Guidance

Healthcare for EU and EFTA nationals living in the UK

Information on healthcare for European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) citizens living in the UK, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The government has proposed to EU member states and EFTA states (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) to maintain the existing healthcare arrangements in a no-deal scenario.

This offer will apply until December 2020 with the aim of minimising disruption to healthcare provision for people including UK nationals and EU citizens.

The government has confirmed that if there is no deal, it will protect the rights of citizens from EU member states, who are living lawfully in the UK on exit day, and this includes their entitlements to NHS cover.

Under those agreements, citizens of these countries living lawfully in the UK on exit day will be able to use the NHS as they do now.

If you are considering moving to the UK and there is no deal, you should check with your health insurance authority what has been agreed.

How you can prepare

If you are living lawfully in the UK on the day the UK leaves the EU, you will be able to use the NHS, as you do now, after that date.

Read NHS advice about visiting or moving to England for more information on accessing healthcare in England.

Information for EU and EFTA students

If you are living and studying lawfully in the UK when it leaves the EU, you will be able to use the NHS, as you do now, after that date. You should continue to use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), if you have one, until that date, to prove you are entitled to NHS treatment and to avoid being charged for your healthcare.

If you do not have an EHIC, you can continue to apply for one until the day the UK leaves the EU from your health insurance authority.

Swiss and EFTA nationals who start their studies in the UK before exit day will continue to benefit from their EHIC cover for the duration of their course, even if it finishes after exit day.

The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It is therefore important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy in place before you travel.

Find out more about healthcare for EU or EFTA citizens visiting UK.

S1 certificate (formerly known as E106)

If you are living lawfully in the UK when the UK leaves the EU, you will be able to use the NHS, as you do now, after that date.

Under current rules, an S1 certificate helps you and your dependents to be covered for healthcare in the EU/EFTA country where you live, including the UK. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

If you do not have an S1 certificate, you can continue to apply for one until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • have worked and paid contributions in the EU/EFTA
  • receive some relevant benefits such as pensions from the EU/EFTA

If you are eligible, you should apply to the health insurance authority in the relevant country.

If you are an EFTA national living in the UK on exit day, your S1 entitlements are protected after exit day under the citizens’ rights agreements with Switzerland and the EFTA states.

After the UK leaves the EU, for citizens from EU Member States, the S1 certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by those countries on the continuation of reciprocal entitlements.

However, EU citizens lawfully residing in the UK on exit day will continue to be covered for healthcare after that date.

Agreement with Switzerland and EFTA states

Find out more about the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

Find out more about the EEA EFTA separation agreement (for a deal scenario).

Find out more information on the EEA EFTA separation agreement (for a deal scenario).

Find out more about the EEA EFTA Citizens’ Rights agreement (for a no deal scenario).

Agreement with Ireland

British citizens who live in Ireland and Irish citizens who live in the UK will continue to have the right to access healthcare there. This is because of longstanding arrangements under the Common Travel Area.

Both governments are committed to continuing to help people access healthcare after the UK leaves the EU.

Find out more information on the Common Travel Area between the British and Ireland.

Published 19 March 2019