International (including European) students with Student Immigration permission for 6 + months
International students (including nationals of the EU, Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland) who have a Student visa valid for longer than 6 months, will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their visa application. This entitles them to the same healthcare as a resident in the UK.
You should register with a doctor (GP) as soon as possible once you are in the UK. It may be possible to register online. Find out how to register on the Student Health web pages.
International (including European) students who live in the UK and are registered with a GP will be able to access the COVID-19 vaccine, just as they are currently able to access healthcare. This means that, as it stands at the time of writing, older international students or those with underlying medical conditions will fall into priority categories, in the same way as the domestic population. Individuals will be contacted by their GP to book their vaccine via an online or telephone system – there is no need for students to proactively contact their GP about the COVID-19 vaccine.
International students with Visitor permission
International students with Visitor permission are advised to obtain insurance before travelling to the UK, to cover any medical treatment required in the UK. Your private medical insurance should be obtained from the beginning of your stay and should cover the whole length of your stay.
European students with Visitor permission
Visitors to the UK from an EU country who fall ill or have a medical emergency during a temporary stay in England can use a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by their home country to access healthcare.
The EHIC (or a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC)) will cover treatment that becomes medically necessary during a visit to England. It also covers the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, providing the reason for visiting is not specifically to give birth or receive treatment.
An EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and visitors should have both when travelling to the UK. An EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare, being flown back home, or lost or stolen property.
Visitors to the UK from Norway will be able to access medically necessary care in the UK by presenting a valid Norwegian passport.
Visitors from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland who fall ill or have a medical emergency during a temporary stay in England may have to pay for NHS healthcare. We advise that you obtain private medical insurance before travelling.
EU/EEA/Swiss nationals with a status under the EU Settlement Scheme
Those who are either eligible to apply or have been granted Pre-Settled or Settled Status will continue to have full access to NHS services. Check if you are required to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.
Nationals of the Republic of Ireland
If you are an Irish citizen you can get free NHS healthcare when you start living in the UK – it will not depend on the date. This is because access to healthcare is covered by the Common Travel Area (CTA) administrative arrangements. Under the CTA, British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to study, as well as access to social welfare benefits and health services.
Immigration health surcharge reimbursement for European students
You may be entitled to a full or partial refund of your immigration health surcharge payment if all of the following are true:
- you’re a full-time student in UK higher education
- your visa is valid from 1 January 2021
- you have an EHIC issued in an EU country
- you do not work in the UK
See the UK government web pages for more details about eligibility and how to apply from January 2022.
The information in this post is based on the current UK government information, and is correct at the time of writing, but subject to change. See Queen Mary’s accessing healthcare web page for the most up-to-date information.