Healthcare for visitors to the UK from the EU
Information on accessing healthcare for visitors to the UK from EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and treatment
Overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the UK without permission, will not be charged for:
- testing for coronavirus (even if the test shows you do not have coronavirus)
- treatment for coronavirus
What you need to do
If you are visiting the UK from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you should:
- have travel or health insurance that covers the duration of your trip
- bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are eligible to continue using it in the UK
- bring your S1 form if you are eligible to continue using it in the UK
- bring your S2 form if you are eligible for one
- check if you need to apply for an S2 Healthcare Visa
Getting healthcare in England
This information is about getting healthcare in England. The way you access healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could be different from England.
The NHS operates a residence-based healthcare system. This means visitors to England may have to pay for NHS healthcare, depending on their circumstances.
Some services, such as accident and emergency (A&E) and visits to a general practitioner (GP), are free to everyone. Urgent treatment or treatment that cannot safely wait until you leave the country and return home will always be provided, and the matter of payment dealt with later. Only a clinician can decide if your treatment is urgent or immediately necessary.
Medically necessary treatment
If you are visiting the UK from an EU country and you fall ill or have a medical emergency during your temporary stay in England, you can use a valid EHIC issued by your home country to access healthcare.
Your EHIC also covers you for the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, providing the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth or receive treatment.
The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare, being flown back home, or lost or stolen property.
If your EHIC has been lost or stolen during your visit to England and you need a replacement, then you should contact the relevant organisation in your home country to request a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).
If you do not have an EHIC and cannot obtain a PRC, you may have to pay for treatment. You will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.
If you are visiting the UK from Norway, you will be entitled to medically necessary healthcare. You will need to show a valid Norwegian passport.
If you began studying at an accredited UK higher education institute in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you may use your EHIC for medically necessary healthcare until the end of your course, irrespective of your nationality. You must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if your course extends beyond 30 June 2021.
If your course of study in the UK began after 1 January 2021 and lasts for more than 6 months, you will need to pay the immigration health surcharge as a part of your student visa application. You may be eligible for a reimbursement of your surcharge payment in certain circumstances.
Find out when you can have your immigration health surcharge reimbursed
Seeking planned treatment in England
If you are coming to the UK from an EU country for planned health treatment, you will need to make all the necessary arrangements yourself in advance.
Planned treatment is not covered by the EHIC. You will need to arrange an S2 form from the relevant organisation in your home country before you travel to England.
The S2 only covers state-provided treatment and you will not be required to pay anything yourself, except any mandatory patient contributions that patients in England would have to pay, such as prescription costs. You may have to pay for any treatment that is not covered by your S2 form.
If you are coming to the UK from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland and requested authorisation for planned treatment from the relevant authority in your home country before 31 December, you will be able to complete that treatment in the UK, even if it takes place after that date.
UK nationals who no longer live in the UK
Because the NHS is a residency-based system, under NHS rules UK nationals who move abroad on a permanent basis lose their entitlement to free NHS healthcare.
UK nationals living and working in EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland on or before 31 December 2020 and their family members may be eligible to use NHS services without charge. You may be asked to provide evidence of your residency. Please check with the authorities in the member state in which you reside for further information.
If you are a UK national and move to the EU, you should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK unless you have an EHIC, PRC or S2 to show your healthcare costs are funded by the EU country in which you now live, or another exemption applies.
You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country. Any treatment you may have to pay for will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.
Some former UK residents do not have to pay for NHS treatment when visiting England. This includes UK war pensioners, UK government employees, and UK nationals living in the EU on or before 31 December 2020.
You should check before travelling to the UK whether you qualify for an exemption from charging or will be required to pay for your treatment.
If you return to the UK permanently and you are ordinarily resident, you will be able to access NHS care without charge.
Visitors from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland
If you are visiting from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland and began a temporary visit to the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you will be able to access medically necessary treatment while your current visit lasts, even if it extends into 2021.
If your visit began on or after 1 January 2021, you may have to pay for treatment. Any treatment you have to pay for will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.
The government always advises visitors to the UK to take out travel or health insurance. This means that you can reclaim any healthcare costs you are required to pay from your insurer.
Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare coverage to make sure you can get the treatment you need during your visit.
Insurance is particularly important for those with a pre-existing health condition. You must tell your insurance company about any health conditions you have to make sure you can get the cover you need.
Speak to your doctor for advice before you travel and make plans for how to care for your condition when you are in the UK. You should also bring your health condition identification or a letter saying what medication you are taking.
Getting healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
This guidance is about NHS entitlements in England. For more information about accessing healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visit the websites for health services in each country:
Last updated 9 March 2021 + show all updates
Living in Europe
Information for UK nationals living in the EU, EEA EFTA, Switzerland and Ireland before 1 January 2021, including guidance on residency and healthcare.
This guidance is for UK nationals who moved to European countries before 1 January 2021.
Stay up to date
Go to the living in guides for more about the country you live in, and sign up for email alerts on these guides.
UK nationals in the EU
The Withdrawal Agreement
If you were legally resident in an EU country before 1 January 2021, your rights will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.
