The National Health Service (NHS) provides free hospital treatment for people who live in the United Kingdom only.

If you do not normally live in this country and you do not meet one of the exemptions from charges criteria you will have to pay for any treatment you need.

This is regardless of your nationality; whether you hold a British passport, have lived in and paid National Insurance and taxes in the UK in the past, or have been issued with an HC2 certificate.

Accessing health services explains more about the rules and exemptions and whether you need to pay for NHS treatment.

There is also information for EU and EEA (European Economic Area) visitors, who are entitled to reduced cost or free healthcare that is clinically necessary if they have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Eligible European visitors must show their EHIC otherwise they may have to pay for NHS treatment.

All patients admitted to hospital, whatever nationality and residency, need to provide correct information and evidence of entitlement if requested.

To prove your entitlement, for example by showing your EHIC number, contact our Overseas Visitors department on  +44 (0) 1253 951164 or email