Detailed guide: Healthcare for EU citizens living in or moving to the UK

What you need to do

If you were living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you should:

  • apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021, if you are eligible
  • apply for a frontier worker permit by 1 July 2021, if you are eligible
  • apply for an S1 certificate if you are eligible and do not have one
  • register your S1 certificate

If you are moving to the UK, you should:

  • check if you need a visa or permit to come to the UK
  • check if a family member needs a visa or permit to join you in the UK
  • pay the immigration health surcharge, if required
  • apply for an S1 certificate if you are eligible and do not have one
  • register your S1 certificate

Getting healthcare in England

This information is about getting healthcare in England. The way you access healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could be different from England.

The NHS operates a residence-based healthcare system. Most NHS services are free to people who are ordinarily resident in the UK. This means living in the UK on a lawful and properly settled basis for the time being. You may be asked to prove this when seeking healthcare.

If you are not ordinarily resident in the UK, you will be an overseas visitor and may be charged for NHS services.

For a detailed definition of what being ordinarily resident means, see the GOV.UK guidance.

Living in the UK before 31 December 2020

If you are a citizen of an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, and were living lawfully in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you will be able to use the NHS in England.

If you wish to continue residing in the UK, to maintain your entitlement to free NHS healthcare after 30 June 2021, you must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Once you have been granted either pre-settled or settled status, or while your application is pending, you will not be charged for your healthcare, as long as you continue to be ordinarily resident in the UK. You may be asked to show that you hold pre-settled or settled status when seeking healthcare.

If you do not apply by 30 June 2021, you could lose your right to access free healthcare.

In line with our longstanding commitments under the Common Travel Area, Irish citizens do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, although they may do so if they wish. Irish citizens living in the UK will continue to access healthcare in the UK on the same terms as a UK resident.

For more information on the EU Settlement Scheme, see the Home Office guidance.

You may be entitled to NHS healthcare paid for by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, if you were living lawfully in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, and hold an S1 certificate, for example because you receive either a state pension or certain exportable benefits from that country, or if you are a frontier worker (someone who lives in an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, and works in the UK), or a posted worker (someone who usually works in one country but is sent temporarily to work in to another).

If you do not have an S1 certificate, you can apply for one from the relevant health insurance authority.

If you began studying in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you may use your EHIC for medically necessary healthcare until the end of your course in the UK. You must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if your course extends beyond 30 June 2021.

Moving to the UK

If you move to the UK to work, study or to settle, you will be subject to immigration control. This means you will need a visa or permit from the Home Office in order to be lawfully in the UK. You may need to pay the immigration health surcharge as part of your visa application.

You can only be considered ordinarily resident if youve been given the immigration status of indefinite leave to remain (the right to live here on a permanent basis).

Immigration health surcharge

If you are coming to the UK for stays of more than 6 months, you may be required to pay an immigration health surcharge at the time of your visa application. The full amount will be paid upfront for the duration of your visa.

In line with our longstanding commitments under the Common Travel Area, Irish citizens will not be subject to the immigration health surcharge.

See full details about the immigration health surcharge, including exemptions.

If youve paid the surcharge or are exempt from paying it, you will be entitled to free NHS hospital treatment in England on a similar basis to an ordinarily resident person, with the exception of NHS-funded assisted conception services. Your entitlement will apply from the date your visa is granted until it expires. You will have to pay some charges, such as prescription or dental charges.

If you are coming to England for 6 months or less or fail to pay the surcharge when you are required to, youll be charged for certain NHS services unless an exemption applies or you are covered by a reciprocal healthcare agreement.

Working in the UK

If you are an EU frontier worker (someone who lives in an EU country and works in the UK), you can access NHS healthcare.

If you are an EU or Norwegian posted worker (someone employed or self-employed in an EU country or Norway but temporarily sent to work in the UK), you can access healthcare in England.

Family members of citizens of EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland

If you are a citizen of an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland and have a family member who wishes to join you in the UK, they must apply for a family visa or permit.

If you were living in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 and you are eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, your eligible family members will need either to apply for a family permit to come to the UK and then apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. In certain circumstances, they may be able to apply direct to the EU Settlement Scheme from overseas. This will secure their entitlement to free healthcare in the UK.

Any family member with whom you have a new relationship, formed after 1 January 2021, must apply for a visa. They may be eligible to do so under the family Rules, however, most family visas do not entitle the holder access to public funds or free healthcare.

If you were not living in the UK before 1 January 2021, and do not have status under the EU settlement scheme, both you and your family members need to apply for an appropriate visa.

See more information about family visas and permits.

Family members of people of Northern Ireland

If you have a family member who is an eligible person of Northern Ireland, and who lives in the UK, you may be able to join that person in the UK without paying the immigration health surcharge.

See the definition of an eligible person of Northern Ireland.

Instead, you may be eligible to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme on the basis of that relationship.

Once you have either pre-settled or settled status you will not be charged for your healthcare, as long as you continue to be ordinarily resident in the UK.

See more information about applying to join family living permanently in the UK.

Children born in the UK to those here lawfully for more than 6 months

If you give birth to a child in the UK, your child will be entitled to free NHS hospital treatment in England on the same basis as someone who is ordinarily resident.

Your child is covered until 3 months of age, but only if they do not leave the UK during that period.

You will also need to have either:

  • a valid visa of more than 6 months and have paid the immigration health surcharge for that visa
  • a valid visa of more than 6 months but were exempt from paying the immigration health surcharge
  • a valid visa of more than 6 months, which you applied for prior to 6 April 2015

You should apply for a visa for your child during the 3-month period after your childs birth. You may have to pay the immigration health s



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