If you visit the UK from another country, you may be able to have free NHS healthcare.
Most healthcare in the UK is provided by the National Health Service (NHS). People who usually live in the UK and are legally allowed to live here (ordinary residents) get most NHS healthcare free. This includes care from a general practitioner (GP) or family doctor, and treatment in a hospital or clinic. People may pay for some NHS services, such as prescriptions, dental care and eye care.
People living in the UK may also choose to pay for private healthcare. This is provided by private companies and is separate to the NHS.
If you visit the UK from another country, you are known as an overseas visitor. You may be able to have some NHS healthcare free. There are rules about this. If you are not eligible for free NHS healthcare, you will have to pay. If the healthcare professional advising you thinks that the treatment you need can wait until you return home, you will have to pay if you want to have it in the UK.
You may also choose to travel to the UK and pay for private healthcare.
This information is for people affected by cancer who:
- are visiting the UK from another country
- used to live in the UK and are returning to live in the UK permanently
- used to live in the UK but now live in another country
- are refugees or asylum seekers in the UK
- are victims or suspected victims of modern slavery or human trafficking
- want to pay for private healthcare in the UK.
This information is only a general guide. There are lots of rules about whether you can have free NHS treatment if you are an overseas visitor. This can depend on where you come from, what type of visa you have, and your family and work situation. You can find out more from the organisations listed in this information (see ‘Useful organisations’ below). Some UK hospitals give information and support to overseas visitors. This is usually provided by a person called an overseas visitors manager.