anyone living and working in Spain must register with the Social Security system and make these contributions in order to gain access to benefits. This may be through being employed by a company (so deducted at source from your salary), or by being self-employed (Autónomo) and making their own contributions into a state scheme specifically for the self-employed.
The overall rate for social security in Spain contributions is high in Spain compared to the UK, but the benefits are also more generous. For example, compared to the UK, the Spanish system rewards pensioners who’ve paid in more to a much greater extent. So if you make higher contributions over the years, on retirement you will gain a higher pension, unlike the UK, that has a flat rate.Of course if you are employed,the employer pays the majority of the cost.