Frequently Asked Questions

If I have a British Citizen passport how can I be classed as an overseas visitor? 

Free NHS Hospital treatment is a residency based system. People who do not normally live in this country are not automatically entitled to use the NHS secondary care free of charge – regardless of their nationality or whether they hold a British passport or have lived  and paid national insurance contributions in this country in the past. This includes British Citizens who are no longer resident in the UK.

I am a temporary visitor from the EEA/Switzerland, can I use an EHIC (or PRC) for maternity care?

Yes, those with valid European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) or Provisional Replacement certificates (PRCs) are covered for all maternity care, including antenatal and postnatal care, providing the reason for their visit was not specifically to give birth or receive maternity treatment.

I live both in the UK and Spain, can I qualify as Ordinarily Resident?

A person can be ordinarily resident in more than one country at once. As long as they are properly settled here, despite spending more time in their other place of residence, they will meet the ordinary residence test. There is no requirement that the time be equally split between the UK and another country in order to maintain ordinary residence in the UK. Where a person has lived in more than one country for several years, consideration needs to be given to whether there is a pattern of regular trips to the UK over the years that demonstrates a sufficient degree of continuity to establish ordinary residence in the UK. The length and number of trips to the UK, family and other relationships with people in the UK, financial, property and other connections to the UK will all be relevant factors in determining if the person is ordinarily resident in the UK despite spending time living in another country. If you live only in Spain, and are only here as a visitor, not as a resident, then they will not meet the ordinary residence test.

I am a EU national wishing to visit the UK for a holiday – am I entitled to free NHS healthcare? 

Visitors who are residents in the EEA and hold a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) are entitled to receive all immediately necessary treatment free of charge or that the need of which arises whilst visiting the UK. If EEA/Swiss visitors do not have a valid EHIC or PRC and no other exemption applies, then they will be personally liable for any treatment other than A&E that they access.  Your European Health Insurance Card will not cover you for elective treatment.

Is it true that emergency treatment is free?

Emergency healthcare is free to everyone ONLY in the Accident & Emergency Department.