Pensioners in the EU/EEA and Switzerland

Do you receive a state old age pension, children’s pension, survivor’s pension or disability pension and have you moved to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland? On this page, you can read about your rights to reimbursement for healthcare expenses.

Elderly woman on bench with iPad

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Your rights in your country of residence

Here, you will find information about your rights to reimbursement for expenses for healthcare services in your country of residence.

Do you receive a state old age pension, children’s pension, survivor’s pension or disability pension from Norway and have you moved to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland? If so, you will normally be entitled to reimbursement for your expenses for healthcare services in your country of residence according to the rules that apply there.

You will normally be considered to be resident abroad if you stay there for more than twelve months. The same applies if you live abroad for a total of more than six months a year in two or more consecutive calendar years. If you are a pensioner who is considered to be resident in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you will no longer be a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.

The S1 certificate documents your rights in your country of residence. For more information about the S1 certificate, see step 4 of this guide.

Read more at nav.no about old age pensions and living abroad.

Are you an AFP pensioner and resident in another EU/EEA country? You will find information relevant to you in the article entitled ‘AFP pensioners in the EU/EEA and Switzerland’.

Example

Kåre is an old age pensioner and regularly stays in Norway, but he lives in Spain for more than six months every year. He is considered to be resident in Spain and is therefore entitled to have his healthcare expenses reimbursed there.

Health care expenses in The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom left the EU/EEA (Brexit) in 2020. This entailed changes in entitlement to have healthcare expenses covered. From 1 January 2024, a new social security agreement between the United Kingdom and Norway applies.

Read more about subsidies for health care in The United Kingdom​​.

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Your rights in relation to treatment in Norway

Here, you will find information about your rights to reimbursement for healthcare expenses in Norway.

Planned treatment

If you are resident in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland and wish to receive planned treatment in Norway, you must first pay for the treatment and then apply for reimbursement from Helfo. You will find the claim form in step 7.

Advance approval

Many countries require you to apply for advance approval in order for you to be able to reclaim your healthcare expenses in other EU/EEA countries. Helfo does not grant subsidies for treatment for which your country of residence requires advance approval.

Most EU/EEA countries require advance approval for many types of healthcare. The types of healthcare for which different countries require advance approval varies.

Helfo does not always have updated information about which countries require advance approval. You must therefore check with the national contact point in your country of residence to find out whether they require advance approval for the treatment you are planning to have. Here, you will find an overview of national contact points for healthcare in the EU/EEA (in Norwegian).

If your country of residence requires advance approval for the treatment you will receive, you will not be able to claim reimbursement from Helfo. In this case, you must apply to the National Insurance authorities in your country of residence to see whether you can claim reimbursement for your expenses.

Unplanned treatment

If you need essential healthcare during your stay in Norway, you can use the European Health Insurance Card – see the next step.

Example

Kåre wants to undergo planned treatment in Norway. He has checked that Spain does not require advance approval for this treatment. He must pay for the treatment first and then apply to Helfo for reimbursement.  

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Your rights when you are on holiday

If you are on holiday or temporarily staying in Switzerland or another EU/EEA country besides your country of residence, you will have the same rights as other tourists, including when you are temporarily staying in Norway.

You should bring your European Health Insurance Card with you. This health insurance card only covers healthcare that is necessary during your stay.

Read more about your rights on the page on tourists in the EU/EEA and Switzerland.

The European Health Insurance Card for those with an S1 certificate

If you have a European Health Insurance Card which was issued before you left Norway, you should not use this. This card will no longer be valid.

Once you have been granted an S1 certificate (see the next steps in this guide), you can apply for a new health insurance card from Helfo. This card has a yellow back.

You can use your health insurance card if you need healthcare while staying in Norway or other EU/EEA countries outside your country of residence.

In your country of residence, you should use your S1 certificate – not your European Health Insurance Card. This also applies when you are on holiday in your country of residence.

Example

Kåre made sure he applied for a new health insurance card after he left Norway and was granted an S1 certificate. He has received a new health insurance card with a yellow back, and he uses this when he is on holiday in Portugal and needs to see a doctor.  

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What is an S1 certificate?

An S1 certificate entitles anyone who emigrates from a Nordic country in order to move to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland to healthcare services in the public health system according to the rules of the country in which you live.

With an S1 certificate, you will be reimbursed for your healthcare expenses according to the rules that apply in the country you are moving to. 

When you have an S1 certificate, you must pay National Insurance contributions to Norway even if you no longer live in Norway. These contributions cover the cost of the healthcare services in the country in which you live. If you have any questions about National Insurance contributions, please contact NAV.

The S1 certificate is not used in the Nordic region

Within the Nordic region, it is not necessary to apply for an S1 certificate. This document is not used between the Nordic countries. If you receive a Norwegian state old age pension and are resident in another Nordic country, you will be entitled to healthcare coverage there even if you do not have an S1 certificate.

You should contact the National Insurance authorities in your country of residence for further information about your rights and the documentation you will need.

