The General Health Law of 1986 recognizes a right to health care services for all citizens / foreigners residing in Spain.

Heathcare in Spain

Spain has a public health system which provides free health care for those contributing to Spanish social security as well as for their dependants. It also caters for pensioners, people with local address registration and includes those from other EU Countries.

The country has an excellent system of private medicine that exists alongside the State system. Both operate so as to compliment each other.

You might be glad to know that there are many English-speaking doctors and specialists in the more touristically dense areas of Barcelona that can help you when moving to Barcelona!

The Catalan Health Service (CatSalut) is the public body responsible for providing public cover health services for the citizens of Catalonia. In order to use their services, you need to apply for a healthcare card, which in Spanish is called Tarjeta Sanitaria Individual.


Once you have registered at your nearest town hall, you can apply for the card at the primary healthcare center referred to as CAP.

Your public healthcare card will be sent to you by mail, usually within a few weeks. If you should become ill in the meanwhile, they should already have your details on their system, and an appointment can be arranged to see a physician. Keep in mind however, that you will be assigned your own personal doctor, who most likely will not speak English. Therefore you may wish to obtain private health insurance, which could give you access to some of the English-speaking doctors in the city. Another reason to look into private health insurance is that for some expats, it is needed in order to obtain the NIE

If you are interested in obtaining private health insurance, you can find more information here. 

If you need assistance with obtaining your public health card, contact us for assistance.