Health Insurance before appearing AIMA

Dear All,

Myself and my husband moved to Povoa de Varzim on D7 visa. We have to appear before AIMA for Biometric on 27/28 February. Our age is 57 and 58 yrs respectively. Before appearing for biometric, we need to go for health insurance. Any recommendations regarding health insurance which can easily be used in chain of hospital Luz, which is near to my residence.

You may wish to look at this thread: Health Insurance.
And do a search of health insurance in the search bar as the issue comes up in other threads.

We are from uk and aged 49 & 53. We used direct travel and annual cost of £437 which was acceptable when we completed our AIMA appointment. For anyone who didnt have travel insurance at the time, they have a computer at the offices where you can purchase it. We were also told by the clerk on the day that if you have insurance with your bank that would also be ok. Good luck

@mcroyjoann I am surprised you went down this path.
Firstly, it is not even a requirement to present ANY evidence of health insurance (public or private) for the applicant who is NOT residing in Portugal at the time of the biometric application.
Secondly, even if you disregard the above “non-requirement” and still want to be health-insured, for the UK folks there is a thing called GHIC (used to be called EHIC before Brexit, but works exactly the same). It is free of charge by the way :wink:

My personal experience - I had my GHIC cards for all family renewed, translated to Portuguese and notarized but it all ended up as ‘unused’ at the biometric appointment as my lawyers did not even take it to the SEF agent. Not required.

@tommigun If evidence of travel health insurance is not a requirement for non-resident biometrics, why would “they have a computer at the offices where you can purchase it?”

Also if you were resident, don’t think “travel insurance” would apply as you’re not travelling.

Or is this another “depends what day it is and who’s evaluating your case” thing?

I can also confirm my Lawyers told me not to worry about insurance for my biometric appointment and it was never asked for at the appointment. I was not residing in Portugal at the time.

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@PTbound I love your scepticism, which I sense may even be professional :wink:
But you have found your match here :grin:
I usually don’t post things that I have not verified through the original source and/or personal experience, which in this case were:
a) Official ARI requirements on the SEF website - check
b) SEF’s ARI internal manual - check
c) my lawyers’ advice + my own biometric appt. experience - double check

Now, as to why they would have a computer…
Perhaps precisely for the ‘resident biometric’ people?

Oh, and I never mentioned any ‘travel insurance’, didn’t I?
If you suspect GHIC to be a sort of ‘travel insurance’, then I got some good news:

“The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) lets you get necessary state healthcare in EU countries, and some other countries, on the same basis as a resident of that country.”

Sorry, just English mate… skepticism is what we do :england:

I do regard your posts as reliable. It’s just this thread has left me confused as to what point SEF/AIMA cares about a GV applicant’s health insurance:

Initial application

  • Our immi advisors wanted “Proof of Health Insurance with coverage in Portugal, internationally recognised for the period of the requested legal residence, or with the option of automatic renewal of the respective policy, or proof that you are covered by the SNS.” I should caveat that they tend to be quite cautious/conservative with applications - “belt and braces” I’d call it.
  • Their experience was also that it must clearly cover repatriation (i.e. please take yourself and your burden on our health system back where you came from). Note the GHIC/EHIC does not cover “being flown back to the UK,” as per the NHS page noted above.
  • That said, I’m quite sure no one at SEF/AIMA studies the “proof of health insurance” uploaded at the point of application. All that gets verified is that the fees got paid.
  • So we quite possibly spent a bunch of money on expensive Cigna health insurance and nobody looked at it.
  • …and hey a year’s gone by and it’s due for renewal! Do we waste more money on this policy, on the chance AIMA might look at it this year?


  • This is shaping up to be the most likely point at which SEF/AIMA studies your health insurance, its expiry date, repatriation, etc. So it would have needed to be in effect on your application date (above), otherwise they could say your initial application was invalid.
  • To my mind, when Pre-approval finally comes they’ll want updated docs (as everything has expired in the years since application). So I’m thinking to not renew until new docs are requested. Make sense? Would they take issue with a gap during the months/years they were ignoring my application?

Biometric appointment

  • Mixed signals here…
  • @tommigun and @FilmMaker swear health insurance was not required at their biometrics.
  • @mcroyjoann bought travel insurance (so not even the Cigna, Axa, Allianz, etc. coverage at 3x that price - indeed I know there’s a difference). And seems to have been told about bank or “buy on the spot” insurance at their AIMA appointment. Why would AIMA have mentioned that if it wasn’t required?
  • So… your mileage may vary? Buy it just in case? I don’t know!

Another Brit joining the chat…

I have gone through pre-approval and biometrics, and at no point has SEF asked for any health insurance details. I asked my lawyer prior to my biometrics, and she advised this was required only for residents of Portugal.

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In case useful, I also did NOT have health insurance checked at biometrics.

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As you know you may ask 5 lawyers and have 5 different answers with no guarantee of a correct one. That’s why I always recommend checking the original source by yourself, where it’s available.
But this case is pretty clear - both in theory and in practice the health insurance is NOT required by AIMA unless the applicant lives in PT at the time of the biometrics.

And even if it WAS required, in case of a British applicant the GHIC is available BEFORE the GV is issued, and then after that the public SNS (numero de utente) becomes available, so again = no private expensive health insurance necessary.

The only reason to obtain the private health insurance in PT IMHO is for a frequent user of health care services. For infrequent/occasional user a pay-as-you-go approach is more cost-effective due to a relatively low cost of private health services in PT.

Thanks for giving your suggestion.

Just a note of caution. The GHIC is for UK residents travelling in partner countries. It will not cover you if you are no longer resident in the UK because by definition you are not entitled to NHS care. It will not cover you if you are resident in another country. And finally there are some worrying holes as the level of care is that of the receiving country and even in Portugal that means a lot of cancer treatment is not avaialable.

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Thank you @tommigun, @nikessng, @cj807, @FilmMaker and @mcroyjoann for sharing your experiences above. Very enlightening! I’ll discuss with our immi advisers when I see them in a couple weeks.
…and won’t be renewing my expensive Cigna insurance until I really need it.

Hello, just want to come back to say i didnt have lawyers to do my application, i did it by myself. And it is the D7 application i applied for not the GV so there may be some differences? When i attended my SEF appointment where they go through the checklist (available on the SEF website) i didnt have medical insurance because some forums said it wasnt required and i could signed a document that i would obtain it once i was in Portugal prior to my appointment with thier consulate, but on the day i was told i needed it and my application wouldnt progress without it. I was given my reference number and told to email my travel insurance to them and at that point the application would progress. I emailed it through, got a response a week later saying application approved and to go and get my 4 month passport stamp. For a few hundred pounds its worth getting and if not required most companies let you cancel within 14 days. Hope this helps

Thanks for sharing your experience.
I already received D7 visa for 4 months and we are already in Portugal. Next month we have an appointment for biometric.

Today we have processed to get the insurance. I guess it is good to be covered till we receive residence permit followed by getting national health service card.