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Healthcare cover abroad and for visitors requiring treatment

You can use a European or global health insurance card to get state-provided medically necessary healthcare cover when you are visiting a European Union (EU) country.
There are 2 types of cover available.

You can apply for a UK:

  • global health insurance card
  • European health insurance card if you have rights under the withdrawal agreement

For most people, the UK global health insurance card replaces the European health insurance card.

Apply for a new health insurance card

The insurance cards are free of charge. Beware of unofficial websites, they may charge you a fee to apply.

Healthcare cover for overseas visitors

Unplanned treatment on a temporary visit to England

A visitor from an EU country who falls ill or has a medical emergency during their temporary stay in England, can use their European health insurance card.

The European health insurance card will cover them for treatment that becomes medically necessary during their visit. They will be covered until they return to their country. It will cover them for the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care. They will not be covered if the reason for their visit is to give birth or receive treatment.

Healthcare cover for visitors from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland

From 1 January 2021, visitors from these countries may need to pay for NHS healthcare. Any treatment that they pay for will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.

UK nationals that moved to Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before 31 December 2020 can use their European health insurance card or a provisional replacement certificate in the UK.

Seeking planned treatment in England

Planned treatment under the S2 arrangement is only available to visitors from EU countries.

They will need to make all the necessary arrangements themselves in advance. Planned treatment is not covered by the European health insurance card. If they do not have valid documentation, they will be charged for treatment. They need to arrange an S2 form from the relevant organisation in their home country before traveling to England.

UK nationals and others whose healthcare in the EU is paid for by the UK

A UK national living outside the UK should not expect to use NHS services for free when visiting. They should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK.

If the UK government pays for their healthcare through S1 arrangements whilst they are visiting the UK, they will be able to use NHS services in England without charge. This will only apply to people living in an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland on or before 31 December 2020.

People who get a UK state pension or other UK benefit have their healthcare paid for by the UK. People working abroad for UK companies or organisations also have their healthcare paid for by the UK.

A UK national who moves to an EU country can use NHS services for free if they have a:

  • European health insurance card
  • provisional replacement certificate
  • S2

This will show the healthcare costs are costs funded by the EU country where they now live, or if another exemption applies.

If they move to Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland, they may have to pay for treatment when visiting the UK. Any treatment they pay for, will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.

Healthcare cover for visitors from outside the European economic area

Unplanned treatment on a temporary visit to England

Visitors from a non-European economic area country will be charged for NHS secondary care at 150% of the standard NHS rate. Unless an exemption from the charge category applies to them or the treatment.

More information is available on the NHS England website.

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