You can get help for paying for healthcare costs while you’re travelling abroad. Depending on your circumstances, you’ll be able to apply for either:
- a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
- a UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement
For most people, the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaces the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
What these cover
Both cards give you access to state-provided healthcare abroad for things like:
- emergency treatment
- visits to A&E
- routine maternity care, unless you're going abroad to give birth
Both cards provide the same cover but are valid in different countries. Before you plan to go abroad, check where you can use your card.
Your UK EHIC or UK GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance. It may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs. Make sure you have travel insurance as well as a UK EHIC or UK GHIC.
Apply for a UK GHIC or UK EHIC
Apply for a UK GHIC or UK EHIC It’s free to apply for both cards. Beware of unofficial websites which may charge you a fee to apply. These are not necessary, and you do not need to use them.
There is no deadline to apply for a UK GHIC or UK EHIC. If you have an existing EHIC, you can continue to use it until it expires.
Before going abroad, make sure you check the latest COVID-19 travel guidance on GOV.UK.
Temporary cover for emergency treatment abroad
If you do not have a UK GHIC or UK EHIC and need emergency treatment abroad, you can still get help with paying for your treatment.
A Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) will entitle you to the same level of cover as a UK GHIC or UK EHIC, even if you do not have your card with you. This also covers you if you’ve applied for a UK GHIC or UK EHIC and it has not arrived yet.
To get more information, including how to apply, visit our Temporary cover for emergency treatment abroad page.
If you have an existing EHIC
If you have an existing EHIC, it will remain valid until the expiry date on the card. Once your current card expires, you'll need to apply for a UK GHIC.
Eligibility for a UK EHIC If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement
You may be eligible for a new UK EHIC if you meet one of the following criteria:
- you're living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, and have been since before 1 January 2021 with a registered S1, E121, E106 or E109 form issued by the UK
- you're living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, since before 1 January 2021 with an A1 issued by the UK
- you're a national of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland who has legally resided in the UK since before 1 January 2021 and are covered under the Withdrawal Agreement (you may not be covered if you’re also a UK national or if you were born in the UK)
- you're a family member or dependant of an entitled individual already listed
- you're a Chen or Ibrahim/Teixeira carer