Guidance

Healthcare for UK nationals living in Italy

How to get state healthcare if you live, work or study in Italy.

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This guidance will be updated if anything changes to how you get state healthcare in Italy.

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This information is about living in Italy. There’s different guidance if you’re visiting Italy.

UK nationals living in Italy usually access the Italian health system in one of these ways:

  • registering to use the Italian state health system
  • using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for temporary stays when studying, or as a ‘posted’ (detached) worker
  • registering a UK-issued S1 form with the Italian health system (see ‘UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Italy’ below)

You have to pay to use parts of the healthcare system, although some parts are free.

Healthcare if you live and work in Italy

If you are planning on moving to Italy, see the guidance on Living in Italy for more information about visa and residency requirements.

You must show proof of healthcare cover:

  • before you can register as a resident
  • when you apply for a visa

For details about the healthcare cover required for residency applications, contact local authorities in Italy or the appropriate Italian embassy or consulate in the UK.

If you’re employed or self-employed you can register with the national health system for free. This is called ‘iscrizione obbligatoria’.

You can register your dependants at the same time.

If you are not working or paying social security contributions, you may be able to register with the national health system voluntarily by paying a fee each year (‘iscrizione volontaria’).

If you do not register with the Italian health system using either of the above routes, you’ll need to take out private health insurance.

If you’re registered under ‘iscrizione obbligatoria’, you may be entitled to an Italian EHIC (‘TEAM’ in Italian) for travel, including visits to the UK.

You cannot get an Italian EHIC if you’re registered voluntarily.

You may also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension (see ‘UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Italy’ below).

How to register for healthcare

First, apply for a permit of stay at the immigration office and register as a resident.

If you started living in Italy before 1 January 2021, you must register as a resident.

Then register for healthcare at your local health authority (Azienda Sanitaria Locale or ASL).

You’ll need your:

  • residency certificate, permit of stay or application receipt
  • passport
  • tax code (codice fiscale)
  • evidence of your dependants, such as a translated marriage certificate or birth certificate (if you’re registering your spouse or children)

If you’re registering your family members, check with your ASL if you need to provide evidence that they’re economically dependent on you.

If you’re employed or self-employed, you’ll also need to bring evidence of your employment status, such as a work contract, to prove you’re eligible to register for free.

If you’re registering voluntarily (if you are not working, not paying social security contributions and not registering for healthcare as someone’s dependant), you’ll need to pay a fee to register.

Your ASL will tell you how much to pay and how to pay it. Show your proof of payment at your local health authority when you complete your registration.

Once you’ve registered for healthcare:

  • you can register with a GP
  • you’ll receive a health card (which includes your Italian EHIC if you’re registered with the obligatory scheme)
  • you may be able to apply for a co-payments exemption if you have a chronic condition or low income

How to access healthcare services

Find your nearest hospital or clinic on the Salute website (in Italian).

How much you’ll pay

Once you’ve registered for healthcare, the following are free:

  • emergency care
  • hospital admission
  • GP appointments

You’ll need to pay a co-payment, called ‘Ticket’, for:

  • specialist referrals
  • diagnostic tests
  • prescription medicines, unless you’re registered as exempt, for example because of a chronic medical condition

If your UK employer has sent you to Italy temporarily (‘posted workers’)

A posted worker, also known as a ‘detached worker’, is someone employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to a European Economic Area (EEA) country.

UK posted workers can access healthcare in Italy using an EHIC, GHIC or S1 form.

HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.

UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Italy

There’s different guidance if you have an S1 as a ‘posted worker’ (see ‘If your UK employer has sent you to Italy temporarily (‘posted workers’)’ above).

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you’re a resident in Italy and receive a UK State Pension or an exportable benefit. See Planning your healthcare abroad on the NHS website for more information about eligibility.

You may also be entitled to an S1 form if you’re a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if you’re eligible.

