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Polish citizen moving back from USA to the EU (Ireland or Netherlands) with American partner

13 Sep 2016 #1
I am a polish citizen moved to USA when I was 8.

I am considering moving back to the EU for school (Ireland or Netherlands) My question is how do I get health insurance? I will have my polish passport when I arrive as well as my son's.

My partner is an American citizen. How would he go about getting health insurance?

Thank you!
Atch 23 | 4,053
13 Sep 2016 #2
Hi Klaudia. As an EU citizen living in Ireland you are not required by the government to have private health insurance. You have eligibility to public health services though there's often some cost involved and they're not entirely free, except to some people.

In Ireland access to free medical care is based on residency and your means rather than on your social insurance payments or nationality, so to give you an example, I'm Irish, but I have an average income and therefore I've never had access to free medical care for ordinary things like going to the doctor with a throat infection. The visit to the GP would cost around 50 to 60 euros and then the prescription could cost anything really depending on the medication, it could be as little as 10 or 15 euros or it could be a hundred. I never bothered with private health insurance and as a result when I had a suspected malignant growth in my throat, I had to pay 250 euros to see a specialist privately as quickly as possible. He operated within three weeks but he saw me 'publicly' so I only had to pay 75 euros for my overnight stay and nothing for the surgery or follow up care. I would probably still have had to pay that much in total and ironically maybe even more if I'd had health insurance as it generally doesn't cover all expenses but only a portion of them. It's very typical to hear people complaining about how much they had to pay despite their health insurance!

Here's a link that may help you:

As for private health insurance, you basically just buy it from a health insurer. The level of cover depends on which plan you purchase. It will cost you around a minimum of 500 euros per year for one adult. None of the plans give you free GP visits. You get a refund of about one third of the cost of each GP visit and a portion of your prescription charges but you have to wait till the end of the insurance year to claim for them. Really most people just have voluntary health insurance in case they need hospital treatment as it means you have a choice of consultant/surgeon and you don't have to wait for treatment. If you have arthirits for example and need a knee replacement you can get it done without waiting a couple of years. However, having said that, if you got a serious, life threatening illness you will be treated promptly, just as I was, when they thought it might be cancer. So to sum up, you won't be allowed to die because you can't pay for treatment.

The main provider of private health care in Ireland is the VHI:

You just apply for one of their plans.

Regarding your partner if he's living in Ireland he'll be in the same situation as you. Entitlement to health care in Ireland is not based on nationality but on residency. However, do make sure that he has the right entry visa. As an American he doesn't need a visa for a holiday but as he's planning to stay in Ireland longer, he probably needs a short stay visa. He'll also have to register with the police and get his GNIB card.

And here's a link about health care for your child:
OP klaudiasek
13 Sep 2016 #3
Thank you so much for the response. Do you by any chance know of laws in the Netherlands? I am looking into schools there as well. I myself am required to have health insurance for school.
Lyzko 45 | 9,287
13 Sep 2016 #4
Moving to Ireland, a knowledge of English would be a basic requirement. The Netherlands too requires a language test or proof of Dutch language knowledge as a sort of prerequisite for applying for either asylum or citizenship, I've been told on fairly good authority.
Sparks11 - | 334
13 Sep 2016 #5
Your partner, unless you are married, will only be allowed to legally stay in the EU for 90 days on a tourist visa. In order to stay longer he/she will need to apply for residency (which is extremely difficult if not a student, married or perhaps meeting some other requirement on an off-chance). I would really look carefully into the residency laws whatever country you plan to stay in but as a general rule, Western Europe is out.
OP klaudiasek
14 Sep 2016 #6
We most likely plan on getting married before we leave. From what I have been reading and learned from the University is that since I am an EU citizen my partner is more likely to be approved for residency.

I am applying to an English speaking program, so I don't need any knowledge of Dutch.
mafketis 36 | 10,830
14 Sep 2016 #7
so I don't need any knowledge of Dutch.

You're going to be living in your program?

Students studying in English language programs in the Netherlands often decide the country is a nice place to live and start to think about settling down. But since they don't speak Dutch (or just know basic survival Dutch) they're effectively locked out of much of the job market.... even if the working language at a company is English, the hiring process is about people who can fit in a team (of Dutch people).

