To have full free access to the Spanish Health System you have to have a social security number. To get one, you generally have to either work for a company or become self employed (in which case you’ll pay to be part of the system).
If your country of origin has universal health care, then you may be able to get your country to pay Spain to cover you. For the UK, this is the case for those over 60 and for some people who qualify for the invalidity benefit. You will need the appropriate form (E121 or E106).
In some cases, you may want to keep your universal health care provided by your home country if you intend to be back and forth between Spain and home. In this case it would be recommended to purchase additional health or travel insurance from a home-country insurance provider that supplements your universal health care for the duration of your stay in Spain.
If you have a Certificado de Empadronamiento, you have the right to emergency care in any public hospital. Once any temporary health care from your country runs out, look into contracting Spanish health insurance. Also see Doctors in Spain for more about your empadronamiento, getting your health care card and finding a doctor.


Doctors in Spain are welll educated, practical and prescribe good drugs (that are often so much cheaper than the UK). For almost every ailment you can think of, you’ll be treated with every respect, and to some of the best care in Europe.
In any case, the procedure for getting a doctor within the public health care system is as follows (also see health care and insurance in Spain):
Once you get your empadronamiento, you take your form to the local clinic (they’ll tell you where your clinic is at the registration centre for your empadronamiento). You present the form along with your work permit and work contract (if you have those, better that you do, although you won’t be refused) to the desk after waiting the obligatory hour or more; where they’ll present you with a shiny new card good for free public health care at your local doctor’s office.
This doctor will usually be provided or assigned to you, although I believe you can try to specify any that you might know in the area. The next time you need to go to the doctor you’ll call the number for your doctor (which you’ll get along with the card) and thus you set up an appointment with them.
In case of emergencies, you can take your card with you to the hospital and should receive free medical attention.


There are a number of private health insurance companies in Spain:
Prices for private insurance start at about 30 €/month for a 30 year-old male, plus an initial fee of 30 euros.
You might try one of the following international insurers: Bupa International, Aviva of PPP.


Today, the biggest drug threat to Spain is cocaine. Most of the cocaine coming into Europe from South America enters via Spain. Shipments leave Colombia or Venezuela and arrive in impoverished Western Africa countries with corrupt law enforcement agencies.
From Africa to Spain, smugglers often use fishing boats or go-fast boats that can exploit Spain’s long coastlines. The Spanish Navy makes frequent seizures on the high seas between Africa and Spain, finding cocaine loads of 800 to 1800 kg that were intended to keep Spanish citizens enslaved to this drug.
Of those in treatment for drug addiction, 45 percent are being treated for cocaine, more than any other drug. It is the most likely drug to send people to the emergency room as well, being involved in two-third of ER visits. About a third report cannabis use and less than a quarter report heroin use. On the other hand, alcohol is commonly abused by nearly all people abusing illicit drugs.
Spain has suffered from the highest cocaine prevalence rates in Europe for the last decade, even exceeding U.S. figures in recent years. But because cocaine addiction is a more recent problem than heroin addiction, fewer drug rehabilitation centers exist to treat it.
Much of the cannabis found in Spain is in the form of cannabis resin. In 2008, nearly 700 tons of the resin was seized in Spain, the highest amount in Europe. Much of the cannabis resin enters Spain from its Mediterranean neighbor, Morocco and more is produced domestically as evidenced by the seizure of 25 tons of cannabis plants in 2007.
Cannabis abuse figures have stabilized recently. In 2008, one in ten people in Spain used the drug, which was slightly lower than the prior year. In the most susceptible age group, 15 – 24, almost one quarter reported using cannabis in the prior year.
There are many sources of help for substance or alcohol dependency. If you or one of your friendsor family please dont hestitate to seek help.
Cocaine Anonomys Spain


A 12-step program for recovering drug addicts. NA meetings in English are available on the Costa del Sol.

  • Narcotics Anonymous Spain (Narcoticos Anonimos España)
    tel_ 902 114 147
  • To obtain information on English-language Narcotics Anonymous meetings in Spain,


A 12-step program for recovering alcoholics. There are English-language AA meetings held on the Costa del Sol.


A 12-step program for adult children of alcoholics. Online support meetings are available.

  • For ACA support on the Costa del Sol,
    tel_ 607 461 748




The British Embassy has overall responsibility for the representation and promotion of the UK in Spain. Consult the embassy for legal procedures, travel advice, visas, passports and consular information.
MADRID (embassy)
C/ Fernando el Santo 16
(mon-fri: 09:00-17:00)
tel_ 917 008 200 (consulate general)
Paseo de Recoletos 7-9
(open 08:30-13:30 and visa applications accepted from 09:00-12:00)
tel: 915 249 700
Many forms are downloadable on the website:
(Passport renewals take between 10-21 days, the cost is 185€‚ for a 10 year adult passport and 118€ for a 5 year children passport)