Not all UK benefits that can be claimed while abroad entitle you to UK-funded healthcare. Read more about claiming benefits if you move abroad or contact Jobcentre Plus to ask about a benefit.

Once you have an S1 form, you must register it with your local health authority.

This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare in Italy on the same basis as an Italian citizen.

You’ll also be able to get:

Dependants and family members may be classified differently in Italy than the UK.

Check with the local authorities when you register your S1 form.

If you’re entitled to an S1 form as a dependant of a State Pensioner, your health cover will be cancelled once you begin claiming your UK State Pension.

You will be sent a new S1 form to your registered address from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services. You must register this form to ensure continuation of healthcare cover.

You are responsible for informing NHS Overseas Healthcare Services if you change your address or your circumstances change.

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm

How to get an S1 form

If you have a UK State Pension or another qualifying exportable benefit, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services (see contact details above).

How to use an S1 form in Italy

You must register your S1 form with your local health authority. You will need your:

  • passport
  • tax identification number (codice fiscale)
  • residency certificate, permit of stay or application receipt

Once registered, you will receive a health card, valid throughout Italy. This will mean you’re entitled to healthcare on the same basis as an Italian citizen.

You can register with a GP and apply for co-payment exemption if you qualify.

If you are experiencing delays registering your S1 with local authorities and require emergency or urgent treatment, contact the Overseas Healthcare Services on 0044 191 218 1999.

Studying in Italy

You should apply for a Student GHIC to get medically necessary, state-provided healthcare for the duration of your study period in Italy, whether this is for part or all of your course. This means that you’ll get necessary healthcare services on the same basis as an Italian citizen either for free or at a reduced cost.

If you already hold a valid Student EHIC you can use this until the card expires.

Read more about eligibility and how to apply

As part of the immigration process you may have to:

  • pay for private health insurance
  • register voluntarily with your local health authority and pay a reduced student fee of around 150 euros for the year

Speak to your university for advice.

Getting treatment in the UK

Because the NHS is a residency-based system, under NHS rules UK nationals who move abroad on a permanent basis may lose their entitlement to free NHS healthcare.

If you are a UK national and move to the EU, you should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK unless you have an EHIC, PRC or S2 to show your healthcare costs are funded by the EU country in which you now live, or another exemption applies.

Some former UK residents do not have to pay for NHS treatment when visiting England. This includes:

  • UK war pensioners
  • UK government employees
  • UK nationals living in the EU on or before 31 December 2020, once they have a registered, UK-issued S1

Read more about using the NHS when you no longer live in the UK (see ‘UK nationals who no longer live in the UK’ in Healthcare for visitors to the UK from the EU).

If you return to live in the UK you’ll be able to use the NHS like any other UK resident.

Read more about using the NHS when you return to live in the UK.

Published 23 September 2019
Last updated 14 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'Healthcare if you live and work in Italy' to include information about how to find your nearest hospital or clinic. Updated 'UK-funded healthcare' to include information for S1 dependants who begin claiming a UK State Pension, and guidance for S1 holders who are experiencing delays in registering their S1. Updated 'Studying in Italy' to include more information on Student GHIC and Student EHIC cards. Updated 'Getting treatment in the UK' to provide additional detail about NHS access when visiting the UK.

  2. Updated 'posted worker' section to reflect that posted workers can continue working and accessing state healthcare in Italy, and added detail to ‘getting treatment in the UK’ section about healthcare when you no longer live in the UK.

  3. Updated sections on living and working in Italy, using an S1 form in Italy, posted workers and studying in Italy. Changes reflect healthcare arrangements for people moving to Italy under the new rules of the UK’s deal with the EU.

  4. Updated 2 sections: ‘Healthcare if you’re using an S1 form in Italy and ‘Healthcare if you’re studying in Italy’. Students and people with a registered S1 in Italy can now apply for a new UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that will remain valid from 1 January 2021.

  5. Details on the ways that you access healthcare have been updated. The guidance now only covers living, working and studying. Information on visiting has been moved to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare

  6. First published.