The process to apply for a European Health Insurance Card is very simple, but you must first be sure if you are eligible (see below). If you are, just follow the following few steps to obtain your EHIC within 7 days through the official website.
How to apply for an EHIC?
The application for an EHIC can be made for free on the official NHS website. Remember that unofficial websites are also entitled to provide EHICs, but they may charge various fees.
Step 1: Create an account
In order to apply through the official NHS website, you must first register by creating an account, using your name and email address, and choose a password. With your account, you will then be able to apply for an EHIC for yourself or on behalf of your partner or any dependent children (under 19 in full-time education) you may have.
Note that any person wishing to register must be at least 16. If under 16, the application must be made by a parent or guardian, by creating an account for themselves and then applying for an additional card when prompted.
Step 2: Activate your account
Once your account is created, the NHS will send you a link on the email address used for the creation of your account. Click on the link in the email or copy and paste it into your browser to activate your account. If you don’t receive any mail from the NHS, remember to check your junk folder as some providers may treat it as a spam.
Step 3: Log in and follow indications
Once you have activated your account, you will be able to log into the EHIC Services Portal using the same email address and password.
Applying by phone
If needed, you can also apply for your EHIC over the phone, by calling the automated EHIC application service on +44 (0)300 3301350.
Applying by post
You also have the option to apply by post by downloading the application form and sending it to the following address:
NHS Business Services Authority
European Health Insurance Card
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
What information must I provide?
When applying for an EHIC, may it be for yourself, your partner or any dependent children, or may it by online, by phone or by post, you will be asked to provide the following documents:
- National Insurance Number or NHS number (CHI in Scotland or Health and Care Number in Northern Ireland)
- first name and surnames
- date of birth
Note that temporary National Insurance numbers cannot be used in order to apply for an EHIC.
Depending on your circumstances (see below), you may also be asked to prove your residency in the UK. This can be proved by a visa or UK residence permit for instance.
Who can apply?
Before applying for your EHIC, please make sure that you are eligible.
Residents of the United Kingdom
Entitlement to an EHIC in all EEA countries is based on the insurability under EU law and not on one’s nationality. In the UK, it is operated on a residency-based healthcare system, meaning that insurability is determined by residency and not by past or present payment of National Insurance contributions or UK taxes. That means that is you are UK resident, you are most likely to be eligible for an EHIC.
However, if you live in the UK but are insured by another EEA country, you won’t be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC and you must therefore contact the relevant authority in the country you are insured by to request your EHIC.
Note that in certain circumstances, you may be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC even if you live in another EEA country. You can contact the NHS EHIC service for further details.
Note also that if your circumstances change, you may lose your entitlement to a UK-issued EHIC. If you already have an EHIC and your status has changed before the 5 years period of validity, your card may not work and you may therefore become liable for the full cost of the treatment you receive. Change of status include moving abroad, taking up work abroad and changing residency.
If you plan on studying in another EEA country or Switzerland, you may apply for a time-limited (student) EHIC. You cannot apply for these online. For more information, please contact the EHIC NHS service.
If the applicant is not an EEA or Swiss citizen, he’ll have to provide further evidence of its eligibility to an EHIC. For this, you must apply by post (see above), attaching a copy of your visa or UK residence permit.
Under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC despite living in another EEA country or Switzerland. These include:
- if you receive a UK State Pension or exportable UK benefit and possess a UK-issued S1 form (certificate of entitlement) registered in your country of residence;
- if you are a worker posted to work in another EEA country or Switzerland by your UK employer, or else a frontier worker living in the EEA or Switzerland and working in the UK;
- if you are a family member of a posted worker or of someone working in the UK and you are not covered in your own right by the EEA country you reside in.
Note that the following circumstances do not allow you to apply for an EHIC online. You must instead request your EHIC-E application form by contacting the Overseas Healthcare Team:
Overseas Healthcare Team
Post Handling Site A
Phone: 0191 218 1999 from the UK or 0044 (0)191 218 1999 from abroad; Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
What if I am not eligible?
If you are not eligible for a UK-issued EHIC, you must contact the country you are currently living in or the one you are insured by and see if you are eligible there.
Note that residents of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not eligible for an EHIC.
How do I contact the EHIC team?
If you need any further information, do not hesitate to contact the EHIC team by post, phone or email:
PO Box 1114
Newcastle upon Tyne
Enquiry line: 0300 330 1350
Enquiry email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will have to provide your full name, UK address, date of birth and your PIN, if you know it.