Overseas visitors

Hospital treatment is free to people who ordinarily live in the United Kingdom.

If you do not normally live in the UK you may be required to pay for treatment you receive, regardless of whether you are a British citizen or have lived or worked here in the past.

Some NHS services are provided free of charge, regardless of where you live. These are:

  • Treatment in an A&E department, however, this exemption stops when a patient is admitted to a hospital ward or is given an outpatient appointment
  • Family planning services
  • Certain diseases where treatment is necessary to stop the condition spreading to the wider public
  • Treatment given to people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • Treatment given for mental health problems as part of a court probation order. 

There are also specific circumstances when patients will be exempt from paying charges, for instance, people who are visiting from a country with which the UK holds a reciprocal agreement. For more information, please see www.nhs.uk/visitingengland (opens in a new window).

If you are visiting from a country that is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you are required to produce your valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate.

More information on exemptions and paying for NHS care can be found at www.nhs.uk/visitingengland (opens in a new window) – please click on the relevant tab.

Contact us

For more information, please contact our Overseas Visitors team on 020 8296 2516 or by email at est-tr.overseasvisitors@nhs.net.

Get connected

  • Like us on Facebook 
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Linkedin 
  • Reviews on NHS Choices
  • Watch our videos


  • Like us on facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter 
  • Follow us on LinkedIn
  • Review on NHS Choices
  • Watch our videos

NHS image placement

Healthy Workplace Achievement Award 2016 NHS Choices