Example

With his S1 certificate, Kåre is entitled to reimbursement for his healthcare expenses according to the rules that apply in Spain.

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Who can get an S1 certificate?

You may be entitled to an S1 certificate if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You receive a state old age pension, children’s pension, survivor’s pension or disability pension from Norway.
  • You are a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland or have stateless or refugee status.
  • You live in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland.

You can also get an S1 certificate if you receive a state pension or disability benefit from Norway and are resident in the UK. This is independent of citizenship. Read more on the page entitled ‘Right to healthcare in the UK’.

Do you support any family members?

If you have family members in your country of residence, they will need to contact the National Insurance authorities there to find out more about their rights. If the National Insurance authorities there believe that you are providing for your family members, they will request an S072 entitlement document from Helfo. The S072 entitlement document corresponds to the S1 certificate.

Example

Kåre is entitled to an S1 certificate from Norway because he receives an old age pension from Norway, he has Norwegian citizenship, and he lives in another EU/EEA country.

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Apply for an S1 certificate

You can apply to Helfo for an S1 certificate here.

You can apply for an S1 certificate using the digital form in Altinn:

Log in to Helfo’s digital form

Apply for an S1 certificate (altinn.no)

To log in to Altinn, you will need an electronic ID. Read about how to obtain an electronic ID (norge.no).

Do you also receive a pension from countries other than Norway?

If you have applied for or are receiving a pension from another EU/EEA country or Switzerland in addition to a pension from Norway, you must explain this on the application form. If necessary, Helfo will contact the country in question to clarify whether an S1 certificate should be issued by Norway (Helfo) or the other country.

If you, as a pensioner, also receive a pension from the country you are moving to, you must first contact the National Insurance authorities there to find out your healthcare rights before contacting Helfo.

Paper form

If you are unable to use our digital forms, you can use a paper form instead. Fill in and send the application to Helfo, PO Box 2415, 3104 Tønsberg:

Alternative to an S1 certificate

Instead of applying for an S1 certificate from Norway, you can contact the National Insurance authorities in your country of residence and ask them to apply for an S072 entitlement document for you. An S072 entitlement document corresponds to the S1 certificate.

Example

Kåre decided to submit an application for an S1 certificate online via Altinn.

Contact Guidance Helsenorge

Contact Guidance Helsenorge if you are not sure whether you are entitled to a European Health Insurance Card or coverage for healthcare services abroad:

  • Telephone: +47 23 32 70 00
  • Fax: +47 33 34 73 73
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Apply to Helfo for reimbursement

You can apply to Helfo for reimbursement of your expenses for healthcare services that you received in Norway.

If you have incurred healthcare expenses in Norway (see step 2), you can apply to Helfo for reimbursement using this digital form:

Log in to Helfo's digital form and apply for a refund of expenses (only in Norwegian)

 

Deadline for submitting an application

Forms and documentation must be submitted to Helfo within six months from the date of treatment. If you did not pay for the treatment on the spot, but received an invoice afterwards, we will determine the deadline from the date on the invoice instead of the date of treatment. In this context, ‘invoice’ means the first payment request/first demand for payment sent by the treatment provider. 

Paper form

If you are unable to use our digital form, you can use the paper form instead. Fill in the following form and send it to Helfo, Postboks 2415, 3104 Tønsberg:

Example

Kåre has received planned treatment in Norway. He has paid for the treatment and applies to Helfo for reimbursement by submitting the Altinn form before six months have passed from the invoice date.

Contact Guidance Helsenorge

Contact Guidance Helsenorge if you are not sure whether you are entitled to a European Health Insurance Card or coverage for healthcare services abroad:

  • Telephone: +47 23 32 70 00
  • Fax: +47 33 34 73 73
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Register an S1 certificate

When you arrive in your new country of residence, you must register your S1 certificate with the relevant National Insurance authority.

You must find out which National Insurance authority you should contact. National insurance systems are organised in different ways in different countries.

Unregistered certificates do not afford any rights.

The S1 certificate is issued in Norwegian. The document is standard in all EU/EEA countries and Switzerland, and it is not necessary to translate the document.

Example

Kåre found out the relevant National Insurance authority in Spain by asking some friends who already lived there.

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Power of attorney in connection with enquiries to Helfo

If you contact Helfo on behalf of anyone else, you must have power of attorney for them.

Parents/guardians must also have power of attorney from any children aged 18 or over. In the case of health information, you must have power of attorney from any children aged 16 or over. This is because the age of majority under health law is 16.

Complete the power of attorney form and send it to Helfo as an attachment to a digital form, or send it by post to Helfo, PO Box 2415, 3104 Tønsberg. Remember to enclose a copy of valid identification for the person granting power of attorney.

Content provided by Helfo

Helfo. Pensioners in the EU/EEA and Switzerland. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Wednesday, April 17, 2024 [retrieved Monday, May 20, 2024]. Available from: https://www.helsenorge.no/en/health-rights-living-abroad/pensioners-in-the-eu-eea-and-switzerland/

Last updated Wednesday, April 17, 2024