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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.

EHIC card

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. 

Travel vaccinations

Learn about the vaccinations available for travellers, and the diseases they protect against.

Travel tips

Get practical advice on sun safety, preventing malaria, travel insurance, DVT, jet lag and more.

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. 

Treatment abroad

If you're planning to go abroad for medical treatment the NHS may be able to offer you financial and aftercare support. Learn how to apply for treatment abroad and about any risks involved.

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.

Last reviewed: 23/06/2011

Next review due: 23/06/2013


Apply for a free EHIC online at

The EHIC is entirely free of charge. However, other, unofficial, websites may charge you if you apply through them.

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

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

The Tokkels: travel health

If you're travelling abroad the vaccinations you need will depend on where you're going. This Tokkel discovers the importance of preparing before going overseas.