All About the E111 / EHIC

Below you will find out everything you need to know about the E111 European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

What is Covered?

The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care.

The EHIC also covers any treatment you need for a chronic disease or pre-existing illness. You need to make arrangements in advance for kidney dialysis and oxygen therapy. To arrange for kidney dialysis while you're away, contact your NHS renal unit in the UK before you travel. For limited information on oxygen supply services in the EEA countries and Switzerland, call the Department of Health's Customer Service Centre on 020 7210 4850.

Remember that the EHIC won't cover you if getting medical treatment is the main purpose of your trip. You are advised to take out comprehensive private insurance for visits to all countries, regardless of whether you are covered by your EHIC.

Your EHIC should cover you for routine maternity care while you are away. However, if you are going to an EEA country or Switzerland specifically to have your baby, you will need an E112 form.

In Summary, the EHIC will cover:

  • Any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your stay because of either illness or an accident.
  • The card gives access to reduced-cost or free medical treatment from state healthcare providers.
  • It allows you to be treated on the same basis as a resident of the country you are visiting i.e. you may have to pay a patient contribution (also known as a co-payment). You may be able to seek reimbursement for this when you are back in the UK if you are not able to do so in the other country (and limited to the equivalent cost on the NHS).
  • It includes treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition that becomes necessary during your visit.
  • It includes routine maternity care, (provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth).
  • It includes the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care.

It does not cover:

  • The EHIC is not a substitute or replacement for private travel insurance. You should always take out an appropriate private policy in addition to carrying your EHIC.
  • It will not cover the costs of private healthcare or services that are not part of the state healthcare system.
  • It will not cover the costs of being brought back to the UK.
  • It will not allow you to go abroad to specifically receive treatment (including going abroad to give birth).
  • The card may not be used in some regions, as there may be no state provided healthcare available.

Who Is Eligible?

If you are a UK resident, you are entitled to medical treatment that becomes necessary, at reduced cost or sometimes free, when temporarily visiting a European Union (EU) country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Only treatment provided under the state scheme is covered.

However, to obtain treatment you will need to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. Please note: Not all UK residents are covered in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Click on the 'Health Advice for Travellers' link below, if you are unsure whether you are covered.

People who are ordinarily resident in the UK are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC. It is not valid for people who are going to live abroad. There are some restrictions, depending on your nationality:

  • UK and other EU nationals, stateless persons and refugees are covered in all EEA countries and Switzerland. However, if you are a national of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, your EHIC is not valid in Switzerland.
  • Nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are covered in all EEA countries but not in Switzerland.
  • People who do not have UK, EU, EEA or Swiss nationality are covered in all EU countries but not in Denmark, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. In Iceland, these people are covered for emergency treatment only.
  • Swiss nationals are covered in all EU countries but not in Liechtenstein or Norway. In Iceland they are covered for emergency treatment only.
  • Dependants of EEA nationals who are ordinarily resident in the UK are covered in all EEA countries and Switzerland, irrespective of their own nationality.

What Are the Requirements?

You can apply for an EHIC for your spouse/partner and any children up to the age of 16 (or 19 if they are in full-time education) at the same time as applying for your own. If you are a foster parent or guardian (including boarding school teaching staff), you can apply on behalf of any children you are looking after.

You must be over 16 to apply as a main applicant.

Before you apply, you will need to have the following information to hand for everyone you are applying for:

  • Name and Date of Birth
  • NHS or National Insurance (NI) Number.

In Scotland the NHS number is known as the Community Health Index (CHI) number and in Northern Ireland it is known as the Health and Care number).

The EHIC is issued by the Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA) and is free of charge.