e-card FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the e-card and its EHIC function.

My partner’s e-card is valid for 5 years, but mine only for 1 year. Why?

First up, it is worth mentioning that the e-card is the front side of the card, and the back relates to the EHIC (German: EKVK). The use of the EHIC card issued from Austria depends on the amount of time you have been making statutory healthcare contributions (usually deducted at source from your salary if you are employed, or through your monthly or quarterly payments to the SVS for self-employed).

The validity of the EHIC on the back depends on how long you have been insured and paying contributions for (“in einer Krankenversicherung pflichtversichert”) at the cut-off date for the card being issued. A validity of one year means that you have, from the records held, been insured for at least one out of the last five years and at least 180 days in the last year. You will be issued a five year card if you have been insured for five out of the past ten years prior to the card being issued and at least 180 days in the last year.

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What do the stars on the back of my e-card mean?

The stars on the back of the e-card means that it has not been issued with an EHIC function, due to the conditions for issuing the EHIC not being fulfilled. The fields filled with stars “******” are deliberate to prevent the card being tampered with to give the impression that it is a full EHIC. Without entries on the back side of the card, it will not work as an EHIC. If this is the case you should apply for a “Bescheinigung als provisorischer Ersatz für die EKVK” (PEB) through your Krankenkasse.

Please note that the PEB is only valid for the holder of the card, so if you are travelling with a family (e.g. spouse/partner and children) you will need to have separate PEBs issued for them too.

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My e-card doesn’t have a photo on it, is it still valid?

Austria started issuing e-cards with photos at the start of 2020. For approx. 85% of card holders their new e-card with photo is handled automatically, as photos held in Austrian registers for other purposes and identification documents) can also be used for the e-card with photo.

Holders of the following documents are covered in this way:

  • Passport (Austrian one!)
  • Personalausweis
  • Driving licence in credit card format

or from the registers held about foreigners.

  • Fremdenpass
  • Konventionsreisepass
  • Aufenthaltstitel
  • Rot-Weiss-RotRot-Weiss-Rot, Daueraufenthalt EU and Blaue Karte EU Titles The EU Blue Card is issued in the shape of a bank card and is a combination of residence permit and employment permit. If you are the holder of an EU Blue Card, you are entitled to temporary settlement and to employment with a specific employer. It is issued for a validity period of two years. If you held an EU Blue Card for two years, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, provided you were employed for at least 21 months during the previous 24 months in a job matching your qualification. The Red-White-Red Card  is a combination of residence permit and employment permit. It is valid for two years and entitles you as the holder to settlement and employment with a specific employer. If you change your employer within the first two years, you have to apply for a new Red-White-Red Card. The Red-White-Red Card plus   entitles its holder to settlement and unrestricted employment. If you are the holder of a Red-White-Red Card plus, you may change your employer at any time without having to apply for a new permit. If you held a Red-White-Red Card for two years, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, provided you were employed in accordance with the eligibility requirements for a minimum of 21 months during the previous 24 months. Family members of Red-White-Red Card holders and of holders of an EU Blue Card may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus right away.  -Karte
  • Identitätskarte für Fremde

Otherwise you will have to make an appointment to have a photo submitted. You can check whether there is a photo on file for you by using the “Foto-Sofort-Check” service on the e-card website.

If a photo is held on file, you’ll be sent a photo e-card before your old one runs out (which could be as late as the end of 2023).

Note: the following exemptions apply from the requirement to have a photo on your card:

  • if you are under 14 years of age (a reminder will be sent shortly before your 14th birthday)
  • if you turn or have turned 70 in the year that the new e-card is to be issued, or
  • if you have been classified in care level (Pflegestufe) 4, 5, 6 or 7.

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Can I still use my Austrian EHIC in the UK?

If you are entitled to a European HealthSozialministerium The Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection is responsible for the following fields: The health care system Initiatives for people with disabilities Consumer protection Public health and medical issues Care and support The rights of consumers and the protection of their health Senior citizens’ policy Social policy Social insurance Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by Austria, this card remains valid for use when you visit the UK, and other EEAEEA The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the 27 EU Member States as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The United Kingdom is not part of the EEA. countries.

The EHIC (on the back of your e-card) will cover you for any necessary medical care during a temporary stay in the UK. Remember that the EHIC is not an alternative to insurance, and you should always make sure you travel with insurance that covers your needs.

(Remember that the blue side of your card should not contain a load of asterisks – * – if it does you with need a PEB)

H/T UK In Austria – British Embassy Vienna

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What does the (Austrian) EHIC card cover?

The Austrian EHIC card provides “medically necessary” treatment in state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the UK.

The UK EHIC/GHIC card has similar coverage in Austria, but please remember it is NOT an acceptable policy for permanent residency purposes. Also when you become permanently resident in Austria, your UK EHIC card is no longer valid (unless covered by a UK S1)

Please also remember it is NOT a substitute for adequate travel insurance (e.g. does not cover repatriation, helicopter transfer to a hospital following injury on a ski slope). 

An EHIC card also is unlikely to cover any Private Healthcare treatment including ambulances.

Further information:

European Commission page on EHIC cards (the “benefits covered” link contains information about restrictions). 

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What differences are there in UK S1 coverage depending on when I arrived in Austria?

Question: If I have my healthcare funded in Austria via the UK (e.g. Pensioner with a UK S1), is there a difference between the S1 coverage for those who move to Austria after 31 December 2020?

Answer: The rules changed on 1st January 2024 and so S1 coverage in the UK is now the same.

The table below illustrates the main differences between those that are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (arrived in the EU on or before 31 December 2020) and those who are covered by the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement  (Arrived in the EU after 31 December 2020).

EU Residence TypeUK NHS CoverageUK EHIC/GHIC Card
In the EU before 31 December 2020FULL NHS coverage, the same as a UK resident whilst visiting the UK provided they travel with the S1Can apply for a UK supplied EHIC card
Arrived in the EU after 31 December 2020Since 1st January 2024, same as above.Can apply for a UK supplied GHIC card
Table explaining difference based on residence type

Note 1: A UK supplied EHIC/GHIC card is NOT valid for treatment in the UK; whereas an Austrian supplied EHIC card (back of e-card) is valid in the UK

Note 2: If you receive a UK State Pension AND a pension from the country you have moved to (e.g. Austria), you may not get an S1 form. This is because the country you live in is responsible for your healthcare.

Useful Links

Can S1 form holders access healthcare whilst visiting the UK?
Where can I use a UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK

GHIC) or UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC)?
NHS.uk – Visitors from EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland
NHS Overseas Services Contact Us
NHS Overseas Services Knowledge Base
Facebook – NHS Overseas Healthcare Services

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