European Health Insurance card (EHIC)

EHIC Applications and renewals


If you are due to go overseas on holiday, it’s a very good idea to look at getting a European Health Insurance Card before you go. But what is an EHIC, and why do you need one?

The European Health Insurance Card allows British people to obtain basic medical treatment. If you become ill outside your own country, providing you are in the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you will be covered. Once you have an E111 / EHIC, it will cover emergency treatment, and also any treatments you need if you have a pre-existing or chronic condition. The EHIC it will also cover the provision of dialysis and oxygen although this usually needs to be booked in advance, plus maternity care in most cases.

Our Site
Online Application Service for EHIC (Formerly E111)
Auto-Renewal Reminder prior to card expiration
Online Apply feature available 24/7
Email and Phone Application Updates
Details checked for errors and verified prior to submission
Service Fee

The healthcare you can expect will be the normal provision offered by the state in the country you are in. In other words, you’ll receive treatment on the same terms as a resident of that country. Depending on the policies in that country the healthcare may be free or it may be offered to you at a reduced cost. You can get more information on how to obtain a European Health Insurance Card and the likely costs on the NHS website.

If you are asked to make a contribution (also known as a ‘co-payment’) towards your care, you can sometimes claim this back when you return to the UK.

How much does an EHIC cost?
European health insurance cards are free and can be obtained easily online. Once you have your free E111 / EHIC card, it will be valid for five years. You can order it through various websites that charge a fee. These sites offer a checking service to ensure that the correct information is submitted to the NHS and often offer helpful advice to help you obtain an EHIC renewal. Any website which promises an ‘express’ or ‘faster’ service to provide or renew the card should be avoided as no such service exists.

How do I use my EHIC?
If you experience a medical emergency, dial 112 anywhere in Europe. This number works in any country and on any phone. Show your EHIC card when you visit the hospital; the staff will ensure your details are taken.

When can’t I use the EHIC?
The EHIC is designed to provide basic state medical care and are not a substitute substitute for good-quality medical insurance or travel insurance. For example, if you were to become stranded when skiing, the EHIC would not cover the costs of your rescue.

If you travel overseas specifically to have a baby, or you pre-plan for your baby to be born while you are overseas, the EHIC will not cover the cost and you will need additional paperwork. It’s also highly advisable to take out travel insurance in this situation, just in case there are any complications.

To apply for an EHIC go to the apply page.