You will continue to have broadly the same rights to work, study and access public services and benefits as before the UK left the EU.
Residence documents and status
You and your family may need to apply for a new residence status to secure your rights if you were living an EU country before 1 January 2021.
Read the Living in guide for the country you live in to find out what you need to do to secure your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
Your close family members continue to be able to join you. This applies to spouses or registered partners, durable partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents. The relationship must have begun before 31 December 2020.
If you have, or legally adopt, children in the future, and you have custody of them, your children will have rights under the Agreement.
You will keep your rights to healthcare in the EU country you live in, as long as you remain covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. If the UK pays for your healthcare, for example through the S1 scheme, this is included.
If you were living in an EU country before 1 January 2021, you may be eligible for a new UK-issued EHIC if you’re:
- a UK student in an EU country
- a UK State Pensioner with a registered S1
- a frontier worker with a registered S1
Apply for a new UK-issued EHIC.
Pensions and benefits
Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions in the EU.
Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on pension and retirement changes for more information on cross-border pensions.
Citizens’ rights: advice and complaints
The European Commission provides information on citizens’ rights in each EU country. Its assistance service provides advice on your rights, and a way to resolve issues with public bodies in EU countries.
You can also contact the SOLVIT centre in the EU country you are living in, and the European Ombudsman to submit a complaint.
Get advice on your rights in an EU country or submit a complaint directly to public bodies in the EU country where you live, or seek redress through courts and tribunals.
Returning to the UK
Your right to return to live, work and access benefits and services, such as healthcare, in the UK has not changed.
Your close family members will be able to join you in the UK and apply to the EU Settlement Scheme until 29 March 2022 as long as the relationship began before 1 February 2020.
Your children retain their rights to British citizenship.
Read our guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on tax and access to services.
Studying in the EU
If you were living in an EU country before 1 January 2021 you have the same rights to access education as nationals of that country. You also retain home fee status (the fee rate that students who live in that country are charged). If you do not have permanent residence, you may not be entitled to maintenance grants.
Read the guidance for studying in the EU.
Studying in the UK
You continue to be eligible for home fee status (the fee rate that students who live in the UK are charged), as well access to Student Finance or Further Education 19+ funding, if:
- you were living in the EU before 1 January 2021, and you lived in the EU, EEA, EFTA countries, Switzerland, the UK and Gibraltar for at least the 3 years before starting a course in the UK
- you have lived continuously in the EU, EEA, EFTA States, Switzerland, the UK and Gibraltar between 31 December 2020 and the start of your course, and
- the course starts before 1 January 2028
You do not need to have lived in the UK to access this offer. Support from Student Finance will continue to be subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.
Your children will also be eligible for support on the same terms, even if they are not themselves UK nationals, as long as both you and your children meet these conditions.
Read the guidance on support for Higher and Further Education in England.
Read the guidance for studying in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Apprenticeships in the UK
If you live in the EEA or Switzerland, you are eligible to start an apprenticeship in England before 1 August 2021 on the same basis as before the UK left the EU.
You will continue to be eligible for an apprenticeship starting in England from 1 August 2021 if you meet all the eligibility requirements in place at the time. These include:
- you were living in the EEA or Switzerland before 1 January 2021
- you have been living in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK and Gibraltar for at least the last 3 years before you start an apprenticeship
- you have lived continuously in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK and Gibraltar between 31 December 2020 and the start of your apprenticeship
- you will spend at least 50% of your working hours in England during your apprenticeship, and
- the apprenticeship starts before 1 January 2028
Your children will also be eligible for an apprenticeship in England on the same terms, even if they are not themselves UK nationals.
Read further guidance on becoming an apprentice in England.
Read the guidance on apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Owning or renting property in the EU
Rules about owning property, rent, taxation and shared ownership have not changed. However, if you are buying a new property some EU countries have different property acquisition laws for EU citizens and non-EU citizens. Check with local authorities how these might apply to you.
Inheritance tax and wills
Wills made under UK law remain valid. This includes wills that apply to property in the EU. Property abroad continues to be subject to local laws.
Existing double taxation agreements, which the UK has with all EU countries, continue to apply.
Banking and financial services
Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in an EU country is a matter of local law and regulation.
Your bank or finance provider should contact you if they need to make any changes to your product or the way they provide it. If you have any concerns about whether you might be affected, contact your provider or seek independent financial advice.
Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on banking, insurance and financial services for more information on cross-border banking.
Voting in UK elections whilst living overseas
You are entitled to register to vote in UK Parliamentary elections as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after you were last registered to vote in the UK.
Check if you are able to vote. If you are, you can register as an overseas voter.
UK nationals in prison in an EU country
Changes for UK nationals in prison will depend on the approach of each EU country.
Find out about transferring to a UK prison.
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
The EEA EFTA states
The UK has an agreement with the European Economic Area European Free Trade Area (EEA EFTA) states of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway which protect citizens’ rights.
You should also read the living in guides for:
The UK has reached an agreement with Switzerland to protect citizens’ rights.
The UK’s exit from the EU does not affect UK and Irish nationals’ rights in the Common Travel Area. View the Common Travel Area guidance.