What is EHIC

August 2021



ehic card on a white background

The EHIC is not a mandatory requirement, but it can be very useful + it can be obtained free of charge by any citizen of the European Union. EHIC certifies that the traveler is entitled to necessary or urgent medical assistance.

If a traveler does not have such a card, then the same rights are provided by the Latvian passport, but it will be more complicated to process documents in a medical institution only with a passport (without EHIC). In the article we will look at what an EHIC is, why it is worth settling and whether it replaces travel insurance.


What is an EHIC card

EHIC stands for European Health Insurance Card. It is a free plastic card that proves that the holder of this card is a socially insured person from the European Union, a European Economic Area country or Switzerland. The holder of this card is entitled to receive the same amount and quality of necessary or emergency medical care during a temporary stay in another EU, EEA country or Switzerland as the residents of that country.

EHIC can be obtained free of charge in person at the National Health Service office or at one of the NSS departments. It can also be received by post. All you need is an identity document and a completed application form. The EHIC card is valid for 3 years from the date of issue.


How to apply for EHIC remotely

instruction on how to get the ehic card remotely

Detailed information on the EHIC can be obtained on the website of the National Health Service.

You can apply for an EHIC remotely about yourself or your children by submitting a form electronically on the portal Latvija.lv


EHIC restrictions

As already mentioned, with the EHIC card (or, if they do not have it, with the Latvian passport), the traveler is entitled to the same emergency medical assistance as the citizens of a particular country. This is a good basic coverage and could theoretically suffice for short or short trips, but the EHIC card has its limitations.

The EHIC does not cover patient contributions and other medical or travel expenses incurred due to illness or injury. The EHIC also does not cover the costs of repatriating a traveler or a family member (transport back to the country of residence) in the event of serious illness or death.


In which countries does the EHIC operate

EHIC operates only in the countries of the European Union, the countries of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland. If you are crossing Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Gibraltar, Kosovo, Macedonia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine or the Vatican during your trip, the EHIC will not be suitable for guaranteeing the right to the same healthcare


What is the difference between EHIC and Travel Insurance

EHIC ensures that you receive assistance, but it does not reimburse you for the expenses you have to pay for this assistance. Such expenses would be covered by your travel insurance policy, but not by EHIC.

In essence EHIC and travel insurance are complementary to each other, as each performs its function but is unable to perform the other's duties independently. Perceive travel insurance as your financial support, but EHIC as a guarantor of proper healthcare.


Planning to go on a trip and looking for the most suitable travel insurance policy? See the section Compare Travel insurance.