New Patients

Overseas Visitors

 How Does The NHS Work For International Students?

To be eligible for free NHS care you need to be in one of the following categories –

  • Be a UK or EU citizen
  • A citizen of a country with a full reciprocal arrangement
  • A student on a course due to last over 6 months
  • A spouse or dependent of someone fitting one of the eligibility above

It is important that all students register with a GP. We encourage you you to do this as soon as possible as you cannot predict when you are going to feel unwell. Being ill and away from home for the first time can be very stressful.

Students on courses of 6 months or more.

International students who are studying on a course of 6 months or more are eligible for full health care (excluding dental treatment) under the NHS. In addition if your spouse or/and children are resident in the UK with you as dependents they are also entitled to the same heath care service.

Students on courses of less than 6 months.

If your course is less than 6 months, but is at least 35% UK government funded you will qualify for free treatment subject to providing evidence of the funding.

If you do not meet the above criteria it is important that you take out medical insurance for you and your dependents from a reputable company. Medical insurance should be arranged for the duration of your stay as you will only be entitled to limited free NHS treatment.[uni_only]

Non-UK residents will also be charged for hospital treatments. If you are an overseas visitor to the UK you may be charged for some treatments and, depending on how urgent it is, you will usually have to pay in advance.

Different rules may apply to visitors from the EEA (European Economic Area). For more detailed advice see the NHS Information for EU/EEA visitors.

The NHS is a residence-based healthcare system. If you are planning to live and work in England you’ll have to register with a general practitioner (GP). GPs are the first point of contact for nearly all NHS patients. They can direct you to other NHS services, and are experts in family medicine, preventative care, health education and treating people with multiple and long-term conditions. 

What does the NHS provide free of charge?

If you are entitled to NHS treatment, the following will be free of charge:

  • Free consultation with your GP
  • Free hospital treatment in Accident and Emergency
  • Free hospital treatment if your GP recommends it
  • Free contraceptive services
  • Free maternity care

You will need to pay for

  • Medicines prescribed by your GP (referred to as prescription costs)
  • Some GP services (e.g. vaccinations for travel)

Factsheets explaining healthcare services including the National Health Service (NHS) are available here, which includes information about the care provided by general practitioners (GPs).

To be eligible for free NHS care you need to be in one of the following categories –

  • Be a UK or EU citizen
  • A citizen of a country with a full reciprocal arrangement
  • A student on a course due to last over 6 months
  • A spouse or dependant of someone fitting one of the eligibility above

Countries with a reciprocal arrangement

Anguilla Germany Portugal
Australia Gibralter Romania
Austria Greece Russia
Belgium Iceland Spain
British Virgin Island Isle of Man St Helena
Bulgaria Italy Sweden
Channel Islands Liechtenstein Turks & Caicos Islands
Denamark Luxenbourg Former Yugoslavia
Falkland Islands Netherlands Former USSR except Latvia
Finland New Zealand
France Norway

Fact Sheets

Below are factsheets in different languages explaining about the healthcare system in the United Kingdom, known as the National Health Service (NHS)

NHS