The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles UK residents to free or reduced-cost emergency treatment when temporarily visiting the European Union (EU) and certain other European countries. The EHIC has replaced the E111 form, which can no longer be used.The EHIC:
- allows you to be treated in the same way as a resident of the country you’re visiting. This may not be the same as the care you'd expect to get from the NHS or Health Service
- can be used if you need to have ongoing treatment while you’re abroad, such as regular injections
- covers treatments that are needed during your trip for chronic or pre-existing conditions.
The EHIC should allow you to receive emergency medical treatment and, in some cases, the types of ongoing treatment mentioned above. The EHIC can’t be used instead of travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical costs, travelling to a country for health treatment, medical evacuation or help getting back to the UK. You should also buy travel insurance.
Some countries expect you to pay your bill when you’re treated and then claim a refund with your EHIC. You should try to apply for a refund before you return to the UK. Each person travelling needs to carry an EHIC, including children. To get cards for children, you should list them as dependents when you apply for your own card. Each country’s healthcare system is different, so your EHIC may not cover everything that would be free on the NHS or Health Service.
Applying for an EHIC
The EHIC is free and renewals are also free. You should avoid any websites that charge to apply for or renew an EHIC for you.
You can apply for the EHIC if you are legally living in, and settled in, the UK. If you usually live in the UK, but are not a national of the UK, another EEA country or Switzerland, you will need to apply by post. You will need to include proof that you are ordinarily resident in the UK.
You can apply for an EHIC:
- online at nhs.uk/ehic
- by post, using an application form you’ve downloaded from the website
- by phoning 0845 606 2030.
For each person who needs a card, you will need to give their:
- date of birth
- national insurance or NHS number (England and Wales), CHI number (Scotland) or Health and Care Number (Northern Ireland).
Your card will normally arrive within seven days. When it arrives, store it somewhere safe and secure. Keep it with your passport while you’re travelling.
The EHIC is valid in the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Your EHIC is only valid for five years before it needs to be renewed. It’s a good idea to make sure yours hasn’t expired before you travel.