How do I get an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)?
The quickest way is to apply online. Your EHIC will normally arrive within seven days and it will be valid for five years.
Is there a charge for an EHIC?
No. EHICs are free. Beware of unofficial websites that may charge you to apply.
Applying for your EHIC
Most people can apply for an EHIC online or by phone – call 0845 606 2030. Some people can only apply by post which takes longer. To find out more, see applying and renewing.
Does each person travelling need their own card?
Yes. You can use the same EHIC application to apply for cards for:
any dependant children under 19 in full-time education
You’ll need to provide these details for each person:
National Insurance number or NHS number (CHI in Scotland or Health and Care Number in Northern Ireland)
first names and surname (family name)
date of birth
If you’re under 16, your parent or guardian will need to apply for you.
When and where can I use my EHIC?
You can use your EHIC when you visit a country in the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland, for example, on a holiday or business trip.
You cannot use your EHIC if you’re moving abroad to live, work or study or going abroad for planned treatment.
What does the EHIC cover?
The EHIC covers:
medical treatment you may need during your visit if you’re ill or have an accident
treatment for long-term (chronic) conditions and existing illnesses, such as kidney (renal) dialysis
routine maternity care as long as you aren’t going abroad specifically to give birth
The EHIC does not cover private medical treatment.
Will I have to pay for treatment?
Many countries expect patients to pay towards the cost of their treatment. The EHIC allows you to access healthcare from state providers on the same basis as a resident of the country you’re visiting. This means at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge.
Even with an EHIC, you may have to pay towards your treatment, depending on the rules in the country you’re visiting. You may be able to claim the money back – always try to apply for a refund before you return home. For more information, see using an EHIC.
Do I still need travel insurance?
Yes. Make sure you have valid travel insurance for your trip. For more information, see about the EHIC.
Renewing your EHIC
You can renew your EHIC up to six months before the expiry date. The quickest way to renew it is online. You can also renew it by phone or post but this takes longer.
Read the answers to more questions about travel health.