EHIC special report – How to get an European Health Insurance Card ?

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    The quickest and easiest way is to apply online. Your card will normally arrive within seven days. Some people can only apply for an EHIC by post but this method will take longer.


    • To apply by phone, call 0845 606 2030.
    • To apply by post, get a form from your local post office. Send the completed form to EHIC Applications, PO Box 1114, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 2TL.

    For information, see Applying and renewing your EHIC. There is no charge for an EHIC.

    Does each person need their own card?

    Yes. You can apply for more than one EHIC at the same time. You can apply for EHICs for:

    • yourself,
    • your partner, and
    • any children under 18 who are in full-time education.

    When you apply, 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), and
    • date of birth.

    If you’re under 16, your parent or guardian will need to apply for you.

    Where can I use an EHIC?

    The EHIC is valid when you temporarily visit a country in the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland, e.g. for a holiday or a business trip. For more information, go to Which countries offer reduced cost or free medical treatment for visitors from the UK?

    Different rules apply if you’re moving abroad to live, work or study. See What services can I get through the NHS if I move abroad?

    What treatment does an EHIC cover?

    The EHIC entitles you to state-provided medical treatment at reduced cost or sometimes free, if you become ill or have an accident during your stay.

    The EHIC also covers:

    • treatment for long-term and existing illnesses, such as dialysis for kidney disease, and
    • routine maternity care.

    Each country’s healthcare system is slightly different so your EHIC may not cover everything that would be free on the NHS. Many countries expect patients to pay towards their treatment. You may be able to claim the money back in the other country or when you return to the UK.

    Private treatment is not covered by the EHIC. Neither are privately run services. For example, some state-run hospitals in other countries have private ambulance services.

    The EHIC does not cover going abroad for planned medical treatmentor to give birth to your baby. For more information, see Going abroad for planned treatment.

    Renewing your EHIC

    Your EHIC will be valid for up to five years. You need to apply for a new EHIC before the expiry date. You can renew your EHIC up to six months before the expiry date.

    The quickest way to renew your EHIC is online. You can also renew it by phone or post, as described above, but this takes longer.

    Further information:


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