Heads up. Problem with EHIC card for some people

I think the problem that I am having with getting a replacement EHIC card from Newcastle might apply to several or even many people.

My wife and I each applied (11 November 2020) for our EHIC cards under the terms announced within the withdrawal agreement. These cards would be used if we were to fall ill in another EU country and would refer any costs back to UK.

Immediately after the online application we each got email confirmations back that our applications had been received. I didn’t read mine properly.

My wife received her EHIC card just after Christmas.

Because I hadn’t had mine by 15 January I was prompted to check that November email. I then saw that it said
“We are unable to proceed with your application for an EHIC as we have been unable to confirm that you hold a registered S1, E121, E106 or E109 certificate issued by the UK”.

As others might know, trying to contact Overseas Health in Newcastle is no longer easy. At least, not if you wish to speak the someone. Virtual assistant, yes - but that’s a dead end.

Several emails to and fro to the EHIC team - asking how I wasn’t eligible because I had full access into the French system - even pictures of my existing EHIC card - would not budge them. They did say that my S1 is issued but not registered.

The penny has dropped with me, I think. When we came here both of us were under retirement age and ‘inactif’. So we paid URSAAF contributions for about 2 years until my wife reached 60. She then got her carte vitale - and so did I (piggybacking).

I then became officially retired in 2010. Nothing seemed to change - carte vitale carried on being accepted, received EHIC renewal cards a couple of times.

Now I think I see the problem - the french system has never registered my S1 with UK.

So I need to contact CPAM or someone (who?) to get this situation regularised. Any suggestions please?

@lebeuil1 Hi Roger, MOH has had the same issue. I was able to contact Newcastle and they confirmed that the problem is that although Newcastle issues the S1 they need it registered by your local CPAM. So your local CPAM needs to be contacted and asked to do this.
We have not progressed this as yet since we are not going anywhere in the near future, but it’s on the list of things to sort out.

Interesting, as we are in the reverse position! I am beneficiary of OH’s S1, and have received my new EHIC in early December. He has not! We applied within minutes of each other. Just went to check the email he recieved on application and it is anodyne with no mention of not being able to find his S1. …

“Thank you for your application for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

We will review your application and let you know if it has been successful.

If successful, we will process your application and issue your EHIC before 31 December 2020. This will continue your entitlement to UK-covered healthcare when travelling to an EEA country or Switzerland, other than the one where you live.

If you experienced any difficulties when making your application, you can send [feedback]

If, for any reason, there were any issues when processing your application, we will be in touch to advise you.”

Bizarre, but like Sue we are not planning on leaving the country in near future so will stay on to do list.

I have found the complete opposite. I have had numerous contacts with Newcastle because not only have I been dealing with an S1 for France [last month] but went thru’ the whole thing 3 years ago when I moved to Spain.

I’ve found it doesn’t take long ‘on hold’ before a real person answers and that person has always been most helpful and personable in dealing with my query. When I mentioned that I had not had anything from CPAM, off her own bat she volunteered a duplicate S1. The covering letter was dated the same day as the phone call and it all arrived, S1 identical to the original S1 [my photocopy] exactly a week later. I’m very impressed wit their service - and with DVLA, too.

Morning Cap,

I have just applied for my S1 and found the service first class.

Wait on phone was only a couple of minutes, and received prompt and accurate service.

Credit where it’s due

Have a good day


I phoned two different numbers (…1999 and …3250), both gleaned from Gov.uk. Both of them are answermessages (I checked …1999 again today) and you cannot proceed.

But I have found my letter from DWP (March 2013) saying my S1 is registered. This letter had a different phone number (…0575) on it, which I have just rung. Amazingly, still a correct number.
The lady I spoke to was extremely helpful. So I am now with you, Christopher and Andy.

But the reason my S1 is no longer registered turns out to be bizarre. The lady mentioned that I had lived in Finland. I certainly never have, BUT I told her that I had received a letter, from NHS Business Services Authority, in September 2019 mentioning in passing that I lived in Finland. We all had such a letter but most did correctly say France.

I do recall that, at the time (Sept. 2019) I went online to a forum asking advice and 2 or 3 others reported that they had had a similar letter, mentioning Finland.

UK’s mistake. They are sending me my S1 for ME to have to send it to CPAM, who will send it to Newcastle.

