If you’re not a UK resident when you need treatment, you’re classed as an overseas visitor.
NHS hospitals have a legal duty to establish if you need to pay for treatment or, if you’re exempt from charges. Where there’s no exemption, you’ll be charged for your treatment.
When you arrive at the hospital, you’ll need to confirm how long you have lived in the UK. You may have to complete a form and provide documents to prove that you’re normally a UK resident.
UK residency usually applies if you’re living in the UK on a lawful and properly settled basis. It’s not guaranteed by:
If you cannot provide documents to prove your UK residency, you may have to pay a deposit equal to the estimated cost of your treatment. You will need to pay the deposit before your appointment or treatment.
If a doctor or nurse determines your treatment as urgent, or you need maternity services, you’ll receive immediate treatment. You’ll then need to pay for your treatment when you receive an invoice from the hospital.
You can use the following documents as proof of UK residency. You must provide one photographic document for identity purposes, and an additional document as proof of your address.
Identity proof includes:
Proof of address documents must contain your current address and be less than six months old. This includes:
If you need treatment during your visit to the UK, you’ll need to show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you do not have an EHIC card, you’ll need to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). A PRC will provide the same cover as an EHIC until you return home.
If you do not have either of these documents, and cannot demonstrate that you’re exempt from charges, you’ll need to pay for your treatment. You can recover the costs from your healthcare abroad team when you return home.
It’s your responsibility to apply for a PRC and provide it the hospital. To apply for a PRC contact your country’s issuing authority. You can find their contact details on the European Commission website.
If you fail to pay for necessary NHS treatment, you may not be allowed to remain in the UK. Any future applications for UK entry may also be denied. The Home Office may receive necessary, non-medical information via the Department of Health and Social Care for this purpose.
Some services or treatments carried out in an NHS hospital are free to everyone. These include:
Contact the Overseas Visitors Team from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm on 01872 252245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the NHS website for more information on how to access NHS services if you’re an overseas visitor.