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Healthcare in Malta

On this page you will find information on the healthcare access you're entitled to and how to get it if you're:

  • moving to, or already living in Malta (including students)
  • visiting Malta, for example on holiday

Your options for accessing healthcare in Malta may change if there is a no-deal Brexit. You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances if you are moving to, visiting or living in Malta.

Living in Malta after Brexit

You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national living in Malta.

Maltese no-deal legislation (in Maltese) says that if there is a no-deal Brexit, S1 holders would continue to be able to access healthcare with their S1 form as they do now.

You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there is no deal and no agreements with Malta in place. For example, if you are a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you will not be able to use this to access your healthcare as you do now.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider the following:

  • registering to live in Malta
  • registering for healthcare under the local rules and legislation of Malta
  • buying comprehensive health insurance while you are applying for residency or if you are not eligible for local schemes

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it is up to date.

If you are living in Malta and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC, you should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK. You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

You may use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge when visiting the UK after exit day if you are living in Malta on exit day and you:

  • have a UK-issued S1 form
  • have a UK-issued EHIC
  • would have been eligible for the UK to fund your healthcare access, if exit day had not occurred

This will remain the case after exit day.

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test you will be able to access NHS care without charge.

Visiting Malta after Brexit

You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national travelling to Malta.

If you're using an EHIC issued by the UK, this will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Malta and might mean that you need pay in full for treatment. However, under the reciprocal healthcare provision, if you are visiting Malta for up to 30 days, you will still be able to access emergency healthcare by presenting your British passport.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk to your GP and insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

This guide will be updated when there is more information about travelling to and living in Malta after Brexit.

Healthcare in Malta until the UK leaves the EU

Finding help in an emergency

Call 112 if you have a serious, life-threatening emergency. This number is free of charge. Emergency care is provided free of cost to everyone, even those without state health insurance.

Visiting Malta

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you're planning to visit Malta. The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas. Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Emergency medical care only is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention either via presenting a valid EHIC or under the existing 1975 Reciprocal Health Agreement (RHA) provision that the UK has with Malta.

Under this provision if you are visiting Malta for 30 days or less, you may present your UK passport to access immediate emergency care.

If you are unable to present a valid EHIC or valid British passport you can expect to be charged in full for any care provided. This may be reimbursed through the hospital customer care section if you show them a valid EHIC number or valid British passport.

Your EHIC enables you to access necessary state-provided healthcare in Malta at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free if you are staying there temporarily.

Make sure you are treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you will not be covered for private healthcare with an EHIC or RHA provision.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Malta if you have a pre-existing health condition. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, to make sure you can get the cover you need.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel. Take with you any documents about your health condition or medication with you.

Your EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Malta and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read our guide to seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Hospitals

The Maltese healthcare system consists of both private and state healthcare. The state healthcare system is funded through taxation and national insurance. Not all healthcare expenses are covered by the state system.

You'll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Make sure you are referred to a state hospital as only these provide treatment free of charge. Even in a state hospital you will need a valid EHIC. Check you are not treated as a private patient.

Prescriptions

You will need to pay for your prescription and seek reimbursement from the national health system.

If you present a prescription within 3 days of discharge from hospital you do not need to pay, and you will not have to seek reimbursement.

Bringing your own medicines to Malta

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal license to take controlled medicines abroad. Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

Visit GOV.UK for more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

Living in Malta

UK nationals living and/or working in Malta must follow the registration process to access the same entitlements to healthcare as Maltese nationals.

If you reside in Malta, you must register for an RHA Entitlement Card at the Entitlement Unit for access to state non-emergency healthcare. To receive a RHA Entitlement Card you must:

  • contribute to the Social Security Act (national insurance)
  • be exempt from contributing to the Social Security Act

S1 certificate

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Malta and receive:

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Malta. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

It is possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. If you are eligible for an S1 certificate you should apply now. It is important to have all the right documentation and that it is up to date.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you are a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

For other exportable benefits, you may need to contact a different team depending on the exportable benefit.

You can find more information under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on GOV.UK. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has more information about what UK and Maltese benefits are available to Britons living in Malta.

UK posted workers

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Malta, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you are posted to.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

Students in Malta

If you are a UK resident studying in Malta, your student EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Malta and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas. Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel.

Students may apply for a residence permit if they will be studying in Malta. Legal guardians can simultaneously apply for a residency permit to accompany that student if they are underage. The guardian must prove they have a regular and stable income.

Read more about healthcare when studying abroad.

For more information about healthcare when living abroad, read our guide on planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019
Next review due: 28 August 2022