Pensioners in the EU/EEA and Switzerland

This page explains your health rights as a pensioner that have moved to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland.

Elderly woman on bench with iPad

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Your rights

If you are a pensioner who has moved to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you will normally be entitled to healthcare in your country of residence.

If you intend to stay abroad for at least twelve months, you will be considered to be resident abroad under the National Insurance Act. The same will apply if you are abroad for a total of more than six months in the year for two or more consecutive calendar years.

Find out more on the NAV website about when, as a disability pensioner or an old-age pensioner, you are considered to be resident abroad

If you are a disability pensioner or an old-age pensioner and are on holiday/staying temporarily in Switzerland or an EU/EEA country other than your country of residence, including in Norway, you have the same rights as other tourists. Find out about your rights on the pages concerning tourists in the EU/EEA.

When you move to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you must also

  • notify NAV
  • notify the National Registry
  • contact the Norwegian Tax Administration about the rules for tax liability in Norway

Different rules apply to disability pensioners, old-age pensioners and AFP pensioners. Read more about your right to healthcare in your country of residence in steps 2 and 3.

If you are a disability pensioner or an old-age pensioner and need healthcare during your stay in Norway, you can use your European Health Insurance Card. The health insurance card only covers healthcare that is needed during your stay.

If you wish to receive planned treatment in Norway, you must pay the cost yourself and then apply for reimbursement of your expenses from Helfo. Helfo does not grant reimbursement for treatment that your country of residence requires prior authorisation to cover. You must check with your country of residence if they require prior authorisation for the treatment you are planning for. If so, you must deal with your country of residence in order to apply for reimbursement of your expenses.

Read more about the right to health care in Norway for AFP pensioners in step 3.

Example

Kåre is an old-age pensioner who has moved to Spain. He regularly returns to Norway, but he spends more than six months in Spain every year. Kåre finds out that if he wants planned treatment in Norway, he must pay the cost himself and then apply for reimbursement of his expenses from Helfo.

Brexit

The United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union. From January 1. 2021 only some groups of people will have the right to be reimbursed for health care expenses .

Read more about the consequences of Brexit (in Norwegian)​​.

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State pension or disability benefit

If you are receiving a state old age pension, children’s pension, survivor’s pension or disability benefit and intend to move to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you can apply to Helfo for an S1 certificate (formerly form E121).

An S1 certificate will entitle you to receive healthcare services from the public health service under the rules applicable in the country to which you are moving. You will have your medical expenses covered in the same way as citizens of the country in which you are resident. The same may apply to family members you provide for in your country of residence. They will need to contact the National Insurance authorities there in order to find out more about their rights.

If you have an S1 certificate, you must be aware that you will still have to pay National Insurance contributions to Norway even if you have emigrated. These contributions go towards the cost of healthcare services provided in the country in which you are living. Contact NAV if you have any questions concerning National Insurance contributions.

If you receive a pension from another EU/EEA country or Switzerland in addition to a pension from Norway, you must declare this in your S1 application. Helfo will contact the country concerned to decide whether the S1 certificate should be issued by Norway (Helfo) or the other country.

You will find an application form for an S1 certificate in step 4.

Registering your S1

When you arrive in the country you are moving to, you must register your S1 certificate with the appropriate National Insurance institution in the country concerned. You must find out the National Insurance institution which applies in your case yourself. National Insurance systems are organised differently in different countries. Unregistered certificates do not afford any rights.

S1 certificates are written in Norwegian. The document is standard in all EU/EEA countries and Switzerland and it is not necessary to translate the document.

European Health Insurance Card for S1 holders

If you were issued with a European Health Insurance Card before you left Norway, you must not use this card, as it will no longer be valid. You can order a new health insurance card from Helfo. You will only be able to use it once your S1 certificate has been registered with and approved by the National Insurance institution in the country you have moved to, and Helfo has received a reply from them. If you are a pensioner with an S1 certificate who is resident abroad, you must have a health insurance card which has a yellow back.

You will be able to use your health insurance card if you need medical assistance while staying in Norway or another EU/EEA country away from your country of residence. Read more about the rights that European Health Insurance Cards give you.

Separate rules in Nordic countries

Separate rules will apply if you move to another Nordic country. You will not need to apply for an S1 certificate in order to acquire rights in the country you are moving to, but you will have to register with the National Insurance system in your country of residence.

Example

As an old-age pensioner, Kåre has been issued with an S1 certificate. He therefore has health rights in the same way as Spanish citizens and can have his expenses for medical tests and treatment covered. It becomes apparent that Kåre needs a hip operation. He therefore contacts the health service in Spain. Kåre has a Spanish health card, and the healthcare personnel can therefore see that he is entitled to treatment in the same way as a Spanish citizen. If other residents in Spain have to pay a user fee, Kåre will have to as well.

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AFP pensioners (pensioners entitled to a public sector contractual pension)

If you are receiving an AFP pension and have moved to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you will no longer be a mandatory member of the Norwegian National Insurance scheme.

As an AFP pensioner, you will not be entitled to an S1 certificate – with one exception: If you are receiving a private early retirement pension and an old age pension from the National Insurance scheme, you will be considered to be an old-age pensioner and you will then be able to apply for an S1 certificate (see step 2).

If you are not entitled to an S1, you can check with NAV if you can get a voluntary membership in the Norwegian National Incurance scheme (in Norwegian) before you emigrate from Norway. As a voluntary member of the National Insurance scheme, you will retain your right to receive health services in Norway. This means that you can also opt to return to Norway in order to receive treatment, but you will then have to cover your travel expenses yourself.

With voluntary membership, you might be entitled to subsidisation for treatment abroad. This means that your expenses relating to certain health services will be covered. We recommend that you also take out private insurance if the amount of benefit you will be entitled to from Helfo is limited.

Separate rules apply if you move to another Nordic country. Contact NAV to find out more about retaining membership of the Norwegian National Insurance scheme. Contact the National Insurance authorities in your country of residence to find out about your rights to health services there.

Example

Bjørn is receiving an AFP pension and has also moved to Spain. Bjørn has applied for and been granted voluntary membership of the Norwegian National Insurance scheme. Bjørn fractures his hip and is admitted to hospital in Benidorm. He has to pay for the treatment and then apply for a refund from Helfo, but he will only be entitled to limited benefit.

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Submit your application digitally

Here, those eligible can apply to Helfo for an S1 certificate or to have their expenses relating to health services refunded.

You can apply for an S1 certificate using a digital form in Altinn. To log in to Altinn you need electronic ID. Click here for information about how to get an electronic ID.

If you are receiving a state pension or disability benefit (see step 2), you can apply for an S1 certificate using the following digital form:

 

If you are an AFP pensioner and a voluntary member of the Norwegian National Insurance scheme (see step 3), you can apply for a refund for your healthcare expenses in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland using the following digital form:

 

Your application must be submitted along with the necessary documentation no more than 6 months after each treatment date.

Paper form

If you are unable to use our digital form, you can complete a paper form instead.

If you are receiving a state pension or disability benefit (see step 2), you can apply for an S1 certificate using the following digital form:

If you are an AFP pensioner and a voluntary member of the Norwegian National Insurance scheme (see step 3), you can apply for a refund for your healthcare expenses in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland using the following form:

Send your application to: Helfo, Postboks 2415, 3104 Tønsberg, Norway

Example

Bjørn sends an application form to Helfo along with receipts and documentation proving that the treatment took place. He makes sure he does this within six months after the treatment date. He receives a refund for some of his treatment expenses.

Veiledning helsenorge.no

If you have any questions, please call Veiledning helsenorge.no (user service): +47 23 32 70 00

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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.

Health information is sensitive information and should not be sent by e-mail. You should therefore send the power of attorney to Helfo as an attachment to a digital form, or by letter post to Helfo, Postboks 2415, 3104 Tønsberg. Remember to enclose a copy of valid identification.  

Content provided by Helfo

Last updated Tuesday, March 22, 2022