There are 2 types of cover available if you’re travelling abroad.

You can apply for either:

  • a UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC)
  • a UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC), if you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement

Apply for a new UK GHIC or UK EHIC.

Your card can take up to 15 working days to arrive.

Read about where you can use a UK GHIC or UK EHIC.

Read about who can apply for a UK GHIC.

Read about who can apply for a UK EHIC.

For most people, the UK GHIC replaces the existing EHIC for new applications. If you have an existing EHIC, it will remain valid until the expiry date on the card.

The UK GHIC and UK EHIC scheme is residency-based. For most applicants, this means you must permanently live in the UK to be entitled to a UK GHIC.

Applying for your card

When you apply, you’ll go through a UK residency check to make sure you’re entitled to a card.

However, there are some exceptions to this, for example applications made on behalf of children.

As part of this check, you may be asked to provide documents to prove you’re a UK resident or have the right to reside in the UK.

If evidence is required to support your application, you'll be notified by email. The email will explain what evidence you can provide and contain a link so you can upload the evidence onto the Overseas Healthcare Services website. The link will be unique to you.

You can upload a copy of your evidence using a picture, scan or saved document.

If you're unable to send your evidence by email or by using the link you’ve been sent, you’re able to send this to us by post.

Overseas Healthcare Services
GHIC applications
Bridge House
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne

Once you’ve uploaded your evidence online, you’ll receive an email. This will confirm your evidence has been submitted and the date we’re processing evidence from.

You have 8 weeks from the application date to provide the evidence. If the evidence is not provided within this time, your application will be withdrawn.

If you’re unable to provide the evidence within 8 weeks, you can contact us using our online form to advise you need more time. You must explain why you need more time.  

If you’ve deleted the email containing the link, you can request this to be resent by contacting us using our online form.

Read more information about your data rights and how we use your information.

A UK GHIC and UK EHIC are usually valid for 5 years. When your card expires, you’ll need to apply for a new one. You can apply up to 9 months before your card expires.

We’re unable to send your card to an address other than where you live.

How to use your card

You can use your card to access medically necessary state-provided healthcare.

Read about where you can use a UK GHIC or UK EHIC.

Medically necessary healthcare means healthcare that cannot reasonably wait until you come back to the UK. Whether treatment is necessary is decided by the healthcare provider in the country you're visiting.

You can use your card while on a temporary stay or temporary stay with a visa.

Read more about temporary stays and visa requirements on the GOV.UK website.

You should also take out a private travel insurance in addition to a UK GHIC or UK EHIC.

If you live in Wales

If you live in Wales, you will receive the Welsh version of the UK GHIC or UK EHIC attached to a letter written in the Welsh language in addition to a letter in English.

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