The unofficial (but real) Dutch attitude toward such students is roughly: Give us some money! Here's your diploma. Now leave!

If a program doesn't require/offer Dutch language then you can rest assured it's all about extracting money from you for a degree of no real value in that country.
Atch 23 | 4,053
14 Sep 2016 #8
Do you by any chance know of laws in the Netherlands?

Haven't a clue Klaudia sorry! I only know about Ireland because I'm Irish.

Also the rules change from time to time so the best thing is always to check with someone official in the country you're intending to live in. I would suggest that for Ireland you contact these people:

The Irish Council for International Students

It's really intended for non-Eu citizens but they can provide you with relevant information with your partner not being an EU citizen. That complicates your situation somewhat. Even if you get married, he doesn't have any automatic right to live in Ireland.

Also be advised Klaudia that Ireland is a very expensive country to live in and your partner may not have the right to work. If you're in Dublin the rents are very high. Bringing your kid with you will mean renting a two bed apartment. You won't get anything in central Dublin for under 1,400 euros per month and if you move further out to get lower rent, public transport is really expensive and very limited. You'd get a student discount but only about 30%. My monthly train ticket from Wicklow to Dublin was costing me 290 euros two years ago and it goes up in price every year.

I don't need any knowledge of Dutch

But what about your son? How will he manage in school?

By the way if you go to Ireland and he's aged under eleven, he'll have to learn Irish as a subject in school, it's compulsory. It's not a big deal really, just be aware of that.
Lyzko 45 | 9,287
14 Sep 2016 #9

I'd also focus seriously on learning at least "basic" Dutch, while improving your English of course:-)
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,861
14 Sep 2016 #10
You do need Dutch, unless you are just a tourist over the weekend.
Take a look at Duolingo for a start maybe.
I think Ireland might be easier in terms of eventually crossing over from the student community to the working/long term community.
Dreamergirl 4 | 273
14 Sep 2016 #11
I disagree you don't need to know any language to move. My boyfriend doesn't know any English and has managed just fine for 8 years
Lyzko 45 | 9,287
14 Sep 2016 #12
Precisely, rozumiemnic!

As I've always maintained, for a brief romp through urban Europe, no other lingua franca other than English is required.
However, for LIVING aka STUDYING, WORKING abroad, I also steadfastly maintain that knowledge of the target language is essential, lest one forever remain a pariah.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,861
14 Sep 2016 #13
exactly, L.,, especially if you have children in school, not knowing the language could be very socially isolating, for you and the child.
And social isolation when you have a young family is a BAD thing....

oh and Dreamerboy, I have no interest in your fictitious boyfriend.
Lyzko 45 | 9,287
14 Sep 2016 #15
Right on, rozumiemnic:-)

I somehow think Pani Klaudia will sooner or later come round to our way of thinking, don't you?

Furthermore, certain European countries such as Germany I believe, require a rudimentary language "test" upon becoming a citizen, also covering entitlement to such things as medical benefits for one or both of the couple and child/children etc.

In addition, perhaps were you two American nationals, some consideration might be allowed for not being required to know Dutch. However, as one of you is an American aka English native speaker and the other isn't, such consideration might not pass muster.

Moreover, Poles unfortunately have a reputation as inexpensive, lower-skilled labor throughout much of the EU, thus the Netherlands might well look down upon yet "one more Polish national" with no Dutch knowledge expecting the Dutch to cater to their language needs by speaking English, whereas part of basic respect when moving abroad involves the courtesy of learning the language of the host country which is sponsoring you!!
OP klaudiasek
15 Sep 2016 #16
I plan on studying a subject where I do not need to stay in the Netherlands.. I do get language courses for free from the university etc. but that isn't really relevant to my original question regarding health insurance. Actually most of these responses are not very relevant except for Atch.

-As for my English skills I have lived and studied in the US for over 15 years and hold a Bachelor from here, therefore not a concern. I did not mention, but I am a dual US/Polish citizen in regards to what Lyzko said.

-My son is not even a year old, so I am not concerned about him picking up the language either.

As far as what you said rozumiemnic when we moved to the US my parents did not know the language well. I was the one who learned English with native proficiency first- it was not "socially isolating" at all. I think that depends on your perspective and character.

