1/07/2013 -- Mary Simpson
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The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the old E111 in 2006.

1 What is covered by the EHIC?

  • Necessary medical treatment for illness/accident while on holiday in the Euro zone.
  • Pre-existing conditions that need routine monitoring (heart condition, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes).
  • Oxygen and kidney dialysis pre-booked before your trip.
  • Routine maternity care (not giving birth).

Each country’s healthcare is different so your EHIC might not cover everything that’s free on the NHS. See county-by-country guide for more info.

2 What’s not covered by the EHIC?

Private medical healthcare or costs such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to UK for hospital treatment, holiday cancellation, missed departure, lost luggage.

So it’s vital to have both an EHIC card and comprehensive travel insurance, especially over 65s with pre-existing medical conditions.

Some insurers now insist you hold an EHIC and most will waive the excess if you have one.

Medical expenses specifically for treatment abroad not covered. See planned treatment abroad.

3 Is there a charge for an EHIC?

Free using the official EHIC online application form. Unofficial websites may charge.

4 Where can I use the EHIC?

The European Economic Area (EEA) free trade zone, i.e., European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Also Switzerland.  See NHS country-by-country guide for areas covered.

5 Who can apply for an EHIC?

Anyone permanently resident in UK of British, other EU/EEA or Swiss nationality over 16 years of age.  See FAQ no. 7 if you’re not a UK, EAA or Swiss citizen.

Residents of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man not eligible.

If under 16 a parent or guardian must apply for you. Boarding school teaching staff can apply for children in their care.

6 How do I apply for an EHIC?

Apply for your EHIC online.  Phone the automated service on 0300 3301350.  Or download an application form (PDF, 122kb) and return to:

NHS Business Services Authority, European Health Insurance Card, EHIC applications, Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 6SN.

For each person you apply for (yourself, partner, dependent children in full-time education under 19) you must give full name, date of birth, National Insurance or NHS number. (CHI no. in Scotland/Health and Care no. in Northern Ireland)

Your card normally arrives in 7-10 days if you apply using the official process.

7 How do I apply for an EHIC if I’m not a UK, EAA or Swiss citizen?

You can’t apply online. You must supply proof of UK residency, eg visa, letter from the Home Office/your employer or approved A1, S1, E101, E106, E109 form.

Complete the application form (PDF, 122Kb) and post to NHS Business Services Authority at the address in FAQ no. 6. 

8 Will my partner and children need separate cards?

Yes. Every family member requires a card.  See FAQ no. 5 on how to apply for an EHIC.

9 How do I get an EHIC for my child?

Apply free via EHIC online application route in your name and include your child as your dependant. You’ll each receive your own EHIC. Or call 0300 3301350.

10 I already have an EHIC.  Can I add another family member?

Yes.  Apply free on the official EHIC online application route. Enter your own details first then apply for additional cards when prompted. Or call 0300 3301350. 

11 How long is the EHIC valid for?

5 years. Check that your EHIC is still valid before you travel.

12 How do I renew my card?

Renew your EHIC  online if personal details haven’t changed.

If they have, you need to supply the PIN no. on your current EHIC card. Otherwise, call 0300 3301350. You can renew up to 6 months before expiry date. Time left on the card won’t be added to your new card.

13 What happens if my card is lost or stolen?

In the UK, call 0300 3301350, email or write to EHIC Enquiries, PO Box 1114, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 2TL with full name, UK address, date of birth and if known EHIC Personal Identification no (PIN).

If abroad, you or someone on your behalf can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) which gives the same cover as an EHIC until you return home.

Tel: Overseas Healthcare Team on 00 44 191 218 1999 (Mon to Fri, 8am–5pm) with name, address, date of birth and National Insurance/ NHS no. (CHI no. in Scotland /Health and Care no. in Northern Ireland).

14 How do I claim a refund?

Some countries expect you to pay your bill upfront then claim using your EHIC. Try to apply for refund before you return home. See country-by-country guide.

If claiming back in the UK, call the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999 (Mon to Fri, 8am–5pm). Have your NI no. and UK bank/building society details handy.

Keep all receipts and paperwork. You or your insurance co. may need them if you apply for a refund or reimbursement.

15 Am I covered abroad even if I don’t have my EHIC with me?

Yes. You’re covered for travel from the date of application (if you made your application by phone or online).  See FAQ no. 13 on how to apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate.