The European health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles UK residents to free or reduced-cost emergency treatment when temporarily visiting countries in certain European countries.

You will get the same care as the people who live in the country you’re visiting. This may not be the same as the care you’d expect to get from the NHS.

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.

The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical costs, travelling to a country for health treatment, repatriation or help getting back to the UK.

You can find more information about the EHIC and health advice for travellers online. Visit if you live in England, Scotland or Wales or if you live in Northern Ireland. These websites explain which countries are covered by the EHIC. They also have information about non-EU countries that have mutual agreements to provide health services to visitors from the UK.

You can apply for an EHIC:

  • online
  • by post, using an application form you download from the website
  • by phoning the automated EHIC application service on 0300 330 1350.

Your card will normally arrive within seven days. The EHIC is free and renewals are also free. You should avoid any websites that charge you to apply for an EHIC or to renew it for you.

We have more information on the EHIC and getting healthcare abroad.

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