What is an EHIC?
An EHIC is a European Health Insurance Card. If you're a citizen of the UK, the card entitles you to free or discounted medical treatment when you're in an EU country.
You follow the same rules as a citizen of that country – so if their medical care is completely free, so is yours.
An estimated 5.2 million EHICs are set to expire in 2018 – if you already have one, check the expiry date.
To get one, just fill out an application on the EHIC website or by calling the NHS on 0300 330 1350. Once you've got a card, it's valid for the next 5 years.
Your card is valid for five years and each card covers just one person. If you have a child under 16, include them on your application and you’ll both receive your own EHIC.
You can also get treatment for a chronic or pre-existing medical condition during your trip. The EHIC card must be carried with you at all times if you need treatment – so pop it in your bag or wallet when you're out and about.
Your EHIC card is valid in the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus (Southern), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The EHIC is valuable protection, but it isn't a replacement for travel insurance.
By having both, you reduce the risk of large medical bills, delays in treatment and a huge amount of stress in the event of a medical emergency.
You pay the same as a citizen of the country you are currently in. That means if citizens of that country are expected to pay for medical treatment, you will too.
By Telephone - You can telephone the NHSBSA automated EHIC Application Line on 0300 330 1350. Your application should be processed within 10 days. There will be no charge for making your application in this way.
Online - You can use the NHSBSA website which can be found at www.nhs.uk/ehic to apply for your EHIC. There will be no charge for making your application in this way and you should receive your card(s) within 7 - 10 working days. Alternatively you can use our check and send service. Customers utilising our application service can normally expect to receive their card(s) within 10 - 14 working days. Prior to forwarding your application to the NHSBSA on the official website our staff will examine your application for errors made during the application process, such as undeliverable addresses and incorrect eligibility ages. A processing fee of £29.98 will be charged to cover administrative and operational expenses.
All applications processed by us are fast tracked to ensure you receive your card(s) as quickly as possible.