@Lyzko my English is better than my Polish if that clears it up
Lyzko 45 | 9,287
15 Sep 2016 #17
Klaudia, when I was first in Europe, I'd have found it no end frustrating, not to mention just plain BORING, not to understand what my neighbors were saying, both at home as well as in public!

True, many Netherlanders do speak English quite well, but, as we international types know all too well, there's always that invisible "brick wall", beyond which we simply cannot pass:-) Had I been forced to use English in either Holland or Poland without knowing either of those languages, I'd have nearly gone nuts:-)

For me, it went beyond courtesy; it was sheer survival.
johnny reb 47 | 7,049
15 Sep 2016 #18
it was sheer survival

Can you speak the Polish language fluently Lyzko ?
15 Sep 2016 #19
Hi Klaudia,

I know who may help you. Here is a link for lawyers in Poland

They are also at facebook:
Atch 23 | 4,053
15 Sep 2016 #20
I don't see why the OP would need the assistance of lawyers in this matter. It's not a complex legal dilemma, it's very straightforward and thousands of people travel for study purposes without the assistance of lawyers. She has duel EU and American citizenship and wants to study in either Ireland or the Netherlands. Why would she need a Polish lawyer? Sounds like somebody trying to drum up business. I'd be very interested to know in what way you specifically think they could 'help' her, help her to do what exactly??
nickknock - | 19
15 Sep 2016 #21
If you speak Polish, then you should consider Poland. Its a fine country, and I prefer it over IE,
OP klaudiasek
16 Sep 2016 #22
Unfortunately my field of study is not applicable in Poland :(
mafketis 36 | 10,830
16 Sep 2016 #23
True, many Netherlanders do speak English quite well

They learn and speak English for their own purposes which do not include making life easier for longterm residents of their country who don't want to learn the local language (the same is true of Scandinavia).
DominicB - | 2,707
16 Sep 2016 #24
my field of study is not applicable in Poland

What, may I ask, do you intend to study? And why in the EU instead of the States? How old are you? How old is your partner, and what do they study? What do they intend to do in the EU while you study? What are your long term goals, both of you?

Basically, the more detail you provide about your situation and goals, as well as those of your partner, the more pertinent answers you will get. Right now, all I'm getting from you is very vague, practically hypothetical, pie-in-the-sky daydreaming about "studying in Europe", whatever that means. You'll just get vague, practically useless advice in return. As they say, the devil is in the details, and, so far, you have provided none.

For right now, my advice is to forget about studying in Europe unless you have a darn good reason and the means and wherewithal to do so. Nothing you have written indicates in the slightest that you do.
Atch 23 | 4,053
16 Sep 2016 #25
the more detail you provide

the more pertinent answers you will get

All she asked about was health insurance.
mafketis 36 | 10,830
16 Sep 2016 #26
There you go trying to be logical and stay on topic..... sheeshh no wonder we all hate the Iris.... hmmm hey look over there!
DominicB - | 2,707
16 Sep 2016 #27
All she asked about was health insurance.

Which means she's either a really hoopy frood who really knows where her towel is, or that she's completely and utterly clueless.
Atch 23 | 4,053
16 Sep 2016 #28
Oh, she does sound as daft as a brush I agree (sorry Klaudia but you do, especially being so cocky about not needing to speak any Dutch). Yes, a capable, competent person would know how to find out about health insurance without visiting a forum such as this. Just google 'health system Netherlands' and the same for Ireland and there's everything at your fingertips.

But there's no need for us to get ourselves into a lather over her hazy plans. Now if she'd asked for advice that would be a different matter. Then we could indeed fall upon her like ravenous wolves and tear her to shreds, poor innocent lamb that she is :))
mafketis 36 | 10,830
16 Sep 2016 #29
Then we could indeed fall upon her like ravenous wolves and tear her to shreds

That's how we roll....
DominicB - | 2,707
16 Sep 2016 #30
daft as a brush

Love that. Mine is "dumber than a box of rocks". And that was exactly my point; someone who did really know where her towel is wouldn't need to ask for info about health insurance.

Then we could indeed fall upon her like ravenous wolves and tear her to shreds, poor innocent lamb that she is

You know that I always appreciate the opportunity to slap some sense into poor, misguided young'uns.

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