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Date: 17 February 2020
The NHS in England is a residence-based system. This means that not everyone is entitled to free NHS hospital treatment. An overseas visitor is any person who is not 'ordinarily resident' in the UK.
If you think that you are exempt from charges, a member of our Overseas Visitors Team will ask you to provide evidence to confirm that you are eligible to have free NHS treatment – we are required by law to do this.
The baseline questions you will be asked are:
- Do you have a non-UK EHIC/PRC/S2?
- Where have you lived for the past six months?
- Do you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK?
- Do you have a valid visa or leave to enter/remain in the UK?
- Have you paid the health surcharge or are you exempt or waived from paying it?
Visitors from the European Economic Area (EEA)
If you fall ill or have a medical emergency during your temporary stay in England, then you'll need a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) (see 'Links' below) issued by your home country. If you can't show a valid EHIC, you may be charged for your treatment.
If your EHIC has been lost or stolen during your visit in England and you need a replacement, then you'll have to contact the relevant organisation in your home country to request a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).
If you do not have an EHIC and cannot obtain a PRC, you may have to pay for treatment at the standard NHS rate.
Visitors from a non-EEA country
You need to ensure you are covered for healthcare through personal medical or travel insurance for the duration of your visit even if you are a former UK resident. If you need NHS treatment and you have not arranged insurance, you will be charged unless an exemption category applies to either you or the treatment.
For further up-to-date information on categories of people who are exempt from charges is available on the NHS Choices website (see 'Links' below).
If we decide that you are not entitled to free NHS treatment (in accordance with current overseas visitors hospital charging regulations), you will have to pay for your treatment and the full cost of any prescribed medication and asked to sign an ‘Undertaking to Pay’ form.
We prefer you to pay by banker’s draft, although we do accept credit and debit cards, or cash.
If you have travel insurance you will have to pay for your treatment first and then reclaim it back from your insurance company afterwards. If for any reason, you require further treatment, additional charges will be made.
To discuss your circumstances please contact our Overseas Visitors Team.
Tel: 0121 371 5627
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