Healthcare for UK nationals living in Slovakia

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

Stay up to date

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

Sign up for email alerts

This information is about living in Slovakia. There are different rules if you’re visiting Slovakia - find out how to get healthcare cover abroad with a UK-issued Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) on the NHS website.

To access state healthcare you must have health insurance cover with one of Slovakia’s 3 health insurance funds. You still have to pay to use some parts of the healthcare system such as prescriptions and some emergency care.

UK nationals usually access the Slovak healthcare system in one of these ways:

  • joining the state healthcare scheme
  • private health insurance
  • using a GHIC or EHIC for temporary stays when studying, or as a ‘posted’ (detached) worker
  • registering a UK-issued S1 form with one of the insurance funds (see ‘UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Slovakia’ below)

Healthcare if you live and work in Slovakia

If you are planning on moving to Slovakia, see the guidance on Living in Slovakia 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 Slovakia or the appropriate Slovakian embassy or consulate in the UK.

You must register as a resident if you plan to stay in Slovakia for more than 3 months.

Everyone must have health insurance in Slovakia. You need to make contributions to one of Slovakia’s 3 health insurance funds if you’re:

  • employed by a Slovak employer
  • self-employed
  • a permanent resident in Slovakia

If you’re employed by a Slovak employer, your employer will arrange for your health insurance contribution to come directly out of your salary before you’re paid. They’ll also pay part of the contribution for you.

If you’re self-employed, you need to arrange to pay your insurance contributions directly to your chosen insurer.

You can add your dependants on your insurance plan if they are not eligible to make their own insurance contributions.

You may be entitled to a Slovak EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK.

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 Slovakia’ below).

How to register for healthcare

First, register as a resident.

Then choose which insurance fund you want to join. There are 3 health insurance funds in Slovakia:

If you’re working for a Slovak employer, tell them which fund you’ve chosen and they’ll register you.

If you’re self-employed or not working, you can register directly with your chosen fund.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll get an insurance card as a proof of your coverage.

You can also apply for a combined insurance card. This has your Slovak insurance fund details on one side and your Slovak EHIC on the other for use when travelling around the EU.

Show your insurance card when you register with your GP and each time you see a doctor.

You’ll need to get a referral from a GP to see a specialist.

How much you’ll pay

Most treatment and services are free if you have insurance.

Basic dental treatment is free. Your dentist can tell you what’s covered and what you’ll pay extra for.

You may have to pay for prescription medicines and home visits by a doctor.

There’s a one-off charge of 10 euros for emergency care. Sometimes you can get the money back for this, for example if you’re admitted to hospital.

If your UK employer has sent you to Slovakia 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 Slovakia using a GHIC, EHIC 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 Slovakia

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

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you’re a resident in Slovakia 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 on the Slovak system.

This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare in Slovakia on the same basis as a Slovak citizen.

You’ll also get:

  • a UK-issued GHIC or EHIC for travel
  • planned treatments in other EU countries

You can find out more about using your GHIC or EHIC abroad and the rules on planned treatments in other EU countries on the NHS website.

Dependants and family members may be classified differently in Slovakia 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 Slovakia

You must register your S1 form with one of the 3 health insurance funds in Slovakia:

You can choose which fund to join.

Once registered, you’ll get an insurance card as a proof of your coverage. This will show you’re entitled to healthcare on the same basis as a Slovak citizen.

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 Slovakia

You should apply for a Student GHIC to get medically necessary, state-provided healthcare for the duration of your study period in Slovakia, whether this is for part or all of your course. This means that you’ll get necessary healthcare services on the same basis as a Slovakian 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 on the NHS website.

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.

Updates to this page

Published 23 September 2019
Last updated 22 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. 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 Slovakia' 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 Slovakia, 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 Slovakia, using an S1 form in Slovakia, posted workers and studying in Slovakia. Changes reflect healthcare arrangements for people moving to Slovakia 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 Slovakia' and ‘Healthcare if you’re studying in Slovakia’. Students and people with a registered S1 in Slovakia can now apply for a new UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that will remain valid from 1 January 2021.

  5. First published.

Sign up for emails or print this page