Can expats get healthcare in UK?

Can expats get healthcare in UK? Yes, expats can get healthcare in the UK. Find out how expats can access healthcare services and what options are available for them.

Can expats get healthcare in UK?

As a specialized content creation and marketing expert, I am here to provide you with an informative article on the topic of expats' access to healthcare in the United Kingdom. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of expatriates moving to the UK for various reasons, such as work or study. Hence, it is essential to understand the healthcare options available to them during their stay in the UK.

The UK is renowned for its National Health Service (NHS), a publicly funded healthcare system that provides primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare to its residents. However, the question arises whether this comprehensive healthcare system also extends its services to expats.

Healthcare for European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss Nationals

Until recently, European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and Swiss citizens were eligible for healthcare services under the NHS through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme. This meant that these individuals could access healthcare in the UK just as British citizens would. However, after the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, 2020, the rules regarding healthcare for these individuals have changed.

Post-Brexit Changes for EEA and Swiss Nationals

As of January 1, 2021, EEA and Swiss nationals visiting or moving to the UK no longer have access to healthcare under the EHIC scheme. Instead, they are now required to obtain a new document called the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or make arrangements for private healthcare coverage.

Eligibility for NHS Services

Expats from outside the EEA or Switzerland, including those who are not eligible for the EHIC or GHIC schemes, still have options for accessing healthcare in the UK. The NHS provides free healthcare services to individuals who are determined to be "ordinarily resident" in the UK. This means that if you are living in the UK with the intention to settle and have a visa that allows you to stay for a long period, you may be eligible for NHS services.

Additional Healthcare Options for Expats

For individuals who are not eligible for NHS services, private healthcare is an alternative option. Private healthcare in the UK offers a range of benefits, including shorter waiting times for specialist appointments and access to exclusive medical facilities. Expats can purchase private health insurance, which would cover the cost of medical treatments, consultations, and hospital stays.

Sponsored Healthcare

In some cases, expats may have access to healthcare through their employers. Many companies offer private health insurance as part of their employment package, ensuring that their expat employees have access to timely and quality healthcare services in the UK.


While the NHS was previously accessible to EEA and Swiss nationals under the EHIC scheme, the post-Brexit changes have altered healthcare eligibility for these individuals. Expats from outside the EEA or Switzerland may still be eligible for NHS services if they are deemed "ordinarily resident" in the UK. Private healthcare is also a viable option for those who are not eligible for NHS services or prefer the advantages that private healthcare offers. Expats should explore their options and consider obtaining private health insurance or discussing healthcare provisions with their employer to ensure they receive the necessary healthcare during their stay in the UK.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can expats living in the UK access the National Health Service (NHS) for healthcare?

Yes, expats living in the UK are eligible to access the NHS healthcare system, provided they meet certain criteria.

2. Are expats required to pay for NHS healthcare services?

Expats living in the UK may be required to pay for NHS healthcare services, depending on their immigration status and the specific healthcare treatment they require. Some treatments, such as emergency care, are free for all, while others may require a fee.

3. How can expats living in the UK register for NHS healthcare?

To register for NHS healthcare, expats need to visit their local GP (General Practitioner) surgery and fill out the necessary registration forms. They may be asked to provide proof of their immigration status and address in the UK.

4. Can expats with private health insurance still access NHS healthcare?

Yes, expats with private health insurance can still access NHS healthcare services. However, they should be aware that their private insurance may cover only specific treatments or may require them to pay a portion of the costs.

5. Are expats from the European Union (EU) entitled to healthcare in the UK after Brexit?

Expats from the EU who were living in the UK before the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020) are entitled to continue accessing NHS healthcare. However, new rules and regulations may apply to EU expats arriving in the UK after this date.

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