Accessibility statement

Healthcare for international students

For details of accessing healthcare in York, including finding a doctor or seeking emergency care, see our healthcare  page.

All students, regardless of nationality and length of course, are entitled to the following free National Health Service (NHS) treatments:

  • Emergency treatment
  • Family planning services, including contraception
  • Treatment of certain communicable diseases
  • Compulsory psychiatric treatment
  • Testing and treatment for coronavirus, which includes being vaccinated

See the NHS Choices information for Visitors from outside the EEA about free services.

Am I eligible for further free healthcare in the UK?

Whether you qualify for other NHS treatment depends on nationality and the duration of the course you are studying.

Studying in the UK for 6 months or less

You will likely not be eligible for free NHS treatments, apart from in the limited scenarios listed at the top of this web-page.

Paying for healthcare can be extremely expensive therefore it is very important to arrange travel insurance, which includes medical cover, before travelling to the UK.

Citizens of EU/EEA/Switzerland should also note the following;

  • If you are an EU citizen you should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your resident country before travelling to the UK. This card enables you to qualify for free NHS care for both un-planned treatment and pre-existing medical conditions, for the duration of your studies (up to 6 months). An EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and it is advised that you should have both during your stay.
  • If you are a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland; you may not be able to use your EHIC card to access free NHS treatment, unless you arrived in the UK before the 31st December 2020.
  • If you are a citizen of Norway you can use your Norwegian passport to get medically necessary healthcare for free (for example an accident or illness that can’t wait until you get home) for the duration of your studies (up to 6 months).

Studying in the UK for 6 months or more (Student Visa holder)

You will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your Student Visa application, entitling you (and any of your dependants) to free NHS care while you are in the UK.
Babies born in the UK to international students are only entitled to free NHS treatment until they are three months old. After this point you must apply for a dependent visa for the baby and pay the IHS fee.

Indefinite leave to remain in the UK (including EU Settlement Scheme)

If you have indefinite leave to remain to reside and settle in the UK you should qualify for free NHS treatment.

Refugees and asylum seekers

As a refugee or asylum seeker both yourself and your dependents will be exempt from NHS charges. For further information on support please see our dedicated webpages for refugees and asylum seekers.

Non-UK resident British or Irish passport holder

You should be eligible for free NHS care while you are residing in the UK for your studies. You would not, however, be eligible for free care if just visiting the UK (eg a holiday) or were only travelling to the UK for the purpose of accessing healthcare. 

What NHS services might I need to pay for?

Even if you are entitled to NHS treatment there are some services you will be required to pay for:

  • Medicines prescribed by your GP
  • Some GP services such as travel vaccinations and obtaining a sickness certificate - ask your GP about costs
  • Dental treatment
  • Optical treatment

If you are under 19 years of age, you can apply for the HC1 certificate which exempts you from some of the charges above.  See information for those visiting or moving to England on the NHS website.

Do I need private medical insurance?

If you are not entitled to free NHS treatment, you should take out adequate medical insurance, preferably before arriving in the UK, to cover medical costs and the possible additional costs resulting from that illness, such as a flight home.

Even if you are entitled to free NHS treatment while in the UK, you may wish to consider taking out private medical insurance. Sometimes there are long waiting lists for non-emergency NHS services and private medical insurance could give you much quicker access to the treatment you need.

If private dental treatment is required it can be extremely expensive and students are strongly advised to obtain medical insurance to cover this.

IHS reimbursement for EU and Swiss students

You may be entitled to a full or partial reimbursement of your Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fees, you paid with your visa application, if all of the following are true:

  • you’re a full-time student in UK higher education.
  • your visa started on or after 1 January 2021.
  • you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued in an EU country or Switzerland.
  • you do not work or do not intend to work in the UK.

You’ll get an IHS reimbursement that covers the period that your EHIC is valid in the UK. To get a full reimbursement, make sure that your EHIC is valid for the whole of your stay.

If your EHIC does not cover the whole of your stay, you can make an application for the amount of IHS covered by your EHIC. If you renew your EHIC, you can then apply for a further reimbursement. To make your first application you must have had at least 6 months left on your EHIC when your visa started.

You may not be able to get an IHS reimbursement for any periods in which you didn’t have a valid EHIC.

If you arrived in the UK between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021, you must apply for a repayment reimbursement by 31 December 2022.

If you arrive in the UK from 1 January 2022, you will have a year to apply from the start date of your visa.

Before applying for a reimbursement you need to carefully consider the implications of the scheme and whether you have any plans to work in the UK. If you received a refund on your IHS payments but then later started working in the UK, your EHIC card would not cover your medical care in the UK and you may be charged for any care you do receive. 

Further details on the refund scheme, including guidance on how to apply, can be found on the following Gov.UK web-page : Immigration health surcharge for EU and Swiss students in the UK


How do I prove my student status in the application? 

You can request a Confirmation of Study letter from your e:vision account which will prove your student status and study dates. The application process does allow for a CAS to be provided but there have been reports of student’s applications being rejected due to the format the University uses to provide you with your CAS.  

Can I apply for a reimbursement if I have completed my course or have withdrawn from studies? 

Yes, you can still apply for a refund but you must still apply by the deadline date that applies to your situation. 

The IHS refund application is asking me to provide a “share code” for an eVisa but I just have a BRP card, what should I do? 

You can still apply but you will need to follow a separate application process. You will need to call the IHS team at NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBA) on 03003307693 to explain you are unable to provide a share code and that you need details on how to apply without one. 

Who do I contact if I am having problems with my application?

The IHS team at NHBSA should be able to help you with most problems you are having with your application, who can be called on 03003307693. Advisers from the International Student Support Team are also available for advice and guidance.