Mobility and Social Security

Mobility and Social Security

Mobility is one of the main cores of European Marie-Curie research fellowships. As PhD fellows, we have the opportunity to travel, engage international research groups and integrate into other cultures. However, we also must deal with lots of paperwork. When moving from one country to another, we not only need to move our personal stuff but also our social security provided by our home institution. I know this can be a pain in the neck for many PhD students. This is the reason why I am going to use this entry to share my knowledge on how I managed to have social security in Belgium, being ICRA my home institution.

In Belgium, unlike in Spain, you normally pay upfront when you go to the hospital. So here, you need to be registered with a Mutuality (mutuelle in French or ziekenfonds in Dutch) if you want to get reimbursed for the medical expenses. In Belgium, it is compulsory to be registered with a Mutuality but it is easy to find one: As far as I know, there are 2 ways to sign up with a Mutuality and export our social security provided by the country of the home institution:

- With the European Health Insurance Card
- With the form A1 issued by the home institution.

In my case, I selected the second option. The form A1 certificates that you are affiliated with the social security system in a European country so you are not obliged to pay again for this service when you move to a different European country due to working purposes. Afterwards, the Spanish social security, using the form A1 that ICRA gave me, issued the form E-106 (or the new S1) to certificate my right to receive social benefits in Belgium. You can find all this information through

Once I arrived in Belgium, I went to the nearest Mutuality and I presented the form E-106 along with my Spanish identity card. After a couple of weeks, I received a letter from the Mutuality confirming my affiliation. Now, when I go to the doctor, he/she gives me the invoice including the amount paid and then I go to my Mutuality to ask for the reimbursement. I have the money back on the same day! As a drawback, the Mutuality does not reimburse the total amount. This is why Belgians normally complements the Mutuality with a private insurance so that their medical expenses are fully covered.

In September I will move to UK to continue my research so I will have to learn how the British Social Security works. Any advice is welcome.