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European Health Insurance Card

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

Travel insurance companies may offer a discount if you have an EHIC and are travelling to a country where it is valid. Some travel insurance providers will require you to have one before they can insure you.

Applying for an EHIC

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.

You can find more information about the EHIC and health advice for travellers online.

Visit nhs.uk/healthcareabroad if you live in England, Scotland or Wales or nidirect.gov.uk/travelling-abroad if you live in Northern Ireland.