Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and treatment
Overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the UK without permission, will not be charged for:
- testing for coronavirus (even if the test shows you do not have coronavirus)
- treatment for coronavirus
What you need to do
If you are visiting the UK from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you should:
- have travel or health insurance that covers the duration of your trip
- bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are eligible to continue using it in the UK
- bring your S1 form if you are eligible to continue using it in the UK
- bring your S2 form if you are eligible for one
- check if you need to apply for an S2 Healthcare Visa
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. This means all visitors to England may have to pay for NHS healthcare, depending on their circumstances.
Medically necessary treatment
If you are visiting the UK from an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland and you fall ill or have an accident during your temporary stay in England, you may have to pay for NHS healthcare. Any treatment you have to pay for will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.
Some services, such as Accident & Emergency (A&E) and visits to a GP, are free to everyone. Urgent treatment, or treatment which cannot safely wait until you leave the country and return home will always be provided, and the matter of payment dealt with later. Only a clinician can decide if your treatment is urgent or immediately necessary.
There are some visitors from EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland who can continue to access medically necessary treatment in the UK. This includes UK nationals living and working in EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland on or before 31 December 2020, and their family members. You may be asked to provide evidence of your residency in an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Please check with the authorities in the Member State in which you reside for further information.
If you began a temporary visit to the UK on or before 31 December 2020, you will be able to access medically necessary treatment while your current visit lasts, even if it extends into 2021. You will not be covered for any subsequent visits.
For visitors from EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland who can continue to access medically necessary treatment in the UK, you will need to provide an EHIC issued by your EU country of residence when accessing that treatment. Some countries however have determined that their EHICs will not be valid for use in the UK after 31 December 2020. Visitors from those countries will be able to request a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) instead. You should check before travelling to the UK whether you can use your EHIC or require a PRC.
If you are studying at an accredited higher education institute in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 you may use your EHIC or PRC for medically necessary healthcare until the end of your course. You must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if your course extends beyond 30 June 2021.
If your course of study in the UK begins after 1 January 2021 and lasts for more than 6 months, you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as a part of your Student Visa application.
If you are a family member of a frontier worker (someone who lives in an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland and was working in the UK in that capacity on or before 31 December 2020) , you can receive NHS treatment for free if it becomes medically necessary during a temporary visit to England. However, you need to be able to present a copy of your S1 form.
The EHIC and PRC are not alternatives to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare, being flown back home, or lost or stolen property.
If your EHIC has been lost or stolen during your visit to England and you need a replacement, then you should 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, or are seeking treatment which is not covered by your EHIC, you may have to pay for treatment. The treatment you receive will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.
Seeking planned treatment in England
If you are coming to the UK from an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland and have requested authorisation from the relevant organisation in your home country for planned treatment under the S2 route on or before 31 December 2020, you will be able to complete that treatment in England, even if that treatment happens after that date. You will need to make all the necessary arrangements yourself in advance. If you are not a citizen of an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you may need to apply for an S2 Healthcare Visa.
The S2 only covers state-provided treatment and you will not be required to pay anything yourself, except any mandatory patient contributions that patients in England would have to pay, such as prescription costs. You may have to pay for any treatment which is not covered by your S2 form.
From 1 January 2021, some visitors may continue to use the S2 route for planned treatment in the UK. Please check with the authorities in the Member State in which you reside for further information.
If you are not eligible for an S2, you will be charged for that treatment at 150% of the national NHS rate.
UK nationals who no longer live in the UK
Because the NHS is a residency-based system, under NHS rules UK nationals who move abroad on a permanent basis generally lose their entitlement to free NHS healthcare.
If you are a UK national and move to an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland on or after 1 January 2021, you should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK. You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country. Any treatment you may have to pay for will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.
Some former UK residents do not have to pay for NHS treatment when visiting England. This includes UK war pensioners, UK government employees, and UK nationals living in EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerlandon or before 31 December 2020 who will be able to use a UK S1 or an EHIC, PRC or S2 issued by the country where they live.
You should check before travelling to the UK whether you qualify for an exemption from charging or will be required to pay for your treatment.
If you return to the UK permanently and you are ordinarily resident, you will be able to access NHS care without charge.
The government always advises visitors to the UK to take out travel or health insurance in order to be able to reclaim healthcare costs you are required to pay from your insurer.
Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare coverage to make sure you can get the treatment you need during your visit.
Insurance is particularly important for those with a pre-existing health condition. You must tell your insurance company about any health conditions you have to make sure you can get the cover you need.
Speak to your doctor for advice before you travel and make plans for how to care for your condition when you are in the UK. You should also bring your health condition identification or a letter saying what medication you are taking.
Getting healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
This guidance is about NHS entitlements in England. For more information about accessing healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visit the websites for health services in each country: