Health information for international students
When you applied for the Tier 4/student visa you most likely would have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which entitles you to use the National Health Service (NHS). Dependants would have been required to pay the IHS charge as well. When you or your dependant(s) are accessing healthcare, it is important to take your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with you just in case they ask to see it.
If you have not paid the IHS because you have a visa to study, work or join family in the UK for less than 6 months and you did not apply in the UK, you are still allowed to use NHS services. However, you will be charged for using them, therefore you may want to purchase insurance.
Doctors (GP) and hospital
Registration is free and so is the appointment. Although if you require vaccinations for travel, a sickness certificate, or a doctor’s note, you will have to pay and the cost varies depending on the GP. If a doctor prescribes you some medication, you will have to pay the set NHS prescription charge per item, unless you meet the requirements below.
If you have certain medical conditions, you may be eligible for free NHS prescriptions. If you are eligible for this, your doctor will give you the application form to complete to obtain the Medical Exemption Certificate. For more information about the Medical Exemption Certificate.
EHIC and GHIC
EHIC: European Health Insurance Card
GHIC: Global Health Insurance Card
EHIC and GHIC allow the cardholder to receive free or discounted medical care, the same as the citizens in the country they are visiting. Students will need to check with their home country if they can apply for the European/Global Health Insurance Card for their time in the UK. If students already have EHIC/GHIC card, it is best to check if it’s still valid to be used in the UK.
The latest information about the European Health Insurance Card can be found on the Government's website.
For students who are planning to be here for a short period of time, we would advise them to purchase insurance, just to be safe.
For all the latest information on medial and general health in the UK including registering for a doctor and emergency help, please visit the Medical and General Health section of Essentials.