Living in El Salvador

Advice for British people living in El Salvador, including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.


This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in El Salvador, including advice on health, education, benefits, residency requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do.


Healthcare is available in San Salvador. Medical care outside the city of San Salvador is limited. Medical care in public hospitals is free but sometimes public hospitals experience serious shortages of basic medicines and equipment.

Private medical care is available but can be expensive. If travelling and/or living in El Salvador, it is advisable to obtain medical insurance. Private hospitals might require payment prior to giving treatment to patients, even if personal medical insurance covers the cost of treatment.

More information about El Savador’s public health system can be found on the Ministerio de Salud website.

The Instituto Salvadoreño del Seguro Social has a social security system for registered workers.


The Ministry of Education promotes education in El Salvador, verifys educational centres and provides other services related to education.

Employment and recognised qualifications

British Nationals can work in El Salvador if they have the appropriate permissions. If you plan to work in El Salvador, contact the Embassy of El Salvador in London for information on the requirements, permissions or visa you need.

The Ministry of Work and Social Prevision deals with employment matters in El Salvador. For matters related to recognition of educational qualifications, please contact the Ministry of Education, who also control public and private schools, universities and technical institutes, as well as the issuing and authorisation of certificates of education at all levels.

Entry and residency requirements

British nationals are not required to obtain a visa to visit El Salvador as tourists for short periods of time. Visitors must comply with migration requirements to enter the country for longer periods. For information on El Salvador’s Migration Law, please contact the Embassy of El Salvador in London.

If you are in El Salvador and need information on the country’s migration rules, please contact the Migration Office or see website of the government of El Salvador for details about temporary residence and permanent residence.

Please also read our travel advice information if travelling to El Salvador.


The Instituto Salvadoreño del Seguro Social has a social security system for registered workers that covers medical attention, medical consultation, examinations and tests. It also includes medical attention in case of accident and in some cases, a state pension. Please see the information about UK benefits and advice on retiring abroad.

Driving licences and vehicles

For information on driving and driving licences in El Salvador see the website of SERTRACEN (Servicios de Transito Centroamericano SA de CV).

The Ministerio de Hacienda has information about tax regulations for importing vehicles to El Salvador.


If opening a personal bank account, you will be expected to present documentation to prove that you live in El Salvador, your address in El Salvador, place of work and the names of people in El Salvador who can give references about you. You will also be asked to explain the origin of the funds that will be deposited in your account. For information on the banking rules, please visit the website of the Superintendencia del Sistema Financiero.

For information on tax, please visit the Ministerio de Hacienda website.

Guidance on bringing medication into El Salvador

Please contact the Embassy of El Salvador in London for information on bringing medication into El Salvador.

Sponsoring family members

The Migration Office provides information on sponsoring family members and how to obtain temporary or permanent residency in El Salvador.

Social ethics and traditions

For general information about El Salvador, please visit the website of the Ministry of Tourism of El Salvador.

Returning to the UK

If you are returning to the UK after being a permanent resident, it is important to inform the following local authorities:

Legal advice might be necessary in some cases. The British Embassy provides a list of English speaking lawyers in El Salvador.


This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 17 November 2013