So it should be now settled.

That’s odd Roger. I just checked my phone records for my contact ‘NHS S1 Office’ and the number I have been calling is … 1999. My call to that number on 06/01/2021 lasted 9’ 52".

However, getting your S1 sent to you is a step in the right direction. My duplicate took 7 days, from phone call to arrival .

I say a ‘step’ because I have just been on the AMELIE site forum Votre carte Vitale - Forum ameli pour les assurés and the time some people have been waiting is horrendous - as they say on the S1 covering letter from Newcastle, it can take ‘many months’.

Clearly the shortcomings of the CV application system is well known to Newcastle. They must get many frustrated calls asking if a S1 has been confirmed from France as registered. I made that call myself on 6th Jan. As I was told, "It’ll be in a pile somewhere … " and she did not mean in Newcastle.

The stock answer from AMELI is this " The processing times vary depending on the type of files and the number of files being processed by your caisse primaire d’assurance maladie (CPAM).

To contact your CPAM, click on the following link: How to call the French Health Insurance Advice Lines? "

The problem with this is A] It is constantly reported on the AMELIE forum as being either down or B] comes out with a message asking the caller to try again, which inevitably results in a fail.

People who have managed to speak to someone are told that it is impossible to track an individual application but that it will undoubtably be ‘en cours’, subject, of course, to the ‘many months’ factor.

Reading the forum about applications for a CV - the provision or not of temporary s/s numbers, the inabilty to create an AMELI a/c with a temp number, the impossibility of tracing the progress or even existence of a CV application, the absence of even the most basic form of acknowledgement of receipt of an application - I have been seriously depressed by what I have read.

The issue extends beyond the vital [sic] one of health care. If one is entitled to S1, registration via S1 onto the French health system is, as I understand it, a box that must be ticked as part of the process of application for a CdS.

My S1 and supporting papers were handed over at a face to face appointment at my local CPAM. I count myself fortunate.

Each document was checked until the list of docs required had been completed, apparently to the satisfaction of the CPAMista. I was alarmed when she tried to give one of the S1s back to me. I had to explain that one was for them, the other to be returned to Newcastle once CPAM had processed my application.

Ameli has its uses - my partner just ordered a replacement carte vitale using it - but a number of these online systems fall down if there is the slightest complication. I think they have a “Too Hard” bucket.
If you have a face-to-face meeting with them (and our local CPAM at St Lo is brilliant) then any complications can be ironed out there and then without going into a holding pile…

Angela, I was certainly impressed with the friendly and helpful way the RV for receiving my S1 and supporting docs went, at CPAM St. Lo. They had the opportunity to point out or discover any ‘complications’ whilst I was still sitting there. But all seemed in order.

My fear - well, a.t.mo it’s only anxiety but if it stretches into the ‘many months’ category, fear will definitely replace anxiety - my fear is that seeing my dossier being handed from my interviewer to her colleague is where it comes to something very, very close to a grinding halt.

I’d be surprised to find that the ‘front of office’ people have any way to check what happens elsewhere in the system, based on my reading of the dismal tales of woe on the AMELIE forum.

I’ve been thru’ this in Spain. It was, in hindsight, reasonably straightforward. All was done face to face, in person, across a desk. The paperwork being found to be in order, a machine, after a couple of fails, knocked out the Spanish SIP card, the equivaent to the CV. Just like that!

My despair in all this is that it was NHS Business Services Authority that messed it all up in the first place by doing something on their system which changed my residence from being in France to being in Finland.

I quote para 2. of their letter to me 23/09/2019.

‘‘We are writing to you because our records show you live in Finland and as an S1 holder Brexit may affect your access to healthcare’’.

So now I have to go through these delays because they made an error. As I said above, I did hear that others had seen a similar letter, mentioning Finland instead of France.

I wonder why on earth they thought you were in Finland?
The letter explaining what I needed to do as I lived in Italy (!) came from the British Embassy rather than the NHS so hopefully that won’t cause complications but who knows?

I also had very good service from Overseas in Newcastle (don’t tell anyone or their numbers will be cut!) but dealing with CPAM is another matter.
If you are already registered in the French system then you could just get an EHIC from them and let them pay any bills that arise perhaps?

Best number is:
For S1 Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 191 218 1999