Some people from overseas might be able to have National Health Service treatment in certain situations.
Who can have NHS treatment
Generally, you can only have NHS treatment if you are a permanent resident of the UK.
There are a few exceptions, such as:
- you have applied for asylum here
- you’re a full time student attending either a course that is at least 6 months long or a course that the UK government is funding
If you live in the EEA or Switzerland
If you live in a European Economic Area country or in Switzerland, you may be able to have treatment here if it’s not available where you live.
You would need a special form (E112 or E123) which you get from your own doctor. The countries included in this arrangement are:
- Cyprus (not Northern Cyprus)
- Czech Republic
Bilateral agreements with other countries
Some countries might pay for their residents to come to the UK for treatment. They have what is called a bilateral, or reciprocal, agreement with the UK government.
Again, this is only likely to happen if a particular treatment is not available where you live.
The countries that currently have a reciprocal agreement with the UK for their nationals and for UK nationals who are resident there are:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- New Zealand
You might also qualify if you are a resident of these countries, whatever nationality you are:
- British Virgin Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Isle of Man
- St. Helena
- Turks and Caicos Islands
You can check with your own government health department to see if your government can sponsor your treatment.
If you are visiting the UK and need urgent treatment, you can call an ambulance or go to a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department.
All the treatment you get in accident and emergency departments is free.