The National Health Service (SNS) was created in 1979 as a way to ensure citizens the right to health protection, regardless of their economic and social condition, with a focus on improving the quality of life and reducing inequalities. Official institutions and services, financed by the population’s taxes, are managed by the Ministry of Health.This structure includes groups of health centers, hospital establishments and local health units, which accompany people from the disease prevention process, through diagnosis, treatment and medical rehabilitation.

I’m an immigrant. What are my rights and duties if I need medical care in Portugal?

If you are ill and need any type of healthcare, you are entitled to be assisted at a health center or hospital, in an emergency. No reason linked to nationality, lack of economic resources or irregular situation justifies refusal to attend.

If you do not have a residence permit, you can have access to health services in your area with a residence certificate, issued by the parish council, that you have been in Portugal for more than 90 days (Art. 34 of the Decree -Law No. 135/99, of 22 April). Once you obtain the document, you must register at the health center.

Children and adolescents in an irregular situation have access to the National Health System (NHS) with the same rights attributed to others in a regular situation in the national territory (DL 67/2004, of 25 March).

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