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Healthcare abroad

Whatever your reasons for going abroad, you may be entitled to medical care at reduced cost or sometimes free. Your entitlement will vary based on whether you're going to an European Economic Area country (EEA) or elsewhere in the world.

New regulations

If you live in another European Union member state, and the United Kingdom covers the cost of your healthcare, the UK may be responsible for the issue of your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from May 1 2010.


If you're going on a holiday or a business trip, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which offers you access to reduced-cost medical treatment. 

Moving abroad

Find out if you are still eligible for healthcare paid by the UK when you're going to live, work or study in another EEA country.

Treatment abroad

If you're planning to go abroad specifically for medical treatment (including giving birth) the NHS may be able to offer you financial and aftercare support. Find out how to apply for medical treatment abroad.

Country guides

Use the country-by-country guide and find out if you are entitled to healthcare paid by the UK. Different rules apply depending on the circumstances of your visit. 

Last reviewed: 29/04/2010

Next review due: 28/04/2012


Apply for an EHIC online at

If you're having difficulties with the online application form or to update your personal details, call the automated service on 0845 606 2030.

For general enquiries about the EHIC, to replace a lost or stolen card, or claim refunds, call the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999. If calling from abroad ring +44 191 218 1999.

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