Medical Care

Living in Europe | Medical care | Portugal

The Portuguese Constitution states that all citizens - including foreigners - have the right to receive global health care and for this reason, all existing health facilities should be made available on the exact extent of the needs of each and regardless of their conditions economic, social and cultural.


The National Health Service (SNS) in Portugal has a network of bodies and services which provide complete healthcare to the whole population, through which the State guarantees peoples' right to health.

The SNS is made up of all the public entities that provide healthcare - hospitals, local health units, health centres and family health units, or groups of health centres.

You need to have the User Card of the National Health Service to have access to the following health services:

- Health Care

- Booking medical examinations

- Get prescriptions and buy medicines 

How to register in the Portuguese National Health Service and get your SNS User Card

  • Where to apply: In the Health Center of your residence area.
  • Documentation: Residence Permit / residence visa and/or a work contract in Portugal. Alternatively, a residence certificate proving that you are living in Portugal for more than 90 days. 
  • Cost: Free   


The Health Line 24 : (+351) 808 24 24 24


The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

A free card, issued for 3 years, that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in Portugal) as people insured in that country.

Note that the EHIC:

           - is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property,

           - does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment,

           - does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country.


Pharmacies are open on weekdays between 9 am and 7pm (some close for lunch from 1 to 3 pm) and on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm. When open at night and/or on Sunday, pharmacies display an illuminated green cross outside. Otherwise, they have information posted on the entry indicating the nearest pharmacies that are open at night and/or on Sunday.

  • Find your Pharmacy
  • The Pharmacy "Saúde" Card
    • Benefits: accumulate points in all health and wellness products, and other products such non-prescribed medicines, pharmaceutical services (1€ = 1 point), exchange your points for selected products (depending on monthly promotions) or direct discounts on your bill.  
    • Get your "Saúde" Card


Private Health Care Systems

In addition to the National Health Services System, you can have a private Health Insurance, at your costs, which gives you discounts in selected private hospitaland clinics, doctors and exams.  The most popular are Advancecare, Médis, Multicare, Future Healthcare, etc...