Welfare News - Travel Health and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

29th July 2015

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Your EHIC is valid throughout the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The EEA consists of the European Union member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

You can apply for an EHIC online.


Alternatively, you can apply by phone on:

phone: 0300330 1350

You can apply on behalf of your partner and any of your children under 16 (or under 19 if they're in full-time education). Every family member requires an EHIC.

The EHIC enables you to access reduced-cost, sometimes free, state-provided healthcare that becomes necessary during your trip because of either illness or an accident. It also covers you for pre-existing conditions.

EHICs are valid for up to five years. You should apply for a new one before its expiry date - you can apply up to six months before your old card expires. The easiest way to apply is online (using the green button above) if none of your personal details have changed, or by phone on:

phone: 0300 330 1350

Contacting 08 and 03 telephone numbers

You can find out more at the following link:

Learn about the EHIC and apply or renew (NHS Choices website)(external link)

Replacing a lost or stolen EHIC

If you need to replace a lost or stolen EHIC, contact:

phone: 0300 330 1350 email: nhsbsa.ehicenquiries@nhsbsa.nhs.uk

Before you travel

As well as getting an EHIC, there are things you can do before you go abroad to protect you and your family's health. Before travelling:

  • buy adequate and appropriate travel insurance

  • check the NHS Choices website for information about healthcare in the country you are going to

  • check the GOV.UK website for the latest medical advice for travellers

  • find out what vaccinations you need at least six weeks before you travel – your GP surgery will be able to tell you

  • take enough supplies of any medication that you have been prescribed and carry a copy of the prescription with you

  • carry any medical letters about your health condition to help doctors and nurses abroad if you are taken ill

  • Travel insurance

  • Travel insurance for people with disabilities

Contact your GP, practice nurse or travel clinic forup-to-date information on any immunisations your child may need.

Some countries expect you to pay your health bill when you are treated and then claim a refund using your EHIC. You should always try to apply for your refund before you travel home.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary). You or your insurance company may need them if you're applying for a refund or reimbursement.

For details on how to claim a refund, see the information for the country you're visiting at the following link:

Country-by-country guide (NHS Choices website) (externallink)