Getting an NISS number – Healthcare in Portugal – Expats Portugal Community Forum

Clear all

Please feel free to view our Forum, but you must either LOGIN or REGISTER to join in the conversation.

Reis & Pellicano International Lawyers

Getting an NISS number  

Posts: 2
VIP Member
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Hello All, I am new to this site,but have lived in PT for nearly 2 years. We have managed to achieve most 0f the necessary paperwork to make life run smoothly here, but are somewhat stumped by this one.

Briefly, we contacted NHS in UK and had forms S1 forwarded. Completed these in duplicate and took them to our local (Leiria) Social Security equivalent. They received them and gave us a receipt, sent one copy to UK as prescribed, and then... the process seems to have stopped.

We registered with our local Centro de Saude, but did not have a NISS number. We haven't needed any medical attention until recently. As luck would have it, my husband had his wallet stolen, complete with EHIC card. He needed to see a doctor, and because he didn't have a NISS number, was charged 30 euros.

Background info: we are both retired. Our EHICs are out of date. We applied for new ones as we want to travel. They have not arrived. We chased them up via NHS. They have still not arrived. We need a PT NISS number to have the same treatment as our Portuguese friends. We have residencia, etc. but not ID cards yet.

Given all of this, where do we go from here, and who is supposed to issue us with the NISS numbers, please?

Thanks for any help you can give us.

4 Replies

Posts: 179
VIP Member
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago

If NISS is the Social Security number, then that is where you should go to get it. Sending off the S1 should have resulted in you getting an English EHIC card. I am not certain but I don´t think your Health Centre should demand the NISS number. The law says anyone resident here is entitled to NHS treatment.


Posts: 2186
VIP Member
Noble Member
Joined: 11 years ago

Start with the social security office you delivered your S1 to. Take the receipt they issued and explain that you never heard anything back and that your health centre hasn't issued / won't issue you a utente number.

If the UK didn't raise any difficulties with the issuing of the EHIC to you in Portugal (how did you apply and chase that up, by the way? - Was it via the Overseas Healthcare Team phoneline?) then that suggests the process was properly completed at the PT end and registered with the UK, so perhaps PT is awaiting a final notification back from the UK. Certainly shouldn't take 2 years though, so maybe something got mislaid.

Alternatively it could possibly be the health centre not doing things right. Another poster on here was having difficulty in Leiria recently.

Start with Social Security and that original S1 registration, anyway and see if they can shed any light.


Posts: 1241
VIP Member
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago

X Camone wrote:
> Alternatively it could possibly be the health centre not doing things
> Another poster on here was having difficulty in Leiria recently.

I was that poster.... It wasn't the Centro de Saude in Pousos was it by any chance?

We are not in the same position as you - not yet at UK retirement age, so the S1 forms don't apply. But, we had real difficulty getting the Centro de Saude to accept us - eventually they did, but still recorded with a "Sub-sistema" of the UK DWP. I couldn't be bothered at that stage arguing any more as we don't plan on being in Leiria for too long and will hopefully sort it out at a later date.

You should have been able to register purely based on your Residency certificate.

Welcome to the forum, by the way.



Posts: 2
VIP Member
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Thanks for all the replies. Here is an update:
-eventually got through to NHS UK and confirmed S1 forms received and the problem was in Leiria.
-got bilingual friend to accompany us again to the SS in Leiria. Much loud talking and waving of arms later, and they promised to send us our NISS numbers in the post. This they duly did.
- Our local health centre didn't know how to compute the numbers in the letter, (somewhat different from normal) so our registration with a doctor got a bit derailed.
-husband needed attention, so he went and insisted on getting registered. Somehow this did happen and he now gets the same forms for the clinic analises tests, etc. and no longer has to pay 30 euros.
-phoned the international helpline for EHIC and eventually the new cards arrived.
-Because we are retired, NHS UK PAYS PORTUGAL DIRECTLY FOR ALL OUR HEALTH CARE. WE MUST NOT USE OUR EHIC CARDS IN PORTUGAL. We also don't use them if we return to UK on a visit. We DO need to use them for travelling to all other countries.
-the transfer of medical records from UK to Portugal is not automatic. You have to contact your UK health centre and ask for them to be sent. For £50.00 per person, they sent our records directly to us, on disks, and we took these to our Portuguese doctor, but making a copy for ourselves first.

I hope this information might be useful to any other retired newcomers. Thanks again.


Sovereign Group Leaderboard

To post a reply, sign up and become a member!


By becoming a valued Premium Member today, your support will help the team continue to bring you useful content about life in Portugal. You can also:

JOIN TODAYOnly €25 per year


Sign me up as a Community Member today for limited access to the forum and meet-ups.



By becoming a valued Premium Member today, you will unlock some great privileges, freebies and perks:

  • Receive over €250+ worth of exclusive member benefits from our partners (view current member perks and benefits)
  • Priority access to our Zoom meet-ups and webinars (visit our What’s On Calendar for our next online events)
  • Browse the forum with no advertising (only see or partners)
  • Get 10% discount off Business Directory advertising
  • Get 10% discount off Ask Our Expats services
  • And last but not least, shout Astrid, Gerry & Carl a beer on Friday 🙂
Join TodayOnly €25 per year

Copyright © 2020 Expats Portugal

Marketing